At one point or another, everyone begins their journey in horology as a novice or ‘noob’. This is a short-lived stage in the evolution of a collector’s life, but it is often confusing and overwhelming. It is a challenging road, littered with many new terms, a myriad of brands and an enormous amount of learning. However, after this stage has passed, you are armed with the information required to gather together a nice group of watches that you appreciate and enjoy. Once that is accomplished, it is nice to take the time to reflect on why you started down the ‘winding path’ of watch collecting.
Before you start…
Watch collecting is a very personal hobby and, if you aren’t careful with your choices, can be littered with expensive lessons learned. Prior to starting or expanding your watch collection, there are a few criteria that should be established to put yourself in the position to make the best decisions. These include:
- Budget – How much are you willing to spend on a watch or a group of watches in total?
- Age – Do you want to buy brand new watches or would you be open to purchasing quality preowned or vintage models? Depending on the brand and model, you may have more purchasing power and a larger potential collection with some preowned models mixed in.
- Style – What are your needs? Do you want all one style of watches, such as dive watches or do you want a variety of styles to fit all occasions?
- Size – Since watches come in large variety of case diameters and lengths, you should take the time to try a few on in order to establish what the best size for your wrist size is. Are you looking for a conservatively sized 38mm – 40mm watch or a bolder choice in the 48mm and up range? The most important factor to consider is that you will be comfortable wearing the watch.
Once you've considered all of the above, you're ready to begin. Here are six good reasons to start and maintain a watch collection:
Whether you’re new to watch collecting or have been collecting watches for several years, the thrill of the hunt is one of the biggest draws to the world of watch collecting. This entails hours of searching online retailers, forums and other resources to find deals, negotiate great trades or make the best bids on the watches that you want.
Throughout this process, you're bound to stumble across watch brands and models that you have never encountered before. This is all part of the fun of the journey of watch collecting – spending the time learning about them, discovering new models and adding new watches to your collection. This is the traditional way most people will build their collection, with more of a random approach. More than likely, mot watch collectors will fall into this category.
For many watch collectors, having a few coveted watches in their watch collection provides an great sense of pride. Whether you worked hard to buy it or spent a long time seeking it out to finally trade it with the original owner, the work to get that watch is worth it. Having a watch collection with several unique and in-demand watches can provide a great sense of ownership.
#3: Timeless Appeal
Unless you only collect fashion watches, your watch collection will have at least a few distinctive and rare watches that will be valuable for years to come. Many watch collectors start building their watch collection around a certain brand or style of watches but branch out as they discover new styles and designs.
Another approach that collectors will utilize is to focus their collection based on a specific genre of watches that piques their interest or ties into their background. By specializing their collection in such a manner, such as a military, diver or pilot style watch, it proves the collector with more enjoyment in the process of learning about the watches and tracking down their new additions. Although it's fairly rare for a collection to be solely focused on a single type of watch, many collectors will feature a certain style of watches in their collections. A very common theme in collections is dive watches.
This approach might also be applied to certain watch brands or genre of watch brands. For example, you may want to center your collection around Omega or TAG Heuer watches. Alternatively, you may want to collect only small, lesser known, boutique brands or ‘microbrands’.
Every watch has a story behind it and for many watch collectors, some of the watches they hold on to have sentimental value. A watch could be a gift from a loved one or something you purchased for yourself to commemorate a special occasion. It could be a watch you won or even something as simple as a watch you finally were able to buy after years of saving up for it.
Many collectors will use the opportunity of an achievement or milestone to add a special timepiece to their collection. Whether you worked hard to purchase a unique piece or spent a long time searching for a specific model, the memories attached to a watch attached to an accomplishment is sure to retain a special place in your collection. This is another avenue for expanding your collection, while personalizing it and providing sentimental significance. For many watch collectors, having a few coveted watches in their watch collection provides a great sense of pride. After a period of time, by selecting watches that celebrate accomplishments, a nice group of watches can be assembled by using this technique.
Whatever the case may be, every watch has a story to tell and there’s a good reason why it ends up in your watch box. This is one reason why every watch collector’s collection is so unique.
#5: Fashion Statement
If you like to wear watches, more than likely, the watches in your collection need to speak to your sense of style. Many of the watches in your collection will be suitable for everyday wear while others will be reserved for special occasions. Having a selection of different watches on hand for different events and ensembles can keep you looking pulled together and fashionable.
Alternatively, some collectors will purchase a watch to go with a certain outfit or a watch with a bright colored dial as a ‘summer watch’. There are many instances where these more impulsive or specialized purchases will make their way into a collection. By utilizing this approach, it makes the hobby more fun, while incorporating it into your lifestyle.
While many watches won’t increase in value by very much during your lifetime, most will hold their value. This makes it easier to trade and sell watches when it’s time to change up your collection. Many collectors put a cap on how many watches they have in their collection in any given time so they can keep rotating out their inventory. This helps promote the sense of discovery as they continue seeking out new watches for their collection and trading out those they no longer want.
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