Watch Collecting in Iran; Burnt Dreams and Wasted Dollars


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A street that is the center of electronics stores and has at least dozens of watch shops, many of which boast of selling counterfeit watches; The name of this street is Jomhouri, which means Republic in English; This is perhaps the biggest irony that the Iranian watch market has. Sellers have put countless fake flashy watches in their shop windows that famous names are glued on their dials but have absolutely no originality at all.

Asked why he was selling counterfeit watches, Shahab, one of the sellers, said: “People’s mind will explode if they find out how much an original Omega is worth.” He is right, not because he sells counterfeit watches, but because having an original Omega watch for a middle-class Iranian citizen is nothing but an eternal dream. I’m not talking about an expensive object. I’m exactly talking about a very dream, and To understand how unattainable this dream is, I must unveil a reality called the “price of currency”.

Assuming an Omega SpeedMaster Professional costs $5,000, an Iranian average construction worker has to wait exactly 50 months to have enough money to buy it if he saves all his monthly salary and does not spend a single dollar on anything else. The biggest reason for this inability to buy is that the value of each Iranian currency (Toman) is about one twenty thousandth of a Dollar.  That is not even the whole problem, because in Iran we are facing a bigger problem of constant fluctuations in the exchange rate, and this in itself creates a bigger crisis. Now what are the reasons for this economic crisis? Of course, I am not an economist, but I think it would not be bad if you look at Venezuela, because many believe that if Western economic sanctions against Iran continue and the country’s top management does not improve, Tehran’s future will probably be like that of Caracas. let’s move on.


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But limiting the world of watches in Iran to counterfeit watch shops on several streets is not an accurate report at all. There are also a significant number of Authorized Dealers in the streets of Tehran. The higher you go in the city, the better your chances of seeing a luxury store of an expensive brand.

The two Authorized Rolex Dealers in Tehran belong to an old family that have been operating officially and exclusively for decades and are the only official Rolex dealerships in Iran. As one can naturally guess, they never have any of the steel sport models and always emphasize that “AirKing and OysterPerpetual are exceptional watches!”.

Omega are here too. In a very luxurious store on one of the most expensive streets in Tehran, when you enter the Omega store, you will see sellers who know almost nothing about the watches they sell and, without exception, wrap all the watches in plastic. However, there is a paradox between Rolex and Omega stores because in Rolex there are no desired watches but there is a receptive and professional behavior, but in Omega you won’t have fun, however popular models can be found.

The Drawer

There is one important fact about watch lovers in Iran: they are many but not as a community. I have been writing about watches on Twitter for a long time and it can be said that among Iranian users, I am the only one who is known as a watch blogger; so I talk to a lot of watch people. Due to the special economic conditions that prevail in Iran, the middle class has no choice but to be satisfied with Swatch, Seiko, Citizen and the like. Of course, this does not mean that these brands are bad, but we, as watch lovers, understand well how painful it is if we have to draw the horizon of our collection as near as quartz Seiko and Citizens. Many of these people have a minimal and limited knowledge of the world of watches, but under no circumstances can they even dream of owning a Rolex Explorer or even a Breitling SuperOcean. This is a sad fact that can not be denied.

But on the other hand, there are customers that the Omega dealers see when they get out of their Mercedeses and open the plastic wrap of the watch for them;  However, most of them do not have a specific strategy for creating a collection. Farshid, an old and educated Rolex collector, said of the watch collectors he knows: “Many of the people I know buy watches not because of their true love for their mechanism and movement , or even because of their beauty, but because they just want to be like the characters they see in American TV series.” He explained: I heard from one of my friends that he had seen on TV that the character of the series opened a drawer and took one of his watches and put it on. He fell in love with this image and insisted that, like that very character, he really wanted to have a large drawer full of expensive watches so that he could choose one every time he left the house.


The state of watch collection in Iran can perhaps be summed up in a few words: burnt dreams and wasted dollars. On the one hand, a significant number of middle-class people who are ordinary employees can never expand the range of their options. On the other hand, a considerable part of the affluent class do not enjoy buying luxury watches more than buying expensive jewellery, pens and pianos, and simply add a luxury item to their other luxury items. Watch sellers also do almost nothing to solve problems. Those who continue to sell counterfeit watches hide behind constant excuses, manipulating customers’ tastes and ethics, and ordinary dealers either suffer from a lack of knowledge or a lack of patience.

We must hope that watch lovers in Iran will think about resolving this situation themselves, because the more awareness there is, the less everyone will inevitably be able to escape the consequences of any wrongdoing.

Hamed Tavakoli

Instagram: @hatavakoli

Twitter: @tavakoliha


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