Men like to collect stuff. If you don’t mind us generalizing a bit: Women might buy shoes and bags, but this is still different from men who collect vintage toys, trains, cars, fountain pens, comic books, or watches. To forget about the daily lives at the office, sitting under perfect 5000K artificial lights and looking at spreadsheets all day (well, the good old ‘alt-tab’ does the job in quickly switching from your favourite watch websites to Excel) or attend boring meetings where you at least – discretely – can check the dial of your timepiece under all sorts of angles, men like to lose themselves in collecting stuff.
Of course, we are glad that most men are into collecting stuff. If it wasn’t watches – and we are glad you do, being Chrono24 – you would probably have found your way into Märklin trains, fountain pens, vintage radios, or what not. But let’s stick to collecting watches for the sake of this article.
Besides the fun of owning a number or wristwatches, either contemporary pieces or vintage ones, there is more to collecting watches than its ownership. It all starts with the hunt for a certain timepiece. Whether it is window-shopping at the big dealers in the city or hours of browsing websites like Chrono24 (remember to use alt-tab when appropriate), the hunt for a timepiece has a very large share in the process of collecting. Once you’ve set your mind to a specific brand and model, it is time to put all your energy into finding the perfect piece for the perfect price at the perfect seller. Yours truly once travelled from Amsterdam to New York just to pick-up a watch and returned the next day. Oh and to make it even worse, this was just after his wife gave labour to a beautiful daughter. You can imagine the discussions this type of addictive behaviour caused. But in the end, it got the watch I wanted, and I’ve also decided to hand it down to my daughter when the time is there.
Finding the right watch might take weeks, months, or even years, in some cases. The definition of the ‘right watch’ is the trick though; this might vary from person to person. If you are unwilling to make compromises regarding condition, price, or location, for example, it might take a while. Once you have found the right watch, it might take the heat out of your obsessive behaviour. For a while that is, because after every Holy Grail there seems to be a new one. The positive side, though, is that watch collecting is a never-ending story.
Where car-enthusiasts gather on a Sunday to show off their vehicles and discuss cubic inches, comic book collectors meet at Comic Con, and jazz record collectors visit smelly bars, watch collectors share their passion with other enthusiasts (without having to put silly clothes on) in bars, watch trade shows, or even at the manufacturers of watches. That’s right; watch brands are happy with watch collectors (of course) and gladly invite you over to Switzerland, Germany, Japan, and so on, to come and see their manufacture and to proudly show you how it’s done. If you are not able to travel and see these watch manufactures and their museums for yourself, there are plenty of watch collectors who already did so and put extensive photo reports online for you to enjoy.
If you are lucky, your watch collection can turn into a nice little investment or pension fund. If you are lucky that is. No one can predict the future of watch collections with 100% certainty of course, but my bet is that a smartly built collection of watches will at least do better than the current interest rates of your savings account.
However, one of the best aspects of watch collecting didn’t get a single mention in this article till now. Meeting like-minded watch collectors in the last 16 years resulted in some very valuable friendships. I am not talking about the friendships where you are able to unload a watch on your ‘best friends’ for the highest price, but true friendships that go beyond watch collecting. I have yet to meet a woman that became friends with another lady because of the nice Louboutins she was wearing. There was probably only envy and jealousy.
Of course, some statements in this article regarding women should be taken with a grain of salt, or two.
I enjoyed the article and agree with a number your comments regarding the attraction of collecting vintage watches. However, I think you left out one of the most enjoyable aspects of this hobby. I really enjoy wearing every watch I have. Not that I have anything rare or highly valued, I just enjoy the classic 50’s and 60’s style.
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