This is low-hanging fruit, I must admit, but I’ve always found the expression “poor man’s” to be at best obnoxious, at worse, completely elitist. Though likely used facetiously most of the time (for example, there used to be a Poor Man’s Watch Forum, which was a great place that focused on affordable watches, using the expression in a self-deprecating manner), there is always someone out there who will look at a watch they own, who worked hard to get that watch and likely is quite proud of it, who will hear it described as “poor man’s” and feel put down or out. Watch collecting should always be a good time for all, so it’s about time we cut “poor man’s” from our collective vocabulary.
I think the concept speaks for itself. Why diminish the achievements of others? Why are we so quick to designate, particularly when discussing something as ultimately frivolous as watches, by economic status? Watches at any price are a luxury, and always an achievement to acquire. Yet, this expression gets thrown around fairly freely, typically when used to describe timepieces where any comparison can be made and a price gap exists. The recent Tudor Black Bay Pro, is one such example, as are the Omega x Swatch MoonSwatches. These represent two interesting situations.
The Black Bay Pro is a luxury watch by a luxury brand. It’s not just a name on a dial, internally it features an impressive movement, externally it is finished to a fine degree, and it has brand provenance that few can match. It costs between $3,600 and $4,000. That’s a substantial amount of money and a high bar for entry. Yet, a resemblance to a watch that despite being out of production for nearly 40 years has earned it a “poor man’s” designator. That watch, of course, is the ref 1655, which regularly sells for over $30k. The resemblance between the two watches is there and most likely intentional, but they are far from identical. It’s an aesthetic nod, not a replacement, and regardless, only one is currently in production.