We ran a special edition of the Wind Down which ran through the dos and don’ts of wristshots just for some time ago. Turns out this was actually a very useful and informative post, so we thought it was worth giving it some time in the ‘How To’ sun. So read on for the first steps in mastering the fine and subtle art of the perfect wristshot.
Every job has its quirks. Every industry has its niche skills. In watch journalism – or watch appreciation in general – perhaps one of the most crucial, and least transferrable, of these skills is the seemingly simple wristshot. You’ve all seen them, and likely taken more than a few yourself. If that’s the case you’ll have realised that taking the perfect ‘wristie’ (a contraction of “wristwatch selfie”– geddit?) isn’t as easy as it looks. So today we’re going to discover what you need to do to take the perfect wristshot, with the help of some of the world’s leading watch writers. Your Instagram followers will thank you. But one small caveat. Don’t blame us if things get weird when you’re taking them. It turns out, like in all art, you have to suffer a little for the perfect outcome.
It’s all in the wrist – we ask the experts
Tim Barber, the erudite watch editor for the Telegraph, has some very firm views as to what constitutes a proper wristie: “Sleeve rolled DOWN. Avoid Insta filters. No to reams of gross bracelets, naff Hermes belts etc. Yes to a smart, well-made shirt cuff, something that’s all too rare in my case”. Mr Barber also went so far as to share his personal fitness routine, guaranteed to turn puny wrists into mighty slabs of watch-wearing muscle, capable of rocking even the largest Panerai with ease.
Fellow Brit and the well-dressed man behind Bexsonn, Christopher Beccan asserts that the safest option is for the sleeve to always be rolled down, with “little to no skin between the cuff and watch”. But if you’re particularly confident in your wrist skills (or have been following Barber’s patented exercise regime), you could be a bit more adventurous. “If you can get away with a sleeveless watch shot – do it.”
Our own vintage expert Derek Dier is a veteran wrist-snapper and has a handy technical tip, suggesting that using a simple piece of black or grey paper to block out reflections is essential for getting the perfect shot on those tricky glossy black dials or highly domed crystals. Unless you have three hands this might require a friend on camera/reflection-blocking duty.
Many people we spoke to also raised the issue of wrist hair, and acceptable levels thereof. And while several journalists alluded to at least one well-known blogger who has buckled under the pressure of punitive wrist beauty standards and regularly shaves his, most agreed that the best approach to wrist hair is to keep it natural.
One name came up again and again in our extensive polling of industry-leading professional wristie models. Miguel Seabra, editor of Espiral do Tempo and the unofficial ‘King of the Wrist Shot’ – a man known to risk life and wrist in pursuit of the perfect picture. We asked Seabra for his words of wisdom:
“I started taking wristshots over 20 years ago, purely as a memory aid – so I could remember which watches I’d seen, and what they looked like on the wrist. Then I’d start using them online, and now on social media. The importance of wristshots has skyrocketed with Facebook and Instagram. How do I take a good wristshot? Well, practice makes perfect. For me it’s all about the angle of the wrist and the hand, and avoiding the ‘pizza’ effect of flattening the watch – try shooting on a bit of an angle. It’s also important to never rush, take your time to find the right background, focus and edit before you post. I don’t like to wear bracelet or jewellery, but that’s a matter of taste. I write about tennis and watches, so I try to combine the two; Stan Wawrinka sends me pictures of his Royal Oak Offshore, and French veteran Paul-Henri Mathieu sent me a couple with a Lange 1 Moon Phase and a JLC Duomètre à Quantième Lunaire – he was indecisive.”