A “sex pile” on Instagram doesn’t mean what you think it means

Nope, it’s got nothing to do with that.
Nope, it’s got nothing to do with that.
Image: Michael Dorausch/Creative Commons
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Sex piles on Instagram have some common features. They include hands splayed in various directions, faces glistening under flattering filters, and leather straps spread across the frame. But those pieces and parts don’t belong to people. They belong to watches.

The term “sex pile” refers to the hashtag frequently attached to these images of watches heaped on top of one another. The majority of sex-piled watches tend to be large-faced luxury models, though all types are welcome, and they’re posted almost entirely by Red Bar Group, a club for watch collectors and enthusiasts that meets weekly to discuss their passion.

The group started in New York in 2007 as a monthly meeting of just two men: Adam Craniotes and Dr. Jeffrey Jacques. Now more than 30 people attend the New York meet up and it has chapters in various cities in the US and Canada. It’s also become a thing on Instagram.

It was Red Bar that created the sex pile, specifically the group’s COO, Kathleen McGivney.

“One day we had a pile of watches on the table and when she hashtagged it, she just said, ‘That’s a sex pile. That’s just a pile of sex, of watches, and it must be termed as such,'” Craniotes tells Quartz. “And it stuck.”

The “sex” part comes from the seductive allure of the watches involved, especially so many all together. They can be extremely rare and expensive—brands involved include Breitling, Patek Philippe, Rolex, and Audemars Piguet—and the piles routinely run to tens of thousands of dollars in total value.

For anyone who isn’t a hardcore aficionado, Red Bar’s watch porn isn’t particularly provocative.

Though the occasional themed picture can be amusing.

If you’re a passionate horologist, however, a sex pile is sure to get your heart pounding.