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On Ariel’s Watch: Is Being A Watch Collector Still Fun?

On Ariel's Watch: Is Being A Watch Collector Still Fun? Featured Articles

It has been nearly 20 years that I have considered myself a watch collector. Before that, I was just a kid who never left the house without a timepiece. Toward the beginning of the 21st century, I stumbled upon an attractive relic from the 20th century — the fine mechanical wristwatch. Since the moment I discovered the fascination of wearable timepieces, my interest in collecting them began. In fewer than seven years after becoming a watch collector, I began to engage with the greater collector community. I now ask myself the question (from the vantage point of a seasoned enthusiast): Is watch collecting still fun today? What would my experience be like — as a consumer and a watch geek — if I were only now starting to get into watches in 2019?

One of the most notable differences between watch collecting back in the late 1990s/early 2000s and now is the demographic of the people who participated in anything related to timepieces online. Watch information available on the Internet at the time was much “cleaner,” albeit more limited in both scope and variety. Users mostly constituted watch sales professionals, experienced collectors, and the watchmakers themselves. Some of those in the collector category participated as forum moderators or other types of community leaders, such as bloggers. I was not the first watch blogger, but I was probably among the first four or five; a good number of us still produce watch content today. (The same cannot be said about many who came after us.)

On Ariel's Watch: Is Being A Watch Collector Still Fun? Featured Articles

Those in professional watch media roles (mainly folks with writing and journalism degrees) wrote for an audience of the watch trade and specialized consumers, including watch collectors. Outside of club-like Internet forums and some high-brow newspapers, little qualitative information was offered to the mainstream consumer about watches. Consumers’ biggest interface with watches was at retail stores and via print advertising. This was often an effective way of whetting a consumer’s appetite. And for those interested in doing research about high-ticket purchases, the Internet offered a healthy volume of quality advice that any sensible mainstream consumer could follow. What didn’t exist was a marketing machine designed to push luxury watches to consumers, unless they were expressly looking for that information.

Aside from a few too many spam e-mails inviting you to buy “authentic replica watches,” being a watch collector back then was provocative experience, and the goal was to learn about as many watches as possible, carefully considering those watches that, when worn, met your own particular sense of taste and comfort. It was widely known that some watches could be resold — and that doing so was a privilege rather than an automatic expectation.

On Ariel's Watch: Is Being A Watch Collector Still Fun? Featured Articles

When I speak to emerging watch collectors today, I’m often disappointed in how laser-focused on resale value some of them tend to be. I always wondered, “Why are people making such fuss about losing money on a purchase they are supposed to be able to afford in the first place?” Watches should be bought with disposable income. If you need to consider resale value for a watch, you probably can’t really afford the product in the first place.

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While it disappoints me that watch consumers place too much emphasis on a watch’s retail value, they do have a point. The watch industry has firmly trained the majority of repeat watch collectors that retail prices cannot be trusted. At the same time, the burgeoning independent watch community (which comes in many forms) has frequently barked the slogan that big-box luxury brands pad margins and that “luxury” can be afforded for less. Whether or not this is true, the traditional luxury watch players have never had anything close to a formal rebuttal to the refrain that they’re being dishonest with their customers. And at the same time, retail prices for once basic and conservative steel sport watches are routinely exceeding retail price on the gray market. Now, more than ever, we should be cognizant of pricing practices.

Understanding why one particular watch costs X and why a seemingly similar watch costs Y is a complex analysis. The bottom line is that price doesn’t always equal inherent quality, and in order to spend smartly, collectors need to get wise.

On Ariel's Watch: Is Being A Watch Collector Still Fun? Featured Articles

In that respect, watch collecting today is similar to watch collecting two decades ago. Watch enthusiasts have always needed to perform a careful measure of each timepiece they’re interested in and ask themselves the question, “Does it feel worth the price?” The difference is that, in 2019, there is a legion of would-be manipulators battling for your attention. Social media and low-quality published content can just as easily defraud and manipulate as it can to educate and inform. A growing number of consumers today have simply adopted an attitude of, “I can’t trust anything I see online.”

Blatant attempts to win consumer dollars are nothing new in the luxury watch industry. For hundreds of years, selling a wristwatch has been as much about selling a dream as it is about outfitting a user with a useful instrument. The myths we create about what we can perform while wearing these possibility-rich tools is what creates the desire to wear and acquire these little wind-up toys. My point is that, as consumers, we still need to take the time to unpack those myths, one by one, as we research and select new watches. This process, no matter how ridiculous, cannot be fast-tracked.

The implication of this point, from a marketing perspective, is profound. The idea is that for people to make emotionally strong watch purchases (meaning they really want it and will wear it), they need to first develop a relationship with the watch. Once the relationship is formed (and provided the consumer can afford it), a purchase tends to occur. That said, it can take years for a consumer to develop a relationship with a watch. In the world of marketing-speak, consumers need multiple touchpoints with a watch in order for that relationship to develop. Touchpoints are experiences with a watch that might include seeing an advertisement, seeing one on a person’s wrist or in a store, or reading an editorial article.

On Ariel's Watch: Is Being A Watch Collector Still Fun? Featured Articles

Watch consumers have limited budgets but also limited capacities to develop relationships with watches. Because the industry didn’t understand or consider this, it has been flooding the market with more and more luxury watches since around the year 2000. Consumers could not be developed fast enough to keep up with production. In some ways, it has become un-fun to be a watch collector in recent years because the sheer number of interesting watches made available to purchase far exceeds the resources of most collectors. No high-end hobby, not even horses or yachting, can survive if brands are selling exclusively to the ultra-high-end. Given the state of the global economy and slumping middle-class buying power, why was the watch industry suddenly expecting 1% earners to spend in volumes like a middle-class population? It is never going to happen.

Many fellow watch collectors I know are familiar with the fatigue of learning about at least one new “buyable” watch per week. Interestingly enough, the fatigue isn’t related to the volume of new watches but rather the deficiency of watches with really strong value propositions. Many of the new watches are those consumers need to consider over time — and save up for. How would you feel if, while you were saving up for watch A, watch B was released, compelling you to choose between one or the other? Consumers are so afraid that they will be asked to spend “once in a while” money on a watch that could be outdone by a potentially more interesting option the very next week. It isn’t fun when watch collectors find themselves experiencing choice paralysis when their goal is simply to buy a new watch to enjoy.

Even though there are more offers than ever to buy watches online, consumers are rarely incentivized to spend when it comes to adding a new watch to their collection. The appearance of infinite choice (aside from select models, of course) appears to be the status quo with luxury watches. So, the act of buying a watch today can actually be an inferior and more stressful than in years past.

On Ariel's Watch: Is Being A Watch Collector Still Fun? Featured Articles

I can’t imagine what it is like for brand new watch collectors who are experiencing watch sales, media, and social community culture online. Finding expert voices can be a challenge because everyone is starting to call themselves an “expert.” (I didn’t refer to myself an “expert” until other people identified me as such.) While there are some great ways to buy watches online or at brick-and-mortars these days, I really don’t think that actually purchasing a watch is among the more enjoyable parts of this hobby in 2019.

On the plus side, there has never been a more democratic time to become a watch collector. If you can eschew the big-name luxury watch brands, the microcosm of enthusiast-driven “microbrands” (a term I dislike) offers an incredible assortment of entry-level-priced collectible watches that are often marketed directly to consumers (not through stores). It is a great time to start getting into watches if only because of the many incredible products you can begin with for under a few hundred dollars. It isn’t that such watches didn’t exist 20 years ago, but it was almost an accident if they ended up being collectible — because they weren’t designed with collectors in mind.

Despite much online content being untrustworthy, the Internet offers a rich community of media personalities and fellow collectors to learn from. Instagram and YouTube has rapidly sped up the pace with which consumers can get opinions and recommendations. Many of those opinions and recommendations are designed entirely to make money, and some are well-meaning but merely ignorant. Trusting the words of a stranger online about watches or any other allotment of money is silly. Is it ironic for me to say that? No, because I don’t ask anyone to trust my words, I ask them to be patient and learn what I learn so that they can return to me at a later date and confirm that they came to the same conclusion I did. I’m merely guilty of being convinced I am correct, never of giving my readers commands.

On Ariel's Watch: Is Being A Watch Collector Still Fun? Featured Articles

It has taken me much of my career as a collector to learn good taste when it comes to watches. Of course, I have my experimental tastes (everyone does), but at the end of the day, I can easily identify which watches are worth attention. I’ve never tried to rush it because I wanted my conclusions to be authentic. Today, I see would-be collectors coming in and trying to rush the experience of developing good taste. Their aim is to let someone do the selection for them and just buy a watch that will impress others. Hey, posers can learn, too, you know. Perhaps, in the future, I will dedicate an entire op-ed to how the luxury industry loves marketing to the insecure rich (their favorite prey!).

No discussion about the pleasure of collecting watches today would be complete without mentioning our faux friends, the watch scalpers and speculators. These folks aren’t buying watches to wear and enjoy; when they do wear their “stock,” they merely don a particularly expensive watch and appear to care for little else but how much money appears to be on their wrist. In a global investment market deficient in enough traditional financial instruments to put money in, speculators (along with those who sell to them) have co-opted the luxury men’s watch into a tradeable treasure. In addition to (literally) making one man’s trash another man’s treasure, watch scalpers and speculators are like an invading species competing with endemic watch collectors for timepieces.

Sure, some watch speculators become watch collectors, and vice versa — so there is a passion for the art injected from both sides. More so, you will never entirely ward off the stench of rarity-creation and price inflation when it comes to peddling luxury goods to consumers with obvious extra cash to spend. It is a regretful side effect of the effort inherently required to make a good watch that so many of them must be astronomically priced. In many instances, it simply becomes a matter of, “How much should each of these 50 pieces be priced at if we just spent $10,000,000 on developing and producing them?” As weird as it might sound, this is a question watch brand managers have to answer on a daily basis. In any event, the fact remains that, unlike 20 years ago, the watch collector today must compete with the larger dollar of investors who masquerade as enthusiasts when their primary area of enthusiasm is to profit off other watch collectors. Personally, I don’t find their addition to this process as particularly fun.

On Ariel's Watch: Is Being A Watch Collector Still Fun? Featured Articles

One of the most fun things about being a watch collector today is the rich community you’ll connect with, both online and in person. I’ve met some of my best friends at in-person events aBlogtoWatch has hosted or other wristwatch industry soirees. There has never been more opportunity to interface with authentic watch collectors and ask questions, share experiences, or just plain geek out on the watches everyone is wearing. Real friends will give honest opinions, and the bonds formed with like-minded individuals is both healthy and fun.

I worry about how long it will take for the watch industry to recover from everything it’s going through right now. As frustrated as I get with the industry, I still find myself loving watches and getting excited about a lot of new products. I’m gonna tough it out for the time being. What about you? What do you want to talk about next?

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  • After about 10 years I think “watch fatigue” does set in. How about you Ariel? I know you stay involved for a number of reasons but do you find yourself getting numb some days?

    • Ariel Adams

      I still find myself excited about watches, excited about wearing new watches, and excited about getting people excited about watches. For me to continue feeling that way the industry needs to keeping adding more stories. If it was just regurgitating old stories and spinning them new ways (like some of the vintage watch lovers do), I’d have been bored a long time ago. Novelty is what I seek, and what keeps me interested.

  • Joe

    Very interesting article!

    I can relate to the need to form a relationship with a watch (or sometimes the brand).
    It often takes a meandering, stop-start thought process about a watch (and sometimes a brand) which can take weeks or months.
    On most occasions, some filter within the process “rules out” a particular watch for further consideration.

    What makes “collection” or simple ownership even harder recently is the larger number of “limited editions” that seem to rush this process.
    Some are instantaneous rule-outs while others make you feel like you are missing out on something big.
    The biggest “loss” for me recently was the Blancpain Hodinkee 38mm Bathyscaphe. Very nice watch but sold out before I even had a chance.
    What hurts even more is that they’re available for a big% increase on eBay and Chrono24.
    The standard Blancpain limited editions are equally bad in this respect. Of course YMMV but I’m generally on the lookout for ~40mm size watches of which many seem to be limited editions.

    I guess LEs can serve a real purpose too – to gauge market interest for a design, but in most cases it seems to be blatant profiteering.

    This leads me onto another question.
    I don’t know readership numbers but assuming ABTW has strong audience participation, what are the chances that you could get our inputs into watch design and collaborate with some manufacturers?

    • Ariel Adams

      I am starting to do more of that as a designer and creative lead behind the scenes. I have a few wrist watch projects going on right now and already the first two have been released which are still for sale:

      https://www.ablogtowatch.com/laco-rad-aux-limited-edition-watch/

      https://www.ablogtowatch.com/undone-aqua-blk-ylw-watch-with-ablogtowatch-debut/

      I personally have no interest in making watches speculators will gobble up because they fit into some “investing trend” and I equally have little interest to do merely dial color changes with most watches. I’ve had the opportunity for a long time to take a more creative role. I am going to do that more and more, but it will be with products that I feel are truly interesting and a good price proposition. I also won’t be selling them here and will not be playing games with “sold out” when there is zero proof of that actually being reality. I want to make good watches, not invent games to manipulate consumers.

  • DanW94

    Ariel, keep in mind, you’re just not a collector, you parleyed your love of watches into a livelihood (I presume). So, take people in any field, accountants, salesmen, contractors etc… they continue to do their jobs long after the “fun” has worn out. They do it because they have to pay the bills. My question is, if your watch gig becomes tedious and joyless would you return to your former profession? (I think I read you were a lawyer). Also you asked the question, “Is being a watch collector still fun” and proceeded to tell the story from the industry perspective and how it has changed over the last 20 years. The other side of that coin is how you’ve changed and what affect that has has on your love of watches. We know that interests wax and wane over time and one obsession replaces a former obsession.

    • Ariel Adams

      I really asked the question to the audience as gave my own answer. I wanted the community to ask themselves “in this day and age is watch collecting still fun. If not, what can be done about it?”

      • Sheez Gagoo

        Make beautifull, interesting and affordable watches again! And to my fellow Swiss: You’re no longer the rockstar, that can afford to spit into his audience and expect them to ask for more. You’re that old rockstar no one remembers anymore and spitting is no longer an act of rebellious coolnes, but an offense.

  • Berndt Norten

    Hey Ariel:

    You’ve changed
    That sparkle in your eyes is gone, somewhat
    Your smile is just a careless yawn
    In the face of Skeletor and Marius’ onslaught

    You’re breaking their hearts
    You’ve changed
    You’ve changed

    Your disses of e-pests are now are so blase
    Admit it, Ariel: You’re bored with that part of your job in every way

    I CAN understand
    You’ve changed

    But Ariel… don’t go changin
    To try to please them
    We love you just the way you are

    • Ariel Adams

      That’s cute.

  • PR

    Very interesting read and something I have been pondering about myself. Be it the inner circle of folks who seem to get in on any semi decent limited edition, or the completely frustrating Rolex experience to one too many reissues and revivals, the industry has gotten a tad boring.

    Then there are the frustrations of both the retail experience and online experience. The “deals” have dried out for the most part, buying a used watch now needs a “mark up” in many cases which is just ridiculous.

    So has the trade/ability to sell watches to be able to buy another. With the resurgence of Tudor, any sports watch that is not a black bay does not sell without a huge price cut or immense patience. The 1k price point is all but gone at this point with the only shining light being a few micro brands who thankfully are still designing watches and not just making faux lume reissues.

    My ADs hardly have time to chat or talk with me anymore, they are all too busy with internet and phone sales and keeping up with limited editions to special clients who they will sell to before you get to know about a watch.

    The upper mid market has gotten super boring, what came out in the 10k range that is completely new and impressive? Nothing. I don’t see the need to save up or consolidate up cos once you cross a certain barrier, you end up with the same problems again of limited availability and preferred clients.

    At this point I am leaning towards keeping a static collection for a while and re enter when things potentially change.

  • Colt Foutz

    Haven’t been into this anywhere near as long as many members of this community, but so many aspects of watch collecting appealed to me right from the beginning: aesthetics, design, functionality, the need to research and learn and understand a brand’s history and the unique story of individual timepieces, as well as the personal ROI in daily satisfaction compared to the time and, ultimately, the dollar investment.

    Even after all those ticks around the dial, what still grabs me, fortunately, are the initial impulses to hold and wind and wear a particular watch, and have that translate into joy of ownership, no matter what the community or watch media say on that particular piece. For example, I value my Tudor Bronze, a watch that just grabbed me from the moment I first stumbled upon it (way after the initial release news cycle), before I ever read volumes on it and made a trek to an AD to try it on in person and ultimately decided to purchase it, just as much or nearly as much as the very different Undone Aqua I designed, or the Timex Weekender chrono I picked up on Amazon for soccer matches and weekend hikes, etc. They fulfill different purposes, are tools for different occasions, but the initial joy and magnetism of them still works for me, is is very personal. You won’t feel the same way about these pieces, and that’s fine. And the ones I haven’t yet been able to pull the trigger on, like the Tudor GMT, are less about what the community and watch media are telling me about its value proposition (buy it!), and more about what my own “joy index” and personal budget, etc. are saying (hold off, invest in some other family/personal items; check out the Joseph Bulova collection when it’s released sometime this season). That’s a very personal reading of the trends buffeting the watch world, but it’s my only true navigation.

    You wrote a lot about the industry and how it impacts us, Ariel. What personal stories can you share about what still GRABS you as a veteran watch enthusiast? What still makes your arm hairs stand up? How do you cycle in and out, re-engage, and still find personal value in the hobby?

    • FS1900

      ^Fabulous comment.

  • Baby Gorgo

    I can’t be called a watch collector. Typically I can’t afford to. However I collected my first watch last month. It was the “That’s All Brother” Limited edition D-Day C-47 by TOCKR. As soon as I saw it on ABTW I knew I wanted it. When I saw the price I decided would forgo buying something else to get this watch. I am very happy with it. I would have never known about it without ABTW. Thank you Ariel.

  • Independent_George

    This is a pretty good summation for the modern collecting experience for many people, especially for those who started over the past few years.

  • PR

    Super post, when you read through luxury hand bag forums, most threads feel like shared passion and give lots of useful practical advice and feedback. There is hardly any oh you bought a speedy, it’s so generic….(of course there are exceptions but it’s not as common)

    Over on watch forums or even comments sections, it’s all about brand bashing or value bashing based on perceived value. The entire personal experience of appreciating design, aesthetics and quality from an individual standpoint and sharing practical experiences with regards to fit, wearability, style, comfort all of which would enhance the experience is lost. Any thread barely resembling a productive discussion has gotten diluted to hot brands, reissues and limited editions.

  • Independent_George

    I agree, but I can’t discount resale value. Because of issues in the used market, some of which were address by Jared, resale value is a thing to deal with if you want to experiment and evolve.

    • Joe

      I don’t enjoy reselling as it can be a PITA when things go wrong, so I try to buy watches that I think I’ll keep as well as have reasonable resale value in case I happen to change my mind.

  • ray h.

    One thing the manufactures show they are short sighted in is LE’s ,the ultraman is a great example, that could have been, should have been, a regular model. Anyone with eyes knew that was a neat design,but what did they do ? Made a hand full , took the couple of million and lost 10s of millions in new sales. Who ever green lighted that idea should be asking ” do you want fries with that ? “. This how it goes with these idiots, and we follow the idiots around because we have little choice.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    I have a Turtle and a Bambino. I don’t need more watches.

    • Gokart Mozart

      You can never have too many watches. At least about 50, and a lot of watch winders

  • Ariel Adams

    This is a very good point and it worries me as well. This is why I mostly feel that media about “look what this other collector bought” should be avoided. I want buying and collecting watches (in regard to which people choose) to be a very personal, almost introverted experience if that makes sense.

  • Gokart Mozart

    Is being a watch collector fun? No.

    Why? Because I dont have enough money.

    Would being a watch collector be fun if I was rich? Absolutely yes.

    Why? Because I would buy the watches I like. Not because someone told me this is a good watch, not because of an advert in magzine, or not because a brand is successful or hip. Not because it does or does not have a manufacture movement.

    However many of the watches in the queue to be bought would be vintage, or between 10 and 30 years old. The watches that made me love horology. Many new watches would be from small or I dependent brands.

    Nowadays many watch brands (especially the big brands} are all about the trend, and the marketing, style over substance.

    I don’t care what people say about my watch, so long as I an happy.

    • Spot on – resonates with me completely.

    • Eran Reuveni

      On the other hand: if you were rich and could just buy everything you wanted, that would take away the challenge of narrowing down your impulses to smart long-term acquisitions, and of finding that watch that meets your expectations as well as your budget. And sure enough, there will always be more watches beyond your reach, anyway.

      Budget forces you to focus and to make smarter decisions, and that by the way is true not just in watch buying… I’ve seen wealthy people ruin their lives with silly decisions, as well as businesses smug with success (or with raising too much capital) over-spending on non-necessities like there’s no tomorrow, and then tomorrow came.

      That said, can’t ignore it’s good to have money 🙂

  • I love that your are on a first name basis with Mr Smith (and I agree, anything from hims would be the top of a collection).

  • NaJo

    Excellent article and topic Ariel.
    When i was a kid my dad was mad after a rado and could never afford one! When i grew up; iwas naturally into watches and the first watch i bought was a rado two tone ceramic centrix. As per the so called watch collectors its a crap quartz overpriced watch for a young guy in early 30s but to me its my most prized watch compared to my rolesor or Moonwatch! Watch collection is never about buying watches well respected in the community or forums nor about pieces appreciated by others, its all about your personal attachment or relation to a perticular timepiece be it $100 or $10,000. Cut it short, watch collection will always be fun if you stay away from “what others think”. Or the “$ market value”. For example my ad had a hulk onhand but i chose a datejust since i love classic and not sports and dont wanna buy just thinking that the hulk will get me more returns or more recognised. Ehats the point if i dont enjoy that!

  • PowNation

    My 30-year-old GMT Master, passed down from family, has not needed service yet. Now, I don’t wear it every day but there is a difference in quality between manufacturers. A buddy had to send in his Tag for another service two years past first service.

    For fun I took a modern edition Rolex to a service center. Of course Rolex recommended a complete service of movement to the tune of $750 (10% of watch MSRP, or 20% of what I paid 2nd hand). Now imagine if we had to endure similar level of car service pricing. Take a $30K car…equivalent major service bill would run $3K! Something is off…and the auto has thousands of parts!

  • egznyc

    Yes, it’s fun! It’s also super frustrating and yet I don’t mean that as a complaint. It’s frustrating, because firstly, I don’t have all the disposable income (or wealth) I would like, which means I have to be selective (Gokart Mozart, I feel your pain, because your pain is my pain, too.). But it’s ALSO frustrating, because even if I had all the money in the world, I could not simply buy up every watch I ever looked at and thought, “that’s nice.” That’s hardly a collection; that’s simply hoarding. I don’t want to buy every watch I might like on some level, because I won’t appreciate them and value them, heck, ascribe meaning to them. Rather, this frustration is no small measure of satisfaction, as I must be selective, if I am truly to enjoy what I collect. I am not really afraid of making a “mistake” – everyone makes mistakes and that’s all fine and good. These are learning experiences. But I want to give a lot of thought to what I like and what I will most enjoy, because that sort of frustration is actually fun.

    I’ve only been collecting for nearly a decade, so not really for that long. My collection is modest – both in number and amounts spent – but I wholly expect to keep collecting into my old age. I fear that I might reach a point where I will feel I have more watches than I can reasonably expect to wear on a regular basis. I don’t know what I’ll do at that point. Perhaps I’ll create a small personal collecting “museum” to remind myself of my own personal collecting history and occasionally reminisce over how my tastes have changed. And I”ll mainly keep a small number in regular rotation. I won’t likely sell the ones I’m no longer as excited about wearing, as they won’t be the sort that would sell for enough to finance a new purchase anyway (I don’t ever want to buy a watch with the hope of making a profit, or not losing a large sum, upon resale; that is not what interests me in watches). On the other hand, if I have a piece that starts to mean less to me but that a close friend has shown genuine interest in, I would happily let my watch go to a new owner who would appreciate it more than I. And the idea of giving one as a gift of friendship that might also spark an interest in horology in my friend certainly appeals.

  • Lurch

    I postulate that the blogs and forums, including this one, have created this issue. It has added too much complexity and I long for the days when there weren’t blogs and forums.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Gawd sake!…..Too!

  • Mark

    I really enjoyed this article and the comments so far. To answer Ariel’s question, Yes, I do still enjoy collecting. There are things in your article that sadden me. One is this idea of influencers. I have never quite understood this whole idea of influencers. I really have never needed someone to tell me what is cool or hot. I like what I like, and the devil be damned. Ariel, you also mentioned all the information out there on the internet, and how some can be a bit spotty. It was that way before the internet. Yes, it was, and is, that way with books. It all depended on the author. I agree with you in that you always have to do your research. You take a short cut there, then you are in for a mistake to happen on your purchase. Another thing that saddens me are the speculators. Because of them, the crown will not be seeing any of my money anytime soon. It is sad too, because I do love the crown’s whole aesthetic. But the speculators have put Rolex’s pieces that I love way beyond my reach. But then again, that will be a boon for the homage makers. There are enough people out there buying them to keep them in business.
    What I love about watch collecting other than the watches, are the people that I have met whether online or at a meet-up. I have a busy schedule. I am lucky if I can make two meet-ups in a year. I really do have fun when I go. I also appreciate forums like this one. Where we can openly post what we feel and think on what is written.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    My mother has one. I gave it to her. I gave her a Tissot PR 100 Automatic, she ruined it. I gave her a Seamaster Quartz, she ruined it I gave her a Citizen Eco Drive Supertitan a few years ago, still works and remains more or less unscratched.

  • Sam Soul

    Got 6 watches so far in different styles and shapes. I don’t consider myself a collector and enjoy wearing them once a week at least. Having more of them is pointless IMHO.

  • BNABOD

    I think the group think you mention is right on point. The obvious classic push for well made cheap and reliable is seiko skx then the and of moon comes into play then up the game w a Rolex then a basic RO then PP nautilus in ss and then a ALS up down. The classic collection mold. Can’t say I haven’t fallen into the trap but what I can say is that every time I have bought a piece the forums felt was cool I ended up dumping it and of course losing my shirt. That’s part of the problem since to really refine what one likes you have to try many brands and that means losing a lot . So while resale value shouldn’t be the main factor for a purchase it does play a big role …

  • commentator bob

    “until we hit a financial big dip” – A recession is coming, and it will clean up a lot of the messyness that exists in the watch collecting market.

  • commentator bob

    As I mention below, a big reason watch collecting has become tedious is the helium in the economy from the US recklessly running $1-trillion budget deficits (the kind of sloppy behavior than can bankrupt a business as reliable as a casino). A recession will fix that just like it fixed the market for 1960s American performance cars in 2007/2008.

    However, another reason is that the GMT is really hot right now.

    Frankly it should be, it is the most useful movement/bezel combo, and there is nothing more satisfying than jumping the 12-hour hand backward and forward in the 2nd crown position with a proper “true” GMT watch.

    However, unlike other watches that have been hot (divers, chronographs), one company has a unique history with the GMT (and is making theirs very hard to get). In addition, only three companies, Rolex, Swatch Group, and Seiko make proper “true” GMT watches.

    Unless you get a very hard to get Rolex, an Omega or higher, or a Grand Seiko or Spring Drive Prospex you cannot get the cool watch, a “true” GMT. That pretty much means $5,000 – $20,000 to get the kind of watch that is cool right now (and hard to criticize for being cool).

    ETA does have a new “true” GMT Powermatic movement that it is using in Swatch Group, but outside Swatch group watch companies are stuck with the ETA 2893-2 and its clones, which are not “true” GMT movements.

  • benjameshodges

    For me it’s a slow process. Actually my most recent purchase stems from an article on ABTW about 2-3 years ago. James Stacey’s Clipperton expedition. I started to really understand the Aquis from that article but the products weren’t meeting my specs just yet. Until this year when the announced the GBR3. And now it’s on my wrist. About 3 years later from the seed being planted. Thank you for that.

  • Gokart Mozart

    As this has become a side topic about blogs and forums I may as well put in my long 2 pence as well.

    Firstly can I just say as a positive, they are very good for making people aware of brands and watches people are not aware of. It is also very useful for finding out about upcoming events and exhibitions. The number of watches and brands I have discovered since reading ABTW and others has influenced what I like and would look for in different types and price of watches.

    However just like anything else do your research. Don’t just take their word for it.. Many have their own agenda or affiliations. Think of it as a starting point.

    One of the biggest problems I have is with the watches reviewed and featured. This is not just ABTW but virtually all of them. I know, I know they are business and you have salaries to pay bills to cover.

    But where are the articles about all the non big brands and groups, or the not well known independents.

    Baselworld has what maybe close to 1000 exhibitors probably but alwe here a out are the same 20 to 30. Is there no other watch brands to talk about?

    You AND the other blogs are contributing to some of the problems. How are start ups or less well known brands going to be come collectible if you do not do your job and tell people.

    Also there are many brands that are not covered for I do not know why. Maybe because they are struggling and they do throw watches at blogs. It does not mean you should ignore them.

    When was the last ime you had a Vulcain or a Fortis? Fortis may not be the moon watch but it is a space watch. How many articles do you do with Speedys, and how many do you do for any Fortis?

    Glycine were taken over by Invicta. Is the Glycine Airman 36mm still of the same quality as pre pre invicta? I for one want to know. Can you tell me?

    All of these are very important companies historically why the ignorance of them.

    • commentator bob

      I have a post-Invicta Glycine GL0157 and it is a VERY nice watch. I’m no Invicta fan, but you have to remember that Zenith and Heuer are owned by the company that makes the champagne for after you drink the good champagne and a grape liquor popular in North Korea. You can’t always judge a company by the parent company. My Glycine is a “purist”, but the worst thing going for Glycine is that they cannot get a “true” GMT movement for their GMT watches.

      • Gokart Mozart

        Nice!

        I love the Airman. Is yours the 42mm with the gmt hand?

        I want the 36mm purist with just the hour hand that goes round in 24 hours with the black dial and 10m water resistance.

        Thing is they are hard to look at in the UK, and I have not really seen many pre invicta either.

    • Jared

      because the dirty little secret is that a lot of watch coverage these days has become pay to play. so if you are a small brand you need to drop ~$2-10K on each blog/instagrammer just to get featured. And it simply isn’t worth it to them, since the vast majority of people following these guys are exactly the brand centric people that won’t buy their product because they’d rather buy a Rolex or a Speedmaster or a Seiko instead.

    • Mikita

      Exactly! I come here to learn something new, not read just another 19736005664366 story about MOFM. How about Kentex? Great Japanese watches with excellent bang for the buck. Raymond Weil? Forgot about them. Movado – are they still alive? Limes, Defakto, Autran & Viala – any news from Germany’s Ickler group? Has anyone heard of York & Front? Oak & Oscar? Any news from Spain’s Ophion? I can go on and on.

  • Independent_George

    It shows the age of the ABTW readership to completely ignore, well. to use a well-worn trope, the Elephant-in-the-Room: Instagram.

    The large blogs/magazines — ABTW and The H — have been around for at least 10 years. The forums, WUS and TimeZone, and the Omega and Rolex forums have been around longer, but the current collecting environment that a lot a commentators are lamenting, the sameness and GroupThink, has really only been at the forefront in the last three or four years. And it is in the last three or four years that Instagram has replaced the blogs and forums and YouTube as the go-to platform for most watch collectors.

    • PR

      Very acute observation. There are watches that seem to have varying expiration dates when it comes to Instagram and a lot of new releases need to be posted right away to get “likes” otherwise it has expired. With the usual exceptions of course of subs, daytonas etc

  • Mark Helm

    100% agree with Jared. It sometimes sickens me to see the comment sections especially on social media like Instagram. Post showing new or old timepieces of any kind whether for marketing or showing off new acquisitions used to excite me even if just to learn a little more about the brand or the piece. More exposure used to mean more excitement about collecting.. Now it seems to be a lot more toxic. There is almost always multiple people above the fold bashing every piece for some highly subjective reason or another in the comments. The comments are often pedantic and rude and offer no value other than to poison the well before one even gets the opportunity to evaluate their own subjective feelings about a piece. It’s hard to determine if a piece “speaks” to you when all you hear is the yelling of the killjoy that a date at 4:30 is cause for burning at the stake or some other subjective nonsense.

  • Mikita

    The problem is that the loudest “information sources” are usually the most corrupted and ill-minded. I had to remove myself from some forums, because of some people with too strong “opinions”, who try to overshout anyone with a different opinion. Funny, that trying to explain that I have a different focus, doesn’t help at all. I think, Ariel knows what I’m taking about. Those loud guys usually focus on 1. resale value, 2. mass media image of a brand 3. features-per-price. I couldn’t care less about any of these aspects. My watch collecting is purely emotional – ultimately, I am just seeking a beatiful watch, which looks good on my own wrist and also has some romantic (or nostalgic) aspect about it. So, please, stop shouting in my ears about Rolex’s resale value, Omega’s bullshit Moon marketing, all those METAS TETAS certificates and 1002834643858624000 Gauss magnetic resistance. I couldn’t care less about it. I just love my BR123 Carbon because it has absolutely fantastic case shape, which embraces my wrist, fantastic quality strap which organically ends the lugs, fantastic-looking box shape domes sapphire crystal which loves the Sun and Moon light and robust and easily serviced ETA2895 based on ETA2892 – best mass movement in the industry.

    Watch collecting is about being who you are, it’s not about trying to mimic and please home grown pseudo-experts. Current generation of collectors makes me think that they’re coming from same incubator: “this is a Rolex, I paid XXXX for it and it has a strong resale value; this is an Omega MOFM which belonged to MOFM!!” Those incubated pseudo-collectors make no sense, they have no other story to tell, except what we heard thousand times. I love the niche apect of watch collecting – this guy has X watches related to Y countries, that guy seeks for rare long forgotten gems from company Z, that guy is about finding watches with feature V.

    • Gokart Mozart

      Completely agree.

      One of the things that most annoys me is water resistance. All the people who are on land complaining why is this watch only 100m water resistant when for 99.9% that will be more than they need. Or a dress watch with just 30m WR.

      Can’t see the trees for the woods.

  • Nicholas Barkly

    I’d like to know as well??

  • James McDonald

    As a novice collector I can say yes it is fun. I have attempted some restorations to teach myself but this is a difficult task, given no watchmaker within 3 hours drive of me. I am enjoying finding my taste and what lights my fire right now, it may change in the future and I am concentrating on being less schizophrenic in my pursuits. I am a daily reader of the blog.

  • charlesdemaillardtaillefer

    Again I more than agree with you Ariel. It’s about passion so opinions are all biased and building your own vision/ collection is inventing/ creating/ confirming your own culture which is far from easy and mistakes can be quite expensive and time consuming!
    I have avoided pieces for years and chosen to buy the wrong ones after following opinions more or less interested.
    Since I have learned my lessons & made better decisions/ discoveries as I take the risk to “ try what is recommended and what is not before I think and decide to buy”. I ear them but I don’t really care.
    Indeed, the goal is to enjoy your decision/ collection, not to constantly having to check the resale value or if your really need this watch that you are not wearing much…

    Please I would be happy to read your opinion on the below topic :
    – how the luxury industry loves marketing to the insecure rich (their favorite prey!).
    Thanks!

  • Andre Gani

    Its related to the essence of luxury itens. More than you ever need…

  • cluedog12

    The answer is a resounding “Yes!” Lots of great watches available that aren’t showing up in Kevin O’Leary’s videos.

    The watch collecting hobby is closely intertwined with the worship of wealth. This is especially true today, since you can load up Instagram and upvote Watch Anish’s carefully curating photos of the 0.001% wristwatch lifestyle. Conservative and country club Pateks have given way to Influencers and clubbing Pateks – it is now in your face 24/7 and it can be really annoying.

    We’ve seen this before with tulips, the Vancouver property boom, Bitcoin, The Macallan “Wait, is it old enough to be called Scotch?” Edition No. 2 and The 5711 Nautilus. The stampede will eventually pass and we will feast on the slowest of the herd.

  • Jonny Bravo

    After about 5 years of being interested in watches, after learning a lot, reading a lot about the history and the technology, I can say that I have watch fatigue. After all this time I realized that most of the industry is just a story machine, with little incentive for real innovation (e.g. more power reserve, much longer service intervals and fewer service needs, etc.). I realize that the mechanical watch is an archaic tool and has become essentially jewelry, which is why I am more interested in smart watches these days. I still follow the industry but not with a buying mindset.

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