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Why a smaller watch collection can make you happier

As previously noted by Lex Stolk of, “We all make choices every day.”  This includes, what clothes to wear, what TV program to watch, what music to listen to, what movie to watch, and even what food to eat.  The more fortunate of us would probably also ask, what car to drive and what watch to wear.  

And there lies the rub.  Not all of us are presented with the same choices.  And only a select few of us are presented with choices that the vast majority cannot even consider.  Take watch collecting, for example.  It’s a hobby that is the bastion of the select few.  Or is it, really?  What if we told you that it most definitely not, or at least, it doesn’t have to be.

Once again, we refer to Lex Stolk of  According to him this is called, “the agony of choice.”  It’s when a collector has to choose between the new Rolex “Le Mans” Daytona, or the new Rolex Yacht Master 42.  Indeed, it’s a choice only a privileged few will ever have to make, and a choice that will never even be considered by the majority of people who have to decide which mode of public transport will be best to quickly get them home.

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Stolk cites the Greek philosopher Aristotle, who stated that, “Virtue of character is a disposition involving choice.”  We believe this means you are the result of the choices you make.  Aristotle further said that, “Choice is a desiderative thought or thoughtful desire.”  It immediately becomes obvious that the act of choosing is a precarious balancing act between thought and desire.  Especially when money is involved.  And when it comes to watch collecting, money is ALWAYS involved.  

With every watch one chooses to purchase, comes the balance between certainty and risk.  For some people, the struggle becomes trying to find the right compromise between the heart and mind.  And for most collectors who are not bankers or hedge-fund managers (such as our modest selves) that struggle is very real.

Then there’s the struggle between short-term gratification and long-term benefits (which, not coincidentally also applies to food).  Is it really worth spending all that much for that ridiculously in-demand watch that you never really liked anyway?  Is it worth being popular just to placate a few truthfully inconsequential people?

Further, is it worth committing blasphemy among the brand faithful?  Is it worth being the odd-man out by choosing what you want over choosing what is the better investment?  Is it better to choose what is popular (read: “Pepsi or “Batman”) or what is more in demand (read: Patek Philippe Tiffany Blue Nautilus)?  Or is it better to be true to yourself and get the watch you always wanted even if it’s just a Swatch, or a Seiko 5?  For all our posturing, we tend to fall towards the latter, and we advise as such.

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It’s called “freedom FROM choice.”  Why do you need to keep up with the Jones’s, anyway?  Yes, we all have grail watches, just as other people will have grail (please place your item of obsession here).  The second anyone starts collecting anything they will immediately start wanting for that ultimate item to add to their collection, in other words, that person’s grail item.  But assuming that person does get the item, what happens next?  Does that person keep collecting?  Does he keep purchasing lesser but still unbelievably priced items?  When it comes to horological pursuits, does that mean you turn your sights on Hublot after you finally get that Patek Philippe Grand Complication?  Vacheron Constantin or Audemars Piguet?  Submariner or GMT-Master II?  The choices are literally endless.

This is why we are here to remind you that there is no longer anything rational about buying a watch.  That kind of thinking may have applied three decades ago, but as Apple watch user will always remind us, we don’t actually need watches to tell time anymore.  We have our phones and devices to do that.  So, ultimately, purchasing a wristwatch becomes a choice of the heart and not the mind.  

Stolk further cites psychologist Tila Pronk, who talks about what happens when people have more choices to choose from.  Apparently, this ends in disappointment because, as Pronk pointed out, expectations rise when there are more choices.  And with great expectations come bitter disappointments because the more expectations increase, so will the level of satisfaction decrease.

This is why what all this boils down to is: what is it that YOU want?  Many “experts” will tell you to do this or to do that, but scientific studies show that people are only capable of dealing with a finite number of options.  Especially when it comes to options of the heart.  And like we said, the higher the number of options, the higher the level of expectation becomes.  And when those expectation levels rise to unrealistic heights, the very real disappointment level becomes higher as well.

“According to Buddhists, we exit in a field of infinite possibilities,” continued Stolk.  And just as he aptly pointed out, that observation applies to watch collecting.  And in this horological sea, it is highly improbable that a collector will settle for just a few, much less just one.  But believe us when we say, it is possible.  Simply choose the few, or the one that makes you the happiest.  

One, two, maybe even three grail watches will be more than enough.  Spend the rest of your hard-earned cash on other pursuits (man always has more than one obsession).  Who are you trying to impress anyway?  And, as they say, you are definitely not taking it with you.  If not for humility, then do it for your sanity.  Believe us, stay true to yourself by taking the infinite choices out of the equation.  Not only will it be better for your health but it will also keep your head and/or ego from exploding.

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