We watch enthusiasts love an excuse to come over all opinionated, don't we? A little "controversy break" from our worship of calibres and references. So how about this: after-market customising. Would you or wouldn't you? Is it cool to ice-up a Patek and black-out a Rolex – or is it a crime against horology? One thing is sure: it makes some very prominent watch producers quite hot under the collar. But why the controversy? When you buy a watch it becomes your own property – so shouldn't that mean you can do whatever you want with it? Change the colour, pimp it up in whatever way makes you happy and makes the watch feel more "yours". It's never been an issue for cars: take your Bentley to Mansory or your BMW to the local foiling shop and you'll be praised rather than disparaged. Weirdly, though, different rules seem to apply for watches. Modifying high-end timepieces is far from new (1980s; Hip-Hop; the early days of Jacob & Co with the iced-up Cartiers …) but even so, having a watch customised by a third-party workshop is, apparently, close to sacrilege for many. Is that because of some deep-rooted conservatism in the…

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