The Ins and Outs of Watch Collecting

The Ins and Outs of Watch Collecting


Expert Tips for Aspiring Watch Collectors

Pursuing an activity that brings you joy can be the one of the most rewarding activities in your life.  If you are enthusiastic about a particular thing, then you may have discovered your passion, and it doesn’t matter if this “thing” is particularly beneficial to you or to anyone else, it just happens to be something you have a profound passion for.

According to, “A passion is a value that holds significant meaning to you or an activity that you enjoy doing. When you practice your passions, you might feel content and relaxed.  As a professional, pursuing your passions as a career can bring you greater fulfillment in the contributions you make in the workplace.  You might also prefer to exercise your hobbies outside of the work environment, where being passionate can help you develop and maintain a healthy work-life balance.”

So a passion can be a professional career or a personal hobby.  But whatever it is, it can help not only maintain a healthy work-life balance (as points out) but for many people being passionate about something whether at or outside of work is a real and substantial way of regulating stress and keeping your sanity.  

Collecting is a form of passion and a fun and rewarding way of regulating stress.  People collect anything, some collect snow globes; others collect Starbucks mugs, while there are others that collect toys (that’s another extremely deep rabbit hole that we can get into at another time).  Yes, collectibles take every single shape or form whether they are stamps, classic records (vinyl), movie DVDs, and watches.  Yes, watches.  There may be some of you asking right now how can one collect watches?  Especially knowing how crazy expensive watches can get.

Well, we’re here to tell you that watch collecting can indeed be a fun and rewarding hobby, and it needn’t be very expensive.  Of course there will always be a certain cost attached to any type of collectible and watches are no different.  But nobody said you had to collect every new Patek Philippe that comes out, or every new Rolex for that matter.  No, watches come in every shape and form, and what most people fail to realize is that the bulk of them reside in the price category that most “regular” humans live in.

So it’s all a matter of choice.  And while it’s true that timekeeping can be traced back hundreds of thousands of years, with the first mechanical timepiece traced all the way back to the 13th century, the real problem is the number of choices and options available to the watch consumer today.  The bottom line is watch collecting can be quite overwhelming and if you don’t know what you are doing it can become very expensive.  

So our advice is to start small.  If you’re a newbie to this whole collecting business, it’s very easy to become discouraged by some of the prices of many high-end watch brands.  But like we said, watches come in all shapes and sizes, which (fortunately) go for their prices too.  There is no need to go for the big guns right out of the gate.  There is an entire selection of modestly priced (read: affordable) but top-notch watch brands out there.  So get your feet wet and start your collection with a few key pieces that you can wear regularly and don’t go and jump in the deep end at once.  In fact, you can choose to not graduate to the pricier categories at all.  Which leads us to the next step…

Do your due diligence.  Do your research on the different watch brands.  Believe us when we say there are a ton of watch brands out there, and most of them don’t regularly advertise on Facebook or Instagram.  There are many watch brands that you may never have heard of (outside of the usual suspects) but have a surprising level of legitimate pedigree, meaning they’ve been around for some time and they’ve created some pretty significant timepieces.  Most importantly, many of them will not burn a hole in your pocket.

So do your research.  Seek out different watch brands and learn about the different models they offer.  Visit authorized dealers, and if you can go out of your way to visit watch shows.  This is a great way to become enlightened about the myriad of different brands, and experience the kinds of watches they have to offer first hand.  Not only will you get a feel for the styles and sizes that work for you, but you can also ask questions and learn more about the features and functions of the watches.  

Also, read reviews and watch videos from watch experts to get a better understanding of what to look for.  You’ll be surprised to learn that some of the most storied watch brands are quite affordable and will not break the bank.  You might be even more surprised to learn that these watch brands are “more than enough,” with many seasoned collectors never graduating to the more stratospherically priced brands.

Once you have a better understanding of the types of watches available you’re ready for the next step: determining your style of preference.  As we’ve said, watches come in many styles and sizes, but they also come in many functions.  Many watches come in the simplest forms, which are time only watches.  But there are also watches with a date (simple calendars), watches with small seconds, watches with small seconds and a date.  After this things get more complicated (and also more expensive).

There are stopwatches more popularly known as chronographs, which also come in the split-seconds variety (rattrapante) that more than doubles in price.  The simple calendars are also upgraded to watches with both day and date, as well as the truly complicated variants such as the annual calendar, which as its name implies, can determine the date for an entire year without having to adjust the date at the end of every month.  But the top shelf form of calendar watch variant is the perpetual calendar, which if always energized, can determine the day and date for, well…. for years without manual intervention, and this includes the leap year.

So the question comes down to: what kind of watch appeals most to you?  Do you want something classic and elegant or modern and sporty?  Your personal style and preferences should guide your choices.  Think about the types of watches you're interested in, such as sport watches, dress watches, or even vintage watches.   That’s right, “pre-loved” watches that carry an amazing amount of cache.  This is a collector’s category all in itself.

Consider, as well, the materials, colors, and designs that appeal to you.  And never forget the maintenance and care aspect of the equation.  Like any machine, mechanical watches require regular maintenance and care to keep them in good condition.  Consider the cost of servicing and repairing your watches, and make sure you have a plan for storing and protecting them.  It is, after all, important to take care of your watches to ensure they last a long time because otherwise what’s the point?

But the most important tip that we have to offer is: build your collection over time.  Collecting watches SHOULD be a long-term hobby, so you should never feel like you need to buy everything all at once.  Tastes and preferences change over time and that “must have” purchase you made today may be something you’ll want to turn around and sell tomorrow.  Take your time.  There’s literally no rush and add to your collection as you discover new watches and brands that interest you.

Remember: building a watch collection is a personal journey.  There's no right or wrong way of doing it.  So, if you’re already curious about it then that means you already have, at the very least, a passing interest in it.  Watch collecting can be a fun and rewarding hobby, but it can also be very serious.   So start with what you love and don’t forget to have fun!