With the holidays behind us and the start of a new year to look forward to, it’s time to make some resolutions. We all know the usual new year’s resolutions about getting healthy, spending more time with our families, and all that boring stuff, but what about the things that really matter? Of course, I am talking about watch collecting here. This is what the members of the aBlogtoWatch team have vowed to do in 2022.
Of course, we also want to hear what your resolutions are, so leave them in the comments. We wish everyone a happy new year (*insert cork pop*), and here’s to 2022!
From a collector’s perspective, the last year has been decidedly more kind to small, agile watch brands than to the larger brands and big groups. This is especially true when it comes to product availability and marketing finesse. As a collector, I strive to take the most interest in the brands that take the most interest in me. I find that working with companies that appear to “want my money” (versus those who don’t appear to care) leads to more satisfying wearing experiences but also more comfort and pleasure as a consumer of timepieces. 2020 and, certainly, 2021, were typified by some major brands receiving outsized interest in some or all of their products. This created a marketplace in which getting those watches was both frustrating and expensive for many consumers — and I don’t think too many collectors benefited, as a result.
The problem in dealing with major watch brands over the last two years or so is that doing so leads to too much frustration in the hobby. Getting watches you can acquire and afford is what people should be doing. When the hype or investor sentiment bleeds into our space, I don’t see us, as collectors, winning. All that happens is that people are now asked to spend more money and energy on buying the exact same products. I don’t see that as a win for hobbyists. For those hyper-focused on “value retention,” I ask one simple question: Are you really going to sell that Rolex you just worked so hard to “earn?” Probably not. Aside from the pleasure that wearing a “theoretically more valuable” product on your wrist offers, is there actually a more enhanced wearing experience thanks to all the hype? Not really. So, my resolution in 2022 is to better ignore those watch brands that are ignoring me and also not marketing to my demographic. Buying a watch is supposed to be a feel-good experience, not an exercise in frustrating denial or insecurity. So, when a brand isn’t interested in a customer like me, I make a point to find other brands (and there are plenty) who are interested in my attention. Doing so simply increases the happiness that often comes with new timepiece acquisitions and I hope proves good advice for others in the community.
Hmm, this is a good one. Throughout 2021, I have done an absolutely outstanding job at resisting the various temptations of impulse purchases — so much so that I have made none! I certainly am proud to have exercised such reserve, and that is for two reasons — one boring and one rather more exciting. The boring reason is the pandemic that made me want to exercise greater caution. The exciting reason is the transition that I recognized in how I appreciate watches: Over the last year-and-a-half, I have been drifting away from impulse purchases or purchases I’d known I was making for the fun of short-term experiences and toward the joys of long-term ownership.
In other words, my resolution for 2022 is that if I were to purchase a watch (new or pre-owned), it was to be a keeper, preferably for life. I would like to have a small collection of watches that are to function sort of like tattoos: “timestamps” from certain periods of my life. It would be cool to have a selection of tangible items, each representing my taste, my choice of attire, my financial status, and so on, at different times. So, there. Spend not on passing fancies, but on a watch that you can look at and say, “This was me in 2022.”
Until recently, I was admittedly boorish in my attitude toward “smaller” watches, but I’ve come to learn just how wrong I was. I’m now finding myself tantalized by the prospect of wearing a 36.5mm case (not the Grand Seiko seen above which is 37.3mm) and, at this point, I’m just grateful to just realize the error of my ways. So, for 2022, I am not going to write anything off as being “too small.” In fact, I want to start calling out watches that are disproportionately big more often. I mean, how often do we see a watch in a 42mm case with a movement made for a 38mm? All the time, and it’s a bad look.
Oh, and more titanium watches.
Every year, I resolve to own “fewer, better” things, but every year, come December, I find myself with a few more watches than days of the week, and it’s a problem that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. If I were to tie myself down on a proper resolution, though, it would be to focus my collecting energy around compelling stories and interesting people in the industry, rather than just interesting products — after all, we were in no apparent shortage of the latter in 2021. Besides, when it comes to this interesting little niche corner of the world, we’re nothing without the people that inspire us — and until someone makes a sporty and easy-wearing worldtimer that doesn’t break the bank, I think my focus is set.
It’s been a roller coaster of a year for my own collection, with major new arrivals balanced out by far more sales than I expected, and by the end of the year, the pace of it all has started to wear on me. With that in mind, my resolution going into 2022 is “less, but better.” I’m going to make an effort to limit myself to no more than two watch purchases for the year and compromise less on what I truly want. So, for 2022, I’m focusing primarily on a few potential additions — the Cartier Pasha, the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight, and the classic Heuer Autavia Viceroy.
Given that I’ve been in this hobby for a long time, and given the state of the world right now, I can’t say I have any concrete watch-collecting resolutions in mind. If anything, I feel the same way I have for the past couple of years — and that is to be more discerning and only buy what I truly like. We all need to cut down on excesses.
I’ll admit that I typically don’t approach watch collecting with anything resembling a plan. At all. The closest thing to a rule I have is a bastardization of the KISS principle, in this case by keeping it small. This rule is partially philosophical — I hate owning things I don’t use — but mostly practical. My watch-collecting funds are limited, so if something comes in, something else has gotta go. The downside to this approach is that it’s led to a fair bit of flipping over the years. I have no regrets (well, not many) since I’ve been able to explore interesting watches, refine my tastes, and not lose too much money along the way, especially since I often buy used. However, frequent buying, and especially selling, loses its appeal rather quickly. In 2022, my goal is to add a single, well-considered watch to the collection with the intention of it remaining in perpetuity. There are some strong contenders (and hopefully one or two I can bring in for review before making a decision), but my plan is to take it slow, do some serious contemplation, and avoid the constant purchase-and-purge cycle. At least, I’ll try.
In 2022, I’d like to carry forward my aforementioned habit of wearing a different watch every single day. I’m also going to make an effort to wear everything I own, even the weird stuff I bought on a foreign eBay a decade ago under questionable circumstances. That being said, I think it’s also time to thin the herd, at least a bit. (Is that my wife over my shoulder crying joyful tears?) The watches that are hardest to pick up and put on have probably earned that status for a reason, and I think it’s time to find new loving owners for a few of those. And finally, the older I get, the more I realize one of the most important truths in watch collecting: Absolutely no one cares what is on your wrist. One more time for the guys in the back, no one cares! With that in mind, I shall endeavor to wear what I like, without regard for what’s cool or what some other snarky enthusiast might say. It’s about fun at the end of the day, and after the last couple of years, especially, I think we’re all ready for some more fun.