Breaking! Breaking News Breaks the Internet!

Breaking! Breaking News Breaks the Internet!

Want to learn about the latest leaked releases in advance of Watches & Wonders? Read on.

By Marco Gabella
Chairman & Executive Publisher

If you’re looking for some breaking news on the 2022 releases from Rolex and Patek Philippe, you can find it here on Watchonista! But not until tomorrow.

Why? Because it isn’t 8:30 am CET (2:30 am EDT) when press embargoes lift and watch brands officially launch their novelties at Watches & Wonders 2022.

Apologies for the early April Fool’s message, but we wanted to explain why we at Watchonista will never break an embargo. And we wanted to do it before the fair because the pressure to scoop the rest of the watch press can be (for lack of a stronger word) intense.

Ultimately, we feel that the pressure to be “first” is a race to the bottom. Here’s why.

Press Embargoes: 101

For those who may not know, a news or press embargo is a request by a brand supplying information to a single media outlet or multiple media outlets that said information not be published before a specific date and time or until certain conditions have been met. Typically, this advanced information comes in the form of a press release.

In terms of watch releases, embargoes can also include an invitation from the brand for an in-person preview of a model or collection slated for release a few days, weeks, or even months later. These previews are done so that the press can set deadlines to coincide with the announcement date, thus resulting in as much media exposure as is possible.

That is what embargoes are and how they work.

Bad News

The question now becomes: In a media environment where there is constant pressure to publish breaking news before competitors, why do press outlets bother respecting embargo dates at all?

We can’t speak for our watch-media colleagues, but the reason why Watchonista is careful not to break embargoes is not out of loyalty to the brands. It is out of an obligation to our readers.

The plain fact of the matter is: Embargoed information can be incomplete. And sometimes, it’s even flat-out incorrect.

Our mission at Watchonista is to provide thoughtful analysis based on complete information, not hastily rewritten press releases or speculation about what a new launch might entail based on some leaked photos. So, if Watchonista is not first out of the gate with every timepiece introduced at Watches & Wonders, it’s because we want to take the time to think about what a watch means and the type of person who might be interested in it.

Actually, touching and trying on the products is necessary to report how we feel about a new release. After all, would you consider the review of an automotive journalist trustworthy if they had never driven nor even seen the car in question?

Don’t Feed the Frenzy

Breaking embargoes is problematic for other reasons. Just look at last week’s leak of the Omega x Swatch collaboration. As soon as images of the MoonSwatch hit Instagram, flippers were already listing the watches on eBay, and amateur analysts were trash-talking the timepieces before they had a chance to hold an example in their hands.

We started Watchonista because we love watchmaking and the enthusiast community. And we do enjoy cheeky commentary (bring on the MoonSwatch memes!). But sometimes, the speculation – by flippers and gossips – can turn ugly, which can turn future watch fans off.

Case in point: Because the leaked information was incomplete, Swatch and Omega had to scramble to inform buyers the watches were not limited editions; and that, while the March 26 launch date was in-store only, they would be available online eventually.

The Big Picture

We understand that others may feel compelled to break an embargo for clout or clickbait. And thanks to cellphone cameras and social media, it’s become increasingly difficult for brands to keep these new releases under wraps. Still, if everybody else has already broken the embargo, we’re happy to wait so that we can provide our readers with the best images and storytelling possible.

After all, we still want to break the internet, but not at the cost of breaking an embargo.

And receive each week a custom selection of articles.

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