What is a Watch Collection?
We’ve all been there, sitting on YouTube, Instagram or Facebook looking at someone’s extensive collection of Rolex watches, Patek’s or AP’s wondering
1. Where do I even start?
2. What the hell do these people do for a living?
It can all be so expensive if you want to go down the road of collecting the finest of pieces. But, when it comes to watch collecting, that doesn’t have to be the case.
Sure, everyone wants that rare vintage collection and it’d be great to be that guy on Instagram who opens up a Pelikan case of Rolex Daytonas but, at the end of the day, if you want to collect watches, then collect pieces that you love which resonate with you. Watches are as individual as the person collecting them so find a brand, style or genre you like and work towards it. it may take you a few years to get your first piece or you might be in a position to get started right away.
Regardless, watch collecting shouldn’t be about how much you spend, nor should you feel under pressure to stretch yourself thin just to buy a nice watch to compete with the next person. Believe me, this is a game where someone will always have a “better” piece and be willing to spend more money. The worst thing you can do is try and keep up with the Joneses.
For me, watch collecting is a personal journey which is based on your own personal taste, style and interests. You may be really into aviation and find yourself on a path of collecting vintage Breitlings or newer IWC’s. Maybe you see yourself as bit of an adventurer and want something more rugged that can go anywhere and so your collection might consist of a few field watches – The Hamilton Khaki Field springs immediately to mind, as does the much-loved Seiko 5 (ref SNK809K2). Perhaps this may lead you to get a Rolex Explorer as your collection grows.
And these are relatively cheap watches (even the Explorer in terms of value… In my opinion) which, not only have the respect of the watch community as a whole, but also have a huge following of their own. Seiko in particular is a hugely popular brand thanks to its price and ability to be customised and modified. There’s a whole Reddit group at r/seikomods
Another brand that warms the hearts of watch enthusiasts and collectors is G-Shock. For many (myself included) this is where it all began. My first G Shock was the first one they introduced, the DW-5000C. It was basic, square and solid. An absolute gem of a watch. Even recently they released a steel version of the original and, regardless of what was already in my collection, I had to have it. It just came with a huge sense of nostalgia and I was so excited when it came. Just as excited as when I purchased my first “luxury” watch. I remember trying to tell my wife why it was such a cool watch and, probably like most watch enthusiasts, I was greeted with that blank look followed by “So… you got another watch!?!”
Even more recently G Shock have released the GA-2100, affectionally known as the Casi-Oak due it’s likeness to a… well… you know. It’s a wonderful design and feels amazing on the wrist. Even now the GA-2100 is still highly sought after, with some being sold at double the price on eBay.
Also, as your taste, style and interests change so will your taste for watches. You’ll certainly experience those “Why the hell did I buy that” moments and as time goes on, some watches will stay in the collection while others may be sold, but this is just part of the journey and, rather than trying to have a fancy collection consisting of the most expensive pieces, you’ll have a collection that is well thought out, took time to accumulate and there’ll even be a little story behind each piece.
This is certainly the case for me as I tend to get watches when I hit certain milestones or achievements. A good example is when I got made redundant from my job. I had been working in the same role for over 10 years so when the time came to leave it almost felt like retirement - even though I was still young (if I do say so myself). I decided to mark the occasion with a watch - A blue dial Rolex Yachtmaster (Ref 116622). Since then, it reminds me of the times I had in work, the people I worked with and what I learned while there.
Additionally, a few years later when I graduated from university I celebrated with a blue dial Breitling Avenger II (thanks to my last student loan). And yes, these are expensive pieces and may not be to everyone’s tastes or style but I love them. They tell a story, mark milestones and work for me.
Overall, a watch collection is what YOU make it. You don’t have to spend tons of cash and acquire the most luxurious of pieces. I’d even argue that it lacks value if you don’t care about the pieces in the collection. Personally, I would much rather sit down with a passionate Seiko 5 collector than someone who is simply wants to flex.
So, don’t be discouraged and think this is a hobby for those with the cash. You can have a fantastic collection without breaking the bank. I think the most important piece of advice I could give you is to be smart and don’t rush. This is a long-term journey that can even continue through generations. And a lot of the fun is actually in the chase. Hunting those hard to find pieces or winning that eBay bid for the G-Shock GA-2100 (Yep… talking about myself there).
Finally, I would like to add one more thing. It can be really easy to fall in to the trap of believing you have to spend money to be “accepted” into the watch community; That without an expensive, well-known flagship on your wrist you will not fit in. Nothing could be further from the truth! Real watch enthusiasts are not watch snobs and those who judge negatively based on what’s on your wrist aren’t real watch people! This is a wonderful community and if you are passionate about what’s on your wrist, others will be too. That’s what’s important, not how much you spend!
I hope this helps if you are just starting out or even if you are still building a collection. This is a great community and hopefully we keep growing! Thanks for your time and see you in the next one!
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