EDITOR’S PICK: The 7 stages of watch buyer’s remorse (when you just don’t click with that new timepiece…) EDITOR’S PICK: The 7 stages of watch buyer’s remorse (when you just don’t click with that new timepiece…)

EDITOR’S PICK: The 7 stages of watch buyer’s remorse (when you just don’t click with that new timepiece…)

Shane Hegarty

Editor’s note: “Non, je ne regrette rien,” is a phrase that few watch lovers can truthfully utter when it comes to their collections. Whether it’s due to buying a watch sight unseen or the fickle nature of your evolving taste, most of us have experienced buyer’s remorse – a condition that Shane deftly explains in the article below.

The 7 stages of watch buyer's remorse
Why didn’t I buy it on the bracelet?

Regrets are a natural part of watch collecting. We often talk of our regrets about the watches you should have bought, but not always the ones we wish we hadn’t. Yet, sometimes we fall for something and still, somehow, the relationship never gets off the ground no matter how hard you work at it. No matter how hard you tell yourself you really have connected. Or will. Just give it time.

It eats away at you. The money spent. The time put into finding it. If it’s a Rolex, aren’t you supposed to like it? Isn’t that the rule? It’s a hyped Tudor, so how come you’re not as hyped as you want to be? Why are you left cold by that hot new Ming?

When you live somewhere where you don’t have the luxury of trying on a range of watches, you are often buying based on Instagram posts, videos and hype. Maybe you tried the watch on in an airport, grabbing a quick wristshot under the bad AD lights. That can be the equivalent of a holiday fling and it’s all well and good until you’re suddenly living with each other.

I had the experience early in my watch journey, when I still believed a new watch was an instant lifer. It was an Autodromo Group B in orange, a watch that ticked a lot of boxes on paper – distinctive dial and hands on a cool case, from an independent with a solid focus and good story behind it.

The 7 stages of watch buyer's remorse
It’s not you, it’s me – the Autodromo Group B

I so wanted to love it. I told myself I did. My Insta posts said I did. But it just didn’t click. Much as I like an element of understatement, it was just too understated. Too cool, in a way.

I sold it, and far too cheaply. Yet, I gained a valuable lesson that the years since have only emphasised: failed relationships are part of the watch-collecting experience. It means you recognise true love when it actually comes along.

To sum it up, there are maybe 7 stages you go through when you don’t connect with a watch:

  1. That deep feeling in your bones when you put it on your wrist and it just doesn’t spark.
  2. You tell yourself to give it time. You have watches you have grown to appreciate more and more over time. This will be one of them.
  3. You post on Instagram about how great this watch is.
  4. You post on Instagram that it’s not getting the wrist time it deserves.
  5. You post on Instagram that you’ve really begun to appreciate the watch.
  6. You sell it.

Once you’ve been through all the emotions there is sometimes one final, lingering, painful stage:

  1. You have seller’s remorse, decide you actually liked the watch after all and wish you had it back. And, inevitably, you end up buying the watch back. Usually at more than you sold it for. And go straight back to stage 1.