When I first became interested in watches, there was no resource more important to me than Watchuseek. Its message boards were a treasure trove of information, built up over the years by people with a common interest from all over the world. And unlike many other online communities, WUS was often quite welcoming to newcomers like me who were simply looking to learn; and learn I did.
Like many of us first do, I started in the affordables section before eventually making my way to Steinhart (and at the time, Debaufre). Then, I became obsessed with vintage and military watches, before making the natural jump to the Germans–Sinn, Damasko, Junghans, Nomos, to name a few. I spent weeks learning about different movements, gaining a newfound appreciation for Japanese engineering and going beyond the conventional wisdom of Swiss equals quality. For myself, as well as for other watch lovers like me, Watchuseek is a special place where we can feed our obsessions without feeling too crazy. And for that, I would like to extend my sincerest thanks, as would the rest of the worn and wound crew, to the man who started it all, Ernie Romers.
Mr. Romers founded Watchuseek 16 years ago, building it up into the preeminent watch enthusiast community. Before Watchuseek, Romers maintained a hobby site with links to various interests, among them cars and watches. When his brother-in-law returned from a business trip sporting two new watches–a Raketa chronograph and a Universal Tri-Compax–Romers was bit by the bug and decided to focus solely on timepieces. He registered the Watchuseek name, but not before buying his first mechanical watch–an Oris Big Crown. The rest, as they say, is history.
As I’m sure many of you have already read, Mr. Romers announced his retirement and sale of Watchuseek last week, citing health reasons and a desire to spend more time with his family as the primary factors in his decision. The acquisition is being made by VerticalScope, a company out of Canada known for buying popular online communities built around interests as varied as horology, cars, sports, pets, and tech, with a roster that currently includes JEEPForum, MMAForum, and PetGuide.
Like with any big change, you’ll see some detractors. The announcement thread on Watchuseek has had a few posts from users bringing up past negative experiences with communities bought out by VeritcalScope. VerticalScope, in turn, has addressed a number of these concerns openly and honestly, even going as far as to admit past mistakes they promise not to repeat. VerticalScope has also said that continuity is one of their top priorities, and that the current staff and admin teams are unlikely to see any changes. Another priority will be to provide top-notch tech support, something that Watchuseek could certainly use a little of (let’s get that search function fully operational). We’ll have to wait and see what does happen, but I for one, am hopeful that Watchuseek will remain the community we know and love.
Good luck Ernie, and from everyone here at worn&wound, we wish you the very best!!!
p.s. It appears Hublot has gotten a bit sentimental too ;-)–Hublot King Power Oceanographic 4000 Ernie Romers