Beginner Watch Collecting Mistakes To Avoid

Wristwatch wisdom.

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Words: Liam Chapman

I’ve been collecting and appreciating watches for years, and during this time I’ve made my fair share of mistakes. Even today, I still find myself falling into certain traps. Because of this, I have come up with this list to share what I’ve learned from experience so that you’re well-prepared for your own watch-collecting journey.

Impulse Buying

We’re all guilty of it and it’s time we stop pulling the trigger too quickly. Now, I understand, it’s completely normal to get caught up in the beauty of a new watch. But, it’s important to tread carefully, as you may wake up one morning and find all of your desire and excitement for it has diminished. Remember that it will always be more rewardingand wiseto take your time and carefully consider your options before jumping the gun.

Take your time to reflect on your purchase. Consider how the watch will fit into your collection, its long-term value, and whether it aligns with your overall collecting goals. Patience is key to building a more coherent and meaningful collection all around.

Seller's Remorse

Except for some rare collectors who don’t flip or sell any of their watches, this is a very real dilemma. I know plenty of collectors who have sold their once-beloved timepieces only to find themselves at the mercy of seller’s remorse. There are several reasons for this, it could be from seeing the watch you’ve sold on social media, or perhaps on a friend’s wrist, and before you know it you’ve just purchased the same watch you just sold!

Before deciding to sell, try this.

Lock the watch away for a month or maybe even two, then get it out again and see how you feel. This way, you’ll experience what it’s like without the watch in your life and you may be surprised to find yourself missing it. Regardless of the situation or timepiece, it’s always important to be one hundred percent certain of your decision to sell, otherwise, it can be a costly mistake.

Focusing Solely on brand names

While renowned brands often have a good reputation when it comes to quality and craftsmanship, you don’t want to fall into the trap of only focusing on brand names when making a decision.

Keep an open mind and consider exploring some lesser-known brands—some of which offer tremendous value and unique designs. Remember, the joy of being a watch collector often lies in discovering hidden gems and finding pieces that resonate with you. Some brands I think deserve more recognition are Nivada Grenchen, anOrdain, and TW Steel.

Neglecting Your Taste

Follow your passion and embrace your taste. Of course, it’s perfectly normal for your tastes to evolve, but don’t let trends or even other collectors dictate your choices. Collect watches that speak to you.

Knowing the difference between what you like and what works for you is extremely important. You may adore a certain genre and want to buy one, but you must ask yourself if you would wear the watch. For example, you may love the blingy watch on the wrist of your favourite rapper, but would you want that watch on yours? Most commonly this stems from seeing watches look great on social media or even on someone else’s wrist. It gives us this false perception and in reality, the watch may not work for you.

Your collection should reflect your personality and bring you joy every time you look at your wrist.

Overlooking Maintenance & Servicing

Watches are incredibly intricate mechanical devices that require regular maintenance and servicing to ensure accurate timekeeping and longevity. Avoid the mistake of neglecting these essential aspects. Set aside a budget for servicing and factor it into your decision-making process.

It’s crucial to purchase your watches from reputable brands that offer these services, otherwise, you will be investing in something that won’t last. Regular servicing is critical.

Price-To-Enjoyment Ratio

Understanding this ratio can help collectors make more informed decisions and reduce the likelihood of regret.

Typically the more you spend on a watch the more you’ll get quality-wise, whether it be through craftsmanship, precious metals, brand prestige, and so on. However, the one thing that price does not dictate is your enjoyment, a watch that costs ten times more than another is not necessarily better. People often fall into the trap of fixating on status which is not what watch collecting is about. Real enthusiasts will appreciate the art, design, history, and feelings they invoke. While value retention is important, it should not dictate your decision.

Fulfillment should always be number one. However, if you’re buying watches for investment purposes, that is something completely different.

Final Thoughts

Watch collecting should never be stressful or bring you anxiety, if it is you are simply doing something wrong. Instead, it should be about fulfillment and adding to your life. Watches serve as a much-needed reminder that time is the most precious commodity of all, and you cannot buy more of it—so enjoy every moment you have and spend it doing (and collecting) the things you love.

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