How to be a watch enthusiast with $0 How to be a watch enthusiast with $0

How to be a watch enthusiast with $0

Fergus Nash

Whether it’s a tough economic time or you’re cutting yourself off after too many impulse purchases, there’s always a moment in a watch enthusiast’s life when they can’t spend a single dollar more. Thankfully there are a heap of ways you can engage with the hobby without losing a cent, and none of them carry the risk of buyer’s remorse.

Dive into some research

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It’s no secret among the Time+Tide team that I love writing about history, with one of my favourite pieces looking into the instability of the Swiss watch industry leading up to the Quartz Crisis. Coming across a nugget of information online and trying to chase down the full story is an absolute thrill, especially when it involves some real digging. For example, much of the information I learned when writing about the history of Junghans had to be translated from German articles, as the information hadn’t been published in English yet. If you wanted to take a step further, you could even visit libraries and discover the countless books that have been written on incredibly niche topics, unlikely to ever be published online. Research isn’t just a fun pastime, it will also increase your appreciation for modern watchmaking and the journey it took to get here.

Go try some watches on

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This one is a little bit risky if you actually do have some savings in the bank, but it can also be the most rewarding. Something which online shopping lacks is the ability to try before you buy, and as a result it’s easy to forget that you can still visit stores with no intention to purchase. Unless you’re in a particularly busy store or are faced with an unfortunately snooty staff member, most boutiques of any calibre will give you the royal treatment if you ask. You can try watches on to your heart’s content and curate your taste. You might even find that there are some surprises, and that your tastes may be different in person. If you strike up a good conversation, you might even walk out of there with some free merchandise or up one glass of champagne.

Practice your smartphone photography

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Assuming you already own a phone with a camera and at least one watch, you can spend a day going into the world and practicing photography. The attention to detail required for a good watch shot matches up well with the general attitudes of watch enthusiasts, and that’s why you see so many photographers in the hobby. Spend some time online gathering some tips, and then head out for some trial and error. Overcast lighting is generally easier to work with than bright sunshine, but you can still get some cool effects with harsher environments. You might be able to find an app which lets you manually adjust the focus too, leading to some experimental and artistic shots in no time.


People Watching

It might sound a little bit creepy if you’re unfamiliar with the term, but people-watching is a really fun activity. Set up at a cafe, bus stop, or anywhere there’s a steady stream of passers-by. Watching people going about their day, you can try and guess who they are and what they’re doing. If you add watches into the mix, you get an extra layer of perspective. You might see some unexpected combinations of people and watches, or even glance at something rare in the wild.

Join some forums

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The internet has changed a lot in the last decade or two, and although ‘forums’ might not be as big as they once were, they’re certainly still around. Whether it’s a classic forum website like WatchUSeek or simply a Facebook group, you can discuss absolutely anything with the community at large. Maybe if you’ve already taken some nice watch photos, you could post them for feedback and encouragement. After all, sharing your hobby with other people is one of the best ways to celebrate it.