Hashtags and Watches
Reading Kristian Haagen's sixth book on watches.
The first (and only) time I met Kristian Haagen was during an event organized by the agency he has founded with other journalists, called 8Past10, in partnership with a German watch brand. I guess it was Mühle Glashütte if I'm not mistaken, and it all happened a few years ago while attending Baselworld. If we exclude that occasion, my knowledge of Kristian's achievements and expertise within the watch industry primarily comes from his broad audience on Instagram, where we all geeks coming from the digital media spend most of our time.
If you're touring the SIHH or Baselworld, it is pretty easy to identify Kristian since it looks like he has just finished exploring an outdoor environment sporting one of his wristwatches, while wearing a Leica, and driving his vintage Land Rover Defender. He is no doubt one of the most original and cool guys around in the business.
We decided to launch this column by introducing Kristian's sixth book on watches, and for a specific reason: that publication brilliantly combines old-school printing with today's social media communication, in my opinion. Among the plethora of books regarding watchmaking, single collections or special collections, Hashtags and Watches stands out as a breakthrough in an industry where large, thick and heavy books are a mainstream: its squared format brings a whole new meaning to the term: "book on watches" and is an unexpected way to connect old and new, print and digital media, in one go.
In this regard, Kristian Haagen's book is unique. As an author of seven books on watches (Hashtags and Watches 2 has been released), and a respected digital influencer as no other has been capable of doing so far, Kristian is a Danish globetrotter who works as a consultant to the watchmaking industry as well as an advisor to prestigious auction houses and, above all, he has an uncommon sense of humor that is rare in the industry, and makes a big difference during the communication process.
His irony, combined with original and no filter photography, make Hashtags and Watches the kind of book you can't miss in your library. There are plenty of ways to describe a Patek Philippe, an A.Lange & Söhne or an IWC watch; you can do it by using a long text to describe a product's features paired to the best photography, you can do it instead by setting up an authentic photo-set, as if you've just wakened up and are getting prepared to go to the office, or drinking a Bourbon and smoking a cigar with some friends, late in the evening.
In an industry dominated by super-rich showing off their ultra-expensive timepieces, sitting in their hyper-cars, Hashtags and Watches is a rare mix of elegance, expertise, class and photography, complemented by captions that make you enjoy that picture while laughing, whether you're staring in front of a 100,000+ Euro timepiece or one that costs less than 2,000 Euro. Among Kristiaan's most brilliant posts on Instagram (that is not present on the book), I would pick the one he wrote the first time he eventually reviewed the Richard Mille ACJ RM50-02 a few years back.
What makes Kristian stand out from the competition? He is naturally talented in equally value an affordable watch and a platinum tourbillon, and perfectly summarizes what I often suggest to those who approach this industry: do focus on watchmaking and all brands, instead of just describing and celebrating those you love the most. He virtually covers every brand and category, from vintage to modern.
Did you guess why is Hashtags and Watches square-shaped: it mimics the 1080x1080 square Instagram size of a post. Which are my favorite pages? No doubt are those ones dedicated to the A.Lange & Söhne timepieces; it is clear he has a soft spot for the Saxon brand. Last but not least, the cover is a masterpiece of communication itself and a jab to those who're buying a Nautilus just for the sake of marking it up the following day. A picture is worth more than a thousand words.
(Photo credit: Marco Antinori for Horbiter®)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®