The biggest lies about watch collecting, according to youZach Blass
If I had a penny for every opinion shared on watch social media over the course of 24 hours, I could probably afford to buy the entire US$300M OAK collection off of Patrick Getreide’s hands. I love that there are so many people now ‘talking watches’, but this also means that there are a ton of armchair experts stating opinion as fact. There also seems to be a cultural rhetoric as to what it means to properly collect and wear watches, resulting in groupthink that is at times fair, and other times superstitious. So, we turned to you all and asked what you think are some of the biggest lies about watch collecting. Here is what you had to say, and my thoughts about each.
View this post on Instagram
Agreed. This is such a stupid sentiment in my opinion, but I also understand how it has become held as a truth by many. Rolex is such a behemoth of a brand, and they make top-class watches that are often better than their competition. The angst with Rolex has never been that they make a bad watch – any cool, calm, and collected watch enthusiast would express Rolex is the greatest mass producer of watches. But that is just it. While they allegedly manufacture around one million watches per year, most find they cannot score the model they want at retail – thus all the hate and vitriol. Let’s be clear though, if you own multiple watches or plan on owning multiple watches, regardless of the brands you turn your attention to, you are a watch collector. Whether it’s Swatch pieces throughout the decades, or Miyota-powered microbrands, you are a true watch collector. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise.
Perfection is subjective
Also, agree. Any veteran collector will tell you they had no idea what they actually wanted, or what really worked for them watch-wise, until many years later. After nearly a decade, I am just now starting to feel a sense of discipline and understanding in regard to what watches are perfect for me. But, I am also rather freshly 30 years old. So, it would be naive, to an extent, for me to think my perspective will never change again. Perfect is subjective, therefore you should always hunt what you find perfect – or, rather, will truly enjoy. Unless you are a watch investor, rather than a collector, do not base your watch hunts and purchases purely on the sentiments of others. My best advice: try to determine what designs and aesthetics most speak to you, what specs you truly need in your watches, and how your watches will fit into your lifestyle. Do that, and you might just find yourself having a perfect collection for you.
Fight me… it is 36mm
Completely subjective yet again, and therefore I vehemently disagree! For average-wristed people, 39mm is a safe diameter most will find as a sweet spot. Having said that, I am a firm believer that 36mm is the golden diameter for all identities and wrists – in my smaller-than-average-wristed bias, perhaps. The classic size is what most men wore once upon a time, and today it remains the ultimate watch diameter anyone short of The Rock will find suiting their wrist. That being said, this is my opinion. There is no perfect diameter, just the perfect diameter for you. This can change for each person depending on the category of watch (i.e. dress or diver). Furthermore, I still maintain that lug-to-lug is the most important measurement for fit.
Quartz snobbery is a tried and true classic hallmark of a watch snob. Yes, often less expensive and poorly manufactured watches use quartz movements – but that is not the movement’s fault. Like anything else, quartz watchmaking has its tiers of quality and accuracy. Quartz is practical, while mechanical is romantic. So, I understand the lust and longing for high-end mechanical timepieces. And, in the wake of the quartz crisis, I understand a certain defiance of the category. But, quartz watches are irrefutably not sh*t. This is not subjective, this is a fact. Grand Seiko and Citizen, among others, make very compelling quartz watches. The F.P. Journe Elegante is a luxury quartz watch, which in its base configuration retails for around US$14k, which people are paying well over US$40k for. I avoid quartz not because of a disdain for the mechanism, but rather a disdain for deadbeat seconds – even if found in mechanical watches. So, yes, this is irrefutably a watch collecting lie.
Less can be more
Agreed. Price is not always indicative of the quality of a watch. A myriad of factors, such as brand name and power, can also factor into what the MSRP for a watch is. The perfect example of this is Tudor versus Rolex. Tudor watches cost half as much or more than their Rolex counterparts, but can you really say that a Tudor watch is half the quality of a Rolex? Ultimately, expectations vary depending on the price point. So long as a watch delivers everything you want and need in it, then it is a rock-solid offering.
Beach, boardroom… why not both?
Need? Probably not. But, as I mentioned before, I think it is smart to build a collection around how you will practically wear your watches. Robust elegant watches, as I have dubbed them, are a smart move for anyone who wants to have a watch that fits multiple purposes, environments, and wardrobes with a single timepiece. Again, just a preference, but the whole Bond Submariner with a suit thing can feel a bit out of place – at least by my fashion standards. In reality, 99% of us are not professional divers. Therefore, I think a Datejust or Oyster Perpetual make more sense for most watch buyers with their greater element of versatility – more of that beach and boardroom aura. This is, however, very need-versus-want. You do not need a watch for every occasion, per se. But, ensure your watches can rise to the occasions you will wear them. If your one watch is a vintage Calatrava, then you absolutely will want to have a G-Shock or a more robust piece that can accompany you when performing more strenuous activities. The reality, however, is that most people are gravitating towards steel sports watches, and most feel comfortable wearing these watches in formal situations as well. So, again, need-versus-want. I want watches that fit different occasions, therefore I have pieces with express purposes. This also helps me spread the love and make sure nothing sits in the watch box too long.
We’re in the endgame now…
I saved this one for last for a reason.
View this post on Instagram
I want to digest this acquisition a little bit more before I put together my full story on the matter, but, for now, I recently acquired what I have dubbed my “exit watch”. Whenever I have been asked what my grail watch is, in interviews, articles for our site, or on camera for our YouTube channel, I have always answered either a 34mm Philippe Dufour Simplicity or a Credor Eichi II. Mind-blowingly, an Eichi II came up for auction and I somehow managed to win. Now I find myself in this moment of celebration, elation, and ultimate satisfaction. But, I also find myself wondering what this means for my watch collecting journey. This is the watch I have always described as the piece that ruins all other watches for me, and I now have it. As many of you have commented on the reel above, it does seem unlikely, especially in the wake of my Trading Faces pattern, that this is the end of the road for me. By nature, watch collectors do enjoy the hunt often above all else. And, you never know what novelties and innovations are around the corner.
I’ll save my rambling for the story coming soon, but what I will say for now is that I do believe “exit watches” exist. I am adamant that I do not want a larger watch collection, and I do not see myself wanting to reach beyond the station of an Eichi II – which I obviously hold in very high regard. Is it possible that I may offload some watches in exchange for another down the line? Likely. But, whereas my one-in-one-out transactions have not necessarily been an even transaction, in that I have parted with a combination of watches and cash to get the next watch, my goal is to not spend any more money moving forward. Should I want to bring in a Tudor Black Bay 54, for example, selling watches I own to bring in equal or more money than the retail price is what I would hope to do, rather than move a piece out that covers half and split the difference. What remains to be seen is if I live up to this.