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We asked you “what’s the worst advice you’ve heard about watch-collecting?” These were your responses We asked you “what’s the worst advice you’ve heard about watch-collecting?” These were your responses

We asked you “what’s the worst advice you’ve heard about watch-collecting?” These were your responses

Zach Blass

As a regular part of our Instagram profile’s diet, we often pose questions to you, our Time+Tide Tribe, and fortunately, you all show up in the comments with great insight and answers. We then share your answers on the site, with each author reacting and responding to your common points of feedback. So, when you see posts like this on our Instagram, you will definitely want to check the site in the days after to see the results. In less than a day after posing the question “What’s the worst advice you’ve heard about watch-collecting?”, at the time of writing, our post has amassed nearly 300 comments – which we love to see, so a big thank you to you all, as always, for sharing your thoughts. Below are five common themes you shared in your answers.

 

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“Investment pieces”

Rolex Daytona 2023

During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, rocketing and bubbling secondary market prices resulted in many publications and individuals decreeing watches as great investments. This is only true for a narrow group of watches, and an even more narrow group of individuals who are capable of scoring these prized models at retail. Supply and demand, as with any other industrial arena, dictate how much of a premium a watch can command. More often than not, watches are in ample supply far greater than their demand and therefore lose value the second you wear it.

One comment, courtesy of known collector R.J. Kama, said, “A grey dealer here [in Canada], at the peak of the market, was selling a platinum Daytona for ~$210,000 (CAD), and in his advertisement, he actually called it an investment piece!! I guess he was correct, a terrible investment is still an investment.”

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Rolex is one of the few brands that is a safe bet, predominantly never falling below its retail value in secondary sales. But the key phrase here is “retail.” With many having to turn to the secondary market for such pieces, paying “peak pricing” means the so-called investment watch can only fall in stature.

Can watches be investments? Yes. Safe investments? A murky and very infrequent maybe, and only for a small select group of references that, if modern, you can actually purchase at retail. A very tall task indeed. Best to stick to more conventional and tried-and-true mediums of investing.

“Women shouldn’t wear big watches”, “36mm and smaller is for women, 36mm and larger are for men”

Cartier Tank Louis Cartier Europe Exclusive

I do not just say this with my smaller 6.5-inch-wristed bias, but I am so glad to see people call this out as horrible guidance and advice. Your wallet, your wrist has always been my philosophy. I get a bit anxious when people I have just met ask me what they should buy, as it is easier to do so when you know a person, their lifestyle, and watch-aesthetic and watch-dimension preferences. Therefore these sort of blanket statements, more often than not, are rarely worthwhile to heed.

If you are the sort of person who firmly believes in your machismo that men should only wear watches 36mm and above, or as some of you called out 40mm and above, that is an individual preference that should not be imposed on others. And it is equally ridiculous to dictate which diameters are appropriate for women as well.

Image: Nina Rindt at Silverstone, 1969 © Leonard Burt/Getty Images

I once assembled a list with plenty of examples of women wearing so-called ‘men’s watches’ and looking darn good while doing it. Whether it’s Heidi Klum sporting a Panerai, or Charlize Theron rocking her Rolex Sea-Dweller, the watches look more than at home on their wrists. Nina Rindt looked so badass wearing a Universal Geneve chronograph that the reference has been nicknamed after her, along with other variants, like the ‘Evil Nina’ as well. The same goes for the original GMT-Master which has been dubbed ‘Pussy Galore’ after actor Honor Blackman portrayed the character in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger.

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I may be overstepping and do not want to speak on behalf of women in the watch community, but, historically, there has been this idea of ‘oversized’ or ‘boyfriend fit’ in women’s fashion where it is on-trend and stylish to wear things that are larger/looser than traditional conventions would expect women to wear.

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This is why I often joke about my envy of this concept, as a man, I am very conscious of wearing something that would, in my perspective, look ridiculously large on my smaller wrist – which is a bit “shame on me” in some respects. In turn, I have determined that the largest lug-to-lug I can get away with is 50mm, but ideally under 48mm. To get a classic fit, which is coming back into fashion post the Stallone-Panerai and Arnie-Offshore era, I find designs with lug-to-lug’s ranging from 42mm to 46mm the best for me.

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Many of you, when noting the horridness of such advice, cited the Rolex Explorer as the perfect counter-argument to the notion men must wear larger watches. With this, I wholeheartedly concur. Ultimately we live in a modern and more fluid world that has shifted away from gender convention to an emphasis on individuality. If you want to hold yourself to what may be antiquated standards you may do as you wish. And if you don’t and want to broaden beyond the rigidity of convention you should absolutely feel free.

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It is also incredibly ignorant to assume diameter is really the metric that defines fit. Lug-to-lug, as I have said before, is a far more relevant metric. There are lug-less 46mm watch designs that will ultimately wear smaller than most 40mm watches. Furthermore, depending on their case shape, designs like the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso and Cartier Tank Cintrée carry very compact diameters and long lug-to-lug lengths, giving these rectangular watches a rather imposing presence. The only question you should ask yourself, as you look at a watch in the mirror on your wrist, is “do I like how this watch fits?” If the answer is yes, that is the only opinion you need.

“Everybody needs a [insert watch-icon] in their collection”

SPEEDMASTER MOONWATCH PROFESSIONAL

As someone who exhibited expensive tastes at a younger age, my father always imparted the wisdom that there is a difference between a NEED and a WANT. And to be very clear, there is no such thing as a mechanical watch, or any watch for that matter, that you actually need. I know, GASP! But, in all seriousness, no matter how prolific a watch design is, you should never feel beholden to hunting an icon. That being said, icons are generally safer purchases as they have become icons (usually) for a good reason.

If you are a ‘reference points’ collector, driven to curate and acquire every reference of a model into your museum collection that is one thing. But, if you are buying to wear, then you better try your best to buy what you will enjoy. What you ultimately enjoy could very likely be an icon like a Speedmaster or Submariner. However, do not force an iconic watch into your collection just because it is one. Considering most watches lose their value, it could amount to a very costly moment of buyer’s remorse and disillusionment.

“Don’t buy quartz”

FP Journe Elegante Ginos Dream 3

I typically avoid quartz watches personally, but this has nothing to do with shame in owning or wearing quartz-driven watches. Technically Spring Drive has one foot in the quartz door, and I love Grand Seiko Spring Drive. What I hate is deadbeat seconds, whether quartz or mechanically driven. If someone gives you flack for sporting a quartz watch, it does not mean you should change your watch – rather, you should change who you hang out with. Quartz watchmaking is complicated and intricate in its own right – not all quartz movements are created equal.

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As @joshietzw noted, “quartz is trash” is horrible advice.

Yes, plenty of cheap and often perceived overpriced watches use quartz movements – the brand resting on the laurels of its name in the hopes one will be compliant with the gross margins it seeks. This, however, is not the fault of quartz technology. Shame on the manufacturers, not the movements. Other watches, whether from Grand Seiko, Citizen, or F.P. Journe, with elaborate and well-designed quartz movements, are well within their right to be positioned at their respective prices.

Casio G Shock Mudman GW 9500 orange on wrist

Quartz movements are typically far more accurate than your average mechanical movement and they can also aid in realising less conventional or thinner designs as well. They certainly make for more robust watches too. Again, your wallet, your wrist. If it brings you joy, swipe your credit card and slap it on your wrist.

“You can scratch the itch with a less expensive alternative”

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The above is good or bad advice depending on what type of collector you are. So, I can only speak from my own experience. Settling for a homage has never satiated my desire to hunt down or aspire for a certain watch. I also do not get any gratification out of owning a compromise. That being said, I do see value in exploring pound-for-pound alternatives that whether less than, equal to, or even greater in cost, will deliver what I am looking for. I once lusted after a candy-pink Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36, and that thirst was completely quenched when I pivoted my sights toward the Grand Seiko SBGA413. That was not a compromise for me: that was an upgrade in my book.

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Realistically we all have a budget ceiling, and if, financially speaking, you know a particular watch is something you never will feel comfortable acquiring, then finding a way to ‘scratch the itch’ with a less expensive alternative is totally respectable and potentially rewarding as well. If you envision a possible path to save and wait for the day to get the watch you actually want, however, then I recommend finding the patience and discipline to do so. And you will be happier for it.

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There are many watches I have bought because I could buy them now, FOMO tricking me into thinking they were watches I would enjoy forever. What I ultimately am left with is a group of watches I rarely or never wear that, if I tally their cost, would equal the cost of a Tudor Black Bay 54 that would actually find itself in my watch-wear roster. Alternatives, even if vastly lower in price, can creep up in cost if you find yourself settling too often. An alternative, in my opinion, should only be purchased if it can truly provide you with equal joy and wear experience. Or, as I conveyed above, if it has the potential to be even better in your book than what you were originally searching for.