The Collector’s Crossroads: The dizzying effect of Watches and Wonders 2022

The Collector’s Crossroads: The dizzying effect of Watches and Wonders 2022

Ricardo Sime

American graphic designer Chip Kidd once said, “You can be crippled by too many choices, especially if you don’t know what your goals are.” The truth behind this quote didn’t quite hit me until Watches and Wonders 2022. And it starts the moment you walk into the Palexpo, its vast halls devouring sound like a million dollar pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Touted as the “largest watchmaking summit in the world”, the sheer scale of the event was overwhelming.

Visitors during the Watches and Wonders GENEVA (FONDATION DE LA HAUTE HORLOGERIE/KEYSTONE/Cyril Zingaro)

As a journalist, covering hundreds of new watches is a daunting task, even with a great team behind you. However, the scarier thought comes when you flip the switch to that part of your brain that’s horologically single and ready to mingle. In that moment you realise just how crazy such an event can be from the perspective of a collector.

An even worse position is if you’re someone who just got into watches, whether it be through COVID quarantines or YouTube’s algorithm leading you down the rabbit hole. For someone like that, Watches and Wonders probably left you overloaded and confused. Given the vast amount of choices and lacking the time one needs to refine your tastes, you can easily be lead to a path full of expensive decisions and a ton of regret. For example, not knowing where you stand with in-house vs outsourced movements or stainless steel vs titanium, let alone which watch measurements you find comfortable. Yes, we can communicate a ton of information to you, but without an understanding of what it is you like, the glitz of all these new pieces can be quite tempting.

Grand Seiko SBGC251

As someone who has been doing this for a couple years, I’ve come up with a way on how to approach fairs. With multiple watches being released, it’s best to come in with a clear idea of what it is you want. For Watches and Wonders 2022, my heart was set on a thin chronograph. It’s the one thing I’ve been wanting to add to the collection for quite a while. Omega presented a great option prior to the fair but I was open to expanding my list.

The Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Skeleton Chronograph – Thin but more grail worthy

So every time I walked into a meeting, I had two goals in mind. First, capture the watches in the best way possible for those interested, focusing on the details that mattered. Second, window-shopping. The second goal would only take a minute, leaving the bulk of the remaining time to goal one.

(FONDATION DE LA HAUTE HORLOGERIE/KEYSTONE/Cyril Zingaro)

Since the fair is behind us, I suggest those new to watches think about what you want in a watch. Once in mind, review the coverage and create a list of the watches that fit those requirements at a budget you feel comfortable with. From there, try your best to get some hands-on time with each piece before you commit. I know that can be difficult so, if push comes to shove, try to find video of each piece on the wrist. And yeah, there is always a chance that the watch may disappoint down the line. Yet at least with this process, you improve the odds that it doesn’t.