Wearing an expensive watch can be a show stopper. Being a show stopper comes with both good and bad things. Typically, people associate Rolex owners as pretentious or “showing off.” In reality, you might just be a watch enthusiast who happens to own a Rolex. When it comes to job interviews, there is a lot to lose. You might risk losing the job as being “that guy” wearing a Rolex, or you might end up finding another watch enthusiast.
You want to avoid wearing a Rolex for job interviews. You have nothing to gain by wearing the Rolex, while you have a job to lose. You don’t want to alienate yourself from the employer. Rolex watches can be a sign that you have been successful, as they are known to be expensive watches.
Having a Rolex on to a job interview is much more than just wearing a watch. Some people aren’t fortunate enough to ever have that amount of money to spend on something as simple as a wristwatch. Therefore, you can easily be perceived as a douchebag.
In contrast, you’re also able to make the watch tell something about you, rather than something that can be used against you.
Should I Wear a Rolex to an Interview?
Wearing a Rolex to job interviews is something many would advise against. On the flip side, many say you shouldn’t care since you own the watch, and it’s your hobby, which has nothing to do with how well you can perform a job. Another aspect is, would you want to work somewhere where people think you’re an asshat just because you have a Rolex?
Wearing a Rolex for a job interview is not recommended. Most interviewers/managers will never notice the watch you’re wearing, nor would they judge you. However, in some cultures wearing a Rolex can work against you getting the job. Wearing a Rolex can also be a conversation starter and proof that you’re successful.
There are simple things to consider; however, there are also more complex aspects such as psychology and culture involved when wearing high-end watches to a job interview.
There are a total of 9 things to consider before you slap on a Rolex on your wrist to a job interview. If you don’t want to be known as the douchebag who wears a Rolex because daddy has a bottomless trust fund, you want to sell the idea of being attached to the watch.
At the same time, you shouldn’t start to ramble about Rolex watches during the interview if the employer hasn’t even noticed.
The 9 things that can be good and/or bad when wearing a Rolex to a job interview is:
- You’re a watch enthusiast
- You’ve inherited a watch
- You’re interviewing for a senior position
- You want to show you’re successful
- The culture at the workplace to where you’re applying
- The watch fits your clothing style
- You love watch engineering
- You’re investing in watches
- You actually use the watch
If you beside to wear a Rolex to a job interview, you better be ready to defend your position as some cultures/workplaces could find it “offensive.”
This will especially be seen in cultures where everyone is “supposed to be equal. Such places don’t allow differences or materialistic wealth (why do you think people don’t want to talk about salary, investments, etc.?).
However, if you wear the watch as a genuine watch lover, have a loving story with the watch, or simply love the engineering, it’s easier to talk to people not understanding your passion for watches, which can be worth more than a car.
You’re a Watch Enthusiast
Being a watch enthusiast is a costly hobby. Nobody will ever be able to tell me otherwise. Nonetheless, it’s a hobby I have enjoyed for more a very long time without getting bored.
If you’re a watch enthusiast, people will have an easier connection to why you could ever want to spend so much money on a “simple” wristwatch. The aspect is to create a connection to people.
Many people like to max out their credit cards by partying at the weekends, and others purchase a luxury car once in a while. It’s all hobbies that empty the bank card, doing something they (hopefully) enjoy doing.
As someone who dreams of someday owning a Rolex, I would actually wear the watch because it’s a passion. And if I were ever to be fortunate enough to afford one, it would make me vomit in my mouth if I was forced to put it away because of people thinking it was a showoff.
Going into depth about the watch, the horology, heritage, the movement, and other very specific details about the hobby will make people realize that you genuinely like watches and don’t have expensive watches because of the status symbol attached to the watch.
You’ve Inherited a Watch
Inheriting a watch is one of the most beautiful ways of getting a watch. You’re carrying something that one of your loved ones has been wearing. Now, it’s not always wristwatches in your taste that you inherit.
But suppose you’re fortunate enough to inherit a watch that you enjoy and want to wear. In that case, the watch has a beautiful and meaningful story.
This will speak to a lot of people. Just like we all have some random figures, furniture, paintings, or something else that we have inherited, you keep it because it has a history in your family even though it might not mix well with your current style.
Wearing a watch that has been inherited speaks to people’s emotions. While people can still feel intimidated by you wearing a Rolex, there is naturally a larger understanding when it comes to inherited objects.
Having a story to a watch is almost a safe heaven unless you come from a rich background. People tend to have less compassion for rich people compared to those not rich.
You’re Interviewing for a Senior Position
When applying for a senior position, you want to show success from your previous job experiences. Although a Rolex is not a direct sign of success, it does indicate a certain level of income.
Don’t think you get a senior position just because you’re wearing a Rolex. Nonetheless, you’re indirectly showing that you have reached a certain level of success due to the simple fact that you get paid the higher the position is in the workplace’s hierarchical structure.
Therefore, it’s natural for a CEO, CFO, CTO, or alike to be wearing a Rolex, where you wouldn’t expect the newly graduated employees to be running around with Rolexes.
This is also the very reason a lot of people wouldn’t like you wearing a Rolex to a job interview if you look better off than them, although applying for a lower-paying job than them.
You Want to Show You’re Successful
Wearing an expensive watch is often perceived as someone wanting to show off. While this might sound very negative, it can actually be used as something positive.
When you’re interviewing for a new job, you want to show you’ve been successful in previous jobs by including a resume and CV. Another way to show you have been successful is to have an expensive watch on your wrist. And yes, I know, that’s very materialistic. Nonetheless, it’s actually a sign that you have been able to make and save money.
If you have been gifted the Rolex through your job, it makes for an even better statement simply because you would never get a + $10,000 watch if you did a poor job.
Wearing a Rolex is a way to show a success. Rolex watches are not cheap. Having a Rolex and wearing it without fear indicates that you have reached financial success and, therefore, most likely have job success.
The Culture at the Workplace to Where You’re Applying
If the culture is very result-driven, wearing an expensive watch like Rolex might signal that you’re the type of guy or girl that does anything to get the results.
In contrast, if the culture is very hierarchical, you might want to avoid wearing a Rolex at first if you are applying for a position below management.
Some people don’t like being perceived as less “valuable” by people working for them. Hence, if you have a Rolex and your manager has no luxury watch, you might indirectly be signaling that you’re worth more than he/she is. Not a good first impression, I might add.
It’s the same principle when the neighbor drives their new BMW or Mercedes into their driveway, and you wonder how they can afford such a nice car. You turn and see your 2000 Toyota Corolla and realize that you would much rather have a German luxury car because you want what he has.
Envy is heavily researched, and we all have it. Some are more affected than others. Nonetheless, it’s not a nice feeling. Giving an interviewer that feeling before you even have the job will not work in your favor. Therefore, research the culture before wearing a Rolex to a job interview.
Watch brands are not commonly recognized. Just look at this video of people looking at different watches. First of all, they don’t know anything about watches (they all say in the introduction). Secondly, they all guess wrong in the price.
The Watch Fits Your Clothing Style
There are people more or less only buying watches because of their looks. This is the very reason brands such as Daniel Wellington, Vincero, MVMT, etc., have become popular.
With these fashion watches, you are basically buying a cheap piece of plastic that looks clean and expensive. Don’t get me wrong, their designs are compelling, but if you look “under the hood,” it’s cheap and not worth 1/5 of their price.
With that said, they are good looking watches, and they are made to fit current fashion trends.
However, if you happen to be a bit more “exclusive” with your watches, and rather than fashion watches that have high horology watches, you will occasionally matching your outfit with a Rolex.
Wearing a Rolex to fit a clothing style to a job interview can be both good and bad. The first thing is that you might be judged by wearing an obscene watch (common consensus). The other thing is that you will look shape (if the watch makes clothing style).
Being judged (negatively) by wearing a Rolex will not win you anything. However, you might win something by looking clean in your outfit.
Be careful when using expensive watches to match a clothing style. How important is a watch actually as opposed to getting the job?
You Love Watch Engineering
If you’re heavily into engineering and love how a watch works, wearing a Rolex might give you an advantage if the employer notices the watch and starts asking questions.
It can come to your advantage if you’re applying for engineering jobs, where knowledge of innovation, engineering, and building constructs is required to be successful.
Giving a detailed explanation of why you’re fascinated by a Rolex watch’s inner works might give you an advantage in expressing your knowledge and ability to learn new things.
However, it also comes with the downside of being seen as pretentious: “couldn’t he have expressed his knowledge towards his job rather than his fancy watch” type of comments might meet you.
You can explain engineering in many other ways than with a Rolex watch. Therefore you might lose more than you gain by wearing a Rolex.
You’re Investing in Watches
If you’re an investor going for watches, it might come across as very shallow if you bust out a Rolex, just because. In the case you have a hobby for investing in watches, I would advise you to have the watch as your hobby and not as a part of a job interview.
Although we all have hobbies, it sends a signal to your potential employer that you’re not fully committed to the job and would rather work on your hobby. I realize that somewhere this is a sign of a high work ethic, whereas, in other places, it’s seen as a lack of focus towards the job you’re applying for.
Be careful when wearing Rolex watches to job interviews if you’re a watch investor. You might end up getting judged by your hobby and not your job success.
You Actually Use the Watch
A lot of people actually use a watch in their day-to-day life (me included). I use my dive watch as an egg timer. By adjusting the bezel on my dive watch, I know when I have to leave, get to the next meeting, etc., at the glace of my wrist.
Although we all carry a smartphone nowadays, it’s much easier to use a watch to tell time. Furthermore, it’s much less distracting. Big, respected leaders such as Simon Sinek proves a very significant point in using phones.
Having a smartphone in your hands, on the table, etc., and not even buzzing or binging, you’re sending a signal to everyone in the same room as you that the phone is much more important than they are.
When you have drawn the phone, our subconscious tells us that you are waiting for something to happen with the phone, rather than engage and make a meaningful relationship with whoever is in the room with you.
If you’re wearing a watch (not a smartwatch), you can keep track of time without sending this subconscious signal to everyone in the room. This is, of course, if you don’t stare at the watch like a maniac, sending the signal that you’re in a hurry.
Is Wearing a Rolex Pretentious?
I get why many think Rolex owners might be pretentious. However,
this prejudice is not fair to Rolex owners. A lot, and here I mean a lot of Rolex owners, genuinely like their watch and don’t think higher of themselves.
Wearing a Rolex is not pretentious unless you give people a belief that you’re pretentious. Through marketing and Rolex’s position in the market makes significant indications that Rolex is only for winners, which is why many see Rolex owners as pretentious.
There is a lot of Rolex enthusiasts that enjoy the watch and have no personal attributes towards pretentious. Often the arrogant “feeling” is something other people force the Rolex owners to have in people’s own heads. However, this feeling is applied to Rolex owners by other people because of the way Rolex has marketed their products.
Rolex advertisements are found everywhere in sports. However, never in mainstream sports, only sports for the elite. Sports such as Formula 1, tennis, golf, and horse-related sports have for over 50 years been plastered with Rolex ads.
Since the advertisement has typically been shown in sports associated with the elite, there’s also a general understanding that Rolex owners see themselves as being apart of the elite.
However, the reality is that there are Rolex owners out there working in grocery stores, which biggest hobby is watches. And although the paycheck might not be big in a grocery store, their passion for watches or Rolex can be enormous.
Another signal that Rolex is sending to people browsing shopping malls is their luxurious stores. I mean, have you ever seen the inside of an authentic Rolex store. It looks like something Jeff Bozos or Elon Musk would own.
Using such a “technique,” they are indirectly telling the majority of people walking by their stores that “you can’t afford things from this store unless you parked in a Lamborghini.”
Personally, I’m keen to think that people should mind their own business and keep things professional when hiring people. Someone wearing a smartwatch can be lightyears better than someone wearing a Rolex. Rolex is not a success factor in itself.
If I were fortunate enough to afford a Rolex, I would wear it till my wrist fell off. I would gladly tell people why I have a passion for the watch rather than using it to make myself look better than others. Frankly, I just love mechanical watches.
However, when it comes to a job interview, I think you might be risking more than you have the potential of winning when wearing a Rolex.
Suppose the recruiter recognizes the watch and from there has a biased judgment that you’re a pretentious dude careless of others. In that case, the Rolex will work against your favor.
You risk losing the job when wearing Rolex or other expensive watches because
- People are fast to judge (negatively)
- Rolex is associated with the elite or pretentious people
- People get envious of the amount of money sitting on your wrist
The only time were wearing a Rolex might help you is if:
- The recruiter/employer is a watch enthusiast
- You are applying for senior positions or a job that requires you to be successful, and the Rolex is, therefore, a symbol of success
If you’re not applying for a senior position, you risk way more than you’re getting. You applied for the job, which means you want it. Therefore, generally speaking, there is no reason to wear a watch. You will most likely not know if the recruiter is a watch enthusiast before the job interview. Therefore, you’re betting the recruiter won’t judge you.
Ultimately, you also have to think, “would I work in a place where I can’t wear my watch?” I know I wouldn’t. However, if money was tight, I might not have the luxury to chose.
Sources used for this post
Crusius J, Mussweiler T. When people want what others have: the impulsive side of envious desire. Emotion. 2012 Feb;12(1):142-53. doi: 10.1037/a0023523. Epub 2011 May 23. PMID: 21604867.
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