“I want Ad Patina to get people thinking about ads in ways they never thought about them before...”

Watch Advertisements

There’s a lot of watch advertisements out there… Some you know because their design is visually striking, like the “If you were…” Rolex campaign from the late 1960 with its black background and bold, white Helvetica typeface. Some you know because of their brilliant copywriting, like Patek’s “You never actually own a Patek…” Generations campaign.

Over the years, watch companies have spoken to their target markets and would-be consumers in every manner… In the early days of watch advertising, the practicality of a wristwatch was a main selling point - pointing out novel functions for daily life and recreation, like the alarm feature of a Memovox, Slide Rule of Breitlings or no-decompression bezel on a Doxa Sub 300. Later advertisements were effective because they appealed to people’s emotions - to their fascination with an endeavor or aspiration for a certain lifestyle. Look no further than Omega ads - leveraging their partnership with NASA and relationship with Bond to make people fall in love with Speedmasters and Seamasters.

But with all the print ads that undoubtedly exist (many still to be discovered), ads don’t exist for every watch model. What’s important about ads, especially vintage ones, isn’t their direct correlation to a particular version of watch, bur rather their familial association and window into the past they offer. Appreciating these aspects of an ad allows for a true understanding of the essence of a brand or model - important to keep in mind amidst today’s collecting environment. Aside from their historical significance and the invaluable context they provide, the pure aesthetics of many ads, is reason enough to collect and enjoy.