Editor’s Note: It’s both unsurprising and disturbing that our cautionary guide to buying watches while on the sauce has been so popular this year. Equal parts fun and fact, with a dash of self-reflection, the resulting story is a biting brew with woody undertones and a kick in the tail. Enjoy responsibly.
We’re pretty sure this doesn’t need to be said, but let’s say it anyway. Don’t buy watches when you’re drunk. Nothing good can come from it. Seriously. Nothing. You’ll wake up hungover, surrounded with bottles of Dom/Chivas/Pabst (depending on budget and taste), considerably poorer and with a rare Enicar Sherpa Graph heading your way via the Philippines. Or not.
But if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it right. So we’ve prepared a three-step program to minimise risk and maximise fun.
Step 1: Be prepared.
A lot of this comes down to what you’re like when you’ve had a few. If you’re the kind of guy who gets excited about the late-night escapade to the nearest Casino for a few hands of poker (‘cos you totally could have gone pro. Totally) it might be an idea to send some flyers to your local boutiques. Include a selfie (ideally one when you’re already drunk) and this handy pro forma:
ATTENTION boutique staff: If this man, <YOUR NAME HERE>, wishes to purchase a watch after 9pm please ask him to recite the reference numbers of at least six Rolex professional models. If <YOUR NAME HERE> is incapable of doing so, please inform him that you do not have any watches available for sale, give him two espressos and call him an Uber.
Of course, you might be more inclined to browse eBay after a couple of beverages and, to be honest, this is more of a challenge. Because while it’s pretty easy to download an app to prevent you drunk texting, dialling or facebooking, the apps that prevent you from accessing eBay or Chrono24 when you’re on the sauce are few and far between. Our best suggestion is to add a few watches you’d actually like into your watch list, and pray your drunken self gravitates to these pre-approved options. At least that way you might end up with an A. Lange & Söhne instead of an Alan Silberstein.
Step 2: Know your limits
Buying a new watch can be an intimidating thing, especially if you’re stepping out of your fiscal comfort zone – so maybe you have a few nips of the hard stuff for courage. But it’s a fine line. After a few drinks it gets easier to justify that Tudor Pelagos purchase you’ve been eying off over the past few months (Hey! I’m going on holiday, I need a new dive watch). A few more and that ‘deal of a lifetime’ looks increasingly attractive (Whoa, LNIB 116610LV at 20% off retail – buy it now!). But one too many and the next thing you know you’ve re-mortgaged the house, sold a kidney and the shirt off your back for a Greubel Forsey unique piece. At some point it’s not worth it.
Step 3: Anticipate regret
There’s no nice way to put this. You’re going to have regrets. Maybe it’s as simple as not liking the watch you end up with. I mean, sure, that 48mm Breitling is cool, but you’ve got a five-inch wrist and there’s no way you can get away with that IRL. Or maybe it’s more pervasive – a niggling worry that you paid well over market value, or that if your mind was a little less fuzzy you’d have gone for something in better condition. Whatever it is, there’s no point beating yourself up over it. Just think about what a great story it will make down the road. Priceless. And if it’s really bad, you can always flip it – probably to someone exactly like you.
Whatever you do, enjoy in moderation and may the drunken watch gods smile upon you.