In early August (2014) a new watch forum launched with a focus similar to that of worn&wound. The Wallet Friendly Watch Forum community is an open watch forum with an emphasis on watches priced at $1,000 or less. With just a couple of weeks under its belt the forum has almost 400 members and already over 3,000 posts. The sub-$1,000 premise will probably be familiar to some as that of another watch forum. Read on to learn why they are so similar.
Back in 2002 there were far fewer watch forums then there are in 2014. The main two players in the area were TimeZone and WatchUSeek, both of which are still running today and among the top of the on-line watch community. While Swiss native Reto Castellazzi participated in these forums he felt there was a void in their main discussions. Most of them dealt with more expensive Swiss pieces while the more affordable lot that might apply to those in the uncertain post-9/11 economy. He took his idea and started the Poor Man’s Watch Forum, a community based on discussing watches below $1,000 USD. The forum began as a sub-forum of WatchUSeek in 2002 until it branched of onto it’s own domain in early 2003.
While the main topic was watches under the $1,000 price point the forum rules pointed out that all watch posts were welcome. The forum in the early days was just that: a single forum. All topics were posted whether a sub-$1000 watch, a RMW (Rich Man’s Watch) or an off-topic post. While running the forum (with the help of a small admin team) Reto also ran the Poor Man’s Watch Corner, a sales site for a variety of brands, but mostly Seiko, Citizen and Orient. He also maintained pages on his extensive watch collection as well as articles and how-to’s he had written over the years.
The forum and it’s community continued to run strong throughout the mid 2000’s. As it progressed a sales forum was added as well as advertisers to help pay for the hosting costs. By 2008 the community was quite stable and established, however the forum software was not. In October 2008 the PMWF switched from a purely simple threaded system to a more modern, open source software. It marked a change for the forum as users had to get used to a new format while Reto worked to do what he felt was right to grow the site. As additional forums were added and the forum moved further from its roots traffic started to slow. Where in 2004 or 2005 the forum felt more like a chat room than a forum with hundreds of posts a day, in 2009 or 2010 there were a few dozen posts a day. Still, the core community was strong and the forum’s core message of being friendly and helpful remained.
The PMWF continued this way until July 25, 2014, when in an instant everything changed. The PMWF was always Reto’s baby and this was never more clear than in the wake of the events of that day. On that Friday evening in Bangkok, Reto Castellazzi shot and killed his wife before turning the gun on himself. Tragically, in what has been reported as an act of rage, Reto ended two lives that night, while leaving his teenage daughter without her parents. The whole of the PMWF was in shock. The admin staff (including the author of this article) began to discuss how we could save the site with what limited access we had. With Reto handling everything above the day-to-day operations options were limited. As time went on the stigma of a murder/suicide being associated with the PMWF became more clear. The admin staff felt a new start would bring something good out of this tragedy.
The Wallet Friendly Watch Forum launched two weeks after the incident with the hope of capturing the spirit of the PMWF in a new home. The admin staff worked to secure new domains, hosting and setting up the forum software as quickly as possible. The goal being to work to keep things simple but famalair and build as strong a community as possible out of the ashes of the PMWF. The focus is still that of watches $1,000 USD or less, with any watch post welcome and members are encouraged to be friendly and helpful. Already the forum has seen activity from some former PMWF members that had not posted in years, along with new faces who have found the forum and become part of the community. While the fourm is still young the staff and members hope it will be able to keep active for some time and keep the essence of the former PMWF alive. If you are so inclined, you can head over to the Wallet Friendly Watch Forum and become part of the family.