An occasional perk of editing WatchPro is that I get sent watches to review. The thrill of receiving a package the shape of a cube sparks anticipation of what’s inside, a feeling that never gets old. They call it the out of box experience — the pleasure of unwrapping and opening the packaging and getting the first look at a new object.
Thankfully, you do not need to go through the agonies of editing WatchPro to experience this thrill. Subscribers to Watch Gang, the world’s largest club for watch lovers, can get the same excitement every month.
Watch Gang is based in Los Angeles and is biggest in America right now. But it is expanding into other markets including the United Kingdom with its service that delivers new watches to its subscribing members on a monthly or quarterly basis.
What’s more, the company uses its collective buying power to secure watches from a huge array of manufacturers at dramatically discounted prices. Its marketing says watches sent to members are typically worth five times more than they pay through their subscription fees.
Watches sent to members are not randomly selected in a way that might lead to disappointment, they are carefully matched to individuals’ tastes.
This is done through the online sign-up process where prospective members are shown a series of images of watches and asked to give each one a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down. It is just like Tinder for timepieces and should ensure a preference for steel sports watches over Scandi-style minimalism is baked into what is called a style profile.
Next you are asked whether you would like to receive watches every month or every three months before moving on to decide whether to subscribe to the Original, Black or Platinum tier. If I choose the middle Black tier, I will be sent a new watch every month for a monthly subscription fee of $99. For that price, Watch Gang says the watches it sends will be worth up to $500 each.
The subscription is even cheaper if you pay a full year up front. The Black tier becomes $1099.99 per year, which works out at $91.66 per month.
The Original Tier subscription costs $29.99 per month and promises watches every month worth up to $150 each. The Platinum tier costs $299 per month, and the watches will be worth up to $1,500. The more you spend, the more you save.
Subscribers outside the United States should note that there is an additional handling fee for shipping watches overseas. In the case of the UK, this is an extra $19.82 per watch.
It takes just a few minutes to sign up, and then sit back and wait for your first watch to arrive.
In my case this was a dive watch, the Global Dive, from a brand called Nautis. It is a classically-styled diver with a substantial 46mm steel case and hefty steel bracelet. I’d given a thumbs-up to this style of watch in my Tinder-style voting, so it was a delight to receive a watch that was bang on the money.
Speaking of money, I had a quick search online for the watch and found it on the Nautis website for $325. Not bad for a $99 per month subscription.
The Global Dive family uses a Swiss-made Ronda GMT quartz movement. Mine came with a textured off-white dial (I gave white a thumbs-up), but if you prefer blue, green or black dials, the chances are Watch Gang would send you this version of the Nautis instead.
The white dial and steel case remind me a little of the current Rolex Explorer, another watch I adore, so it is uncanny how well Watch Gang understands my tastes.
Green markers on the unidirectional steel bezel and a striking orange GMT hand are interesting pops of colour. Placement of a date aperture at 4 o’clock, aligning with the watch’s screw down crown is another nice touch.
I doubt I will ever dive deeper than the bottom of a swimming pool wearing the watch, but if I did it would survive to 500m below water (I depth that would kill a human instantly).
At 46mm, the watch is a little large for me, and I will let Watch Gang know that I’d prefer something a little smaller, but it is a watch that can easily be worn to the office or the beach and I have not taken it off since it arrived.
All I need now is for my next watch to reach me from Watch Gang, and I cannot wait for that out of box experience.