Why hasn’t TikTok ever gotten traction with the watch community at large, which has instead kept to “traditional” platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube? It’s a multifaceted issue, from TikTok’s content format to its navigation and even its usage of hashtags to categorise content.
Whatever the reason, the number of watch collectors and enthusiasts has never hit a critical mass on the platform. In turn, this dearth has encouraged a different evolutionary path for the watch community on TikTok. You’ll notice, for example, that an overwhelming majority of the timepieces shared there are from just a few brands: Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Richard Mille. Interestingly, the accounts that have ballooned in size are also largely similar in background — luxury watch retailers or resellers dominate here, whether as individuals or their companies’ official TikTok accounts. Here’s a look at five of the most popular ones.
01 | @nicovanderhorst
568,200 follower, 9 million cumulative likes
While the watch community at large hasn’t moved to TikTok on any meaningful scale, Nico Leonard van der Horst has established his presence there very successfully. The managing director of Belfast-based luxury watch retailer Pride & Pinion is no stranger to social media, with 325,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel and 34,300 followers on his personal Instagram account. On TikTok, however, he’s established an outsized audience of over half a million — no mean feat for a guy who doesn’t even post videos regularly.
Anyone who’s looking to give TikTok a go should take a leaf out of his book. There’s efficiency, for a start: much of what van der Horst posts there is content recycled from his “main” platforms, but cleverly tweaked to suit TikTok’s short form, vertical video format. The focus on social interaction is also crucial. Reaction videos are a mainstay for van der Horst, who casually flexes his knowledge and supposedly rarefied tastes when he comments on other personalities’ watches. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have excellent comedic timing, which he does in spades.
02 | @marc.gebauer
86,600 followers, 493,700 cumulative likes
Düsseldorf-based luxury watch seller Marc Gebauer runs his Tiktok account almost like an afterthought, but has nonetheless managed to amass a sizable audience. A quick browse of his posts immediately reveals the man’s penchant for sharp suits and fine timepieces, while also offering glimpses into his seemingly luxurious lifestyle as a watch dealer.
Unlike his more sedate YouTube channel, which has more vlogs and talking head content, Gebauer’s TikTok videos sport all the trappings that are archetypal for the platform. The flexing. The music. The laidback videos. It’s all part of a game that Gebauer has gotten better acquainted with over time, as his videos’ evolution shows.
Whether these posts are really representative of him — or merely a signalling and marketing device for his business — isn’t the point. Instead, just sit back and enjoy them, like we did for his recording of a Patek Philippe Ref 6301P minute repeater in action.
03 | @watch.eric
49,100 followers, 375,700 cumulative likes
Watch enthusiast Eric Rivera was formerly part of CRM Jewelers, but he has since gone independent with ambitions to eventually create a marketplace for watches, exotic cars, and men’s style. For now, however, he’s focused on content creation with — surprise, surprise — TikTok, Instagram and YouTube.
Rivera positions himself as an insider who keeps his finger on the pulse of the luxury watch industry, and his knowledge is apparent in his long form YouTube videos. Alas, there’s no space on TikTok for in-depth discussions on topics like the investment potential of specific timepieces. Instead of paring things down to fit the platform, he’s opted to embrace its limitations and focus on bite-size snippets. These include quick, open-ended questions that viewers can respond to, watch-of-the-day posts, and quick technical explanations of various watches’ features. For Rivera, TikTok is clearly meant to complement his more elaborate content elsewhere.
04 | @crmjewelers
16,000 followers, 285,400 cumulative likes
Despite being a luxury watch retailer, CRM Jewelers has a refreshingly irreverent TikTok channel that shows a different side to the business. Watch collecting should be fun, after all, and the memes that pepper the posts are proof of that. This is, however, balanced out by slightly more “serious” content, such as a peek into the disassembly of a Tudor Oyster Prince that was undergoing restoration.
What’s also been instrumental to the channel’s popularity is its sheer variety of content. This includes personality-anchored posts, behind-the-scenes looks into watchmaking, as well as previews of longer videos that are hosted on the channel’s YouTube counterpart. For the neophyte or outsider, the channel offers a good balance between education and entertainment.
05 | @thetimepiecegentleman
10,700 followers, 48,400 cumulative likes
Antony Farrer is a Texan gymbro with a heady mix of fast cars and fine watches on The Timepiece Gentleman. From dangling a literal armful of timepieces worth more than half a million dollars over his balcony to putting his personal watch collection out on display, the pre-owned luxury watch dealer is clearly out to impress. Interestingly enough, the three accounts that Farrer maintains on Instagram are nowhere as flashy as his TikTok channel. The content on the latter has taken a more ostentatious slant to suit the audience there, it seems.