I recently bought an automatic watch to add to my already growing collection of timepieces. Mind you, it’s not an expensive Swiss watch but a working man’s favorite: a Seiko.
The compulsion to purchase it stemmed from recently learning that mechanical watches, the category which automatics fall under, are made by craftsmen and are generally viewed as engineering marvels because they’re not battery-powered. A watch is a small object and to have a tiny machine that make the hands move to tell time—and accurately at that—simply amazes me!
This recently led me to look at what I currently own. Over the years, I’ve been given watches and bought some (based on what I could afford), and found that they’re all quartz watches aka battery-powered timepieces.
Not that opting for a quartz watch's a bad thing. After all, the value of a watch will always be what it is to its owner. For example, I have a 15-year-old timepiece given to me by my mom after I graduated from high school. Whenever I wear it, it’s an instant conversation piece because of its history and the fact that it reminds me of my inevitable tito-hood.
Being a discerning watch buyer, though, has plenty of upsides. When in business meetings, what’s on your wrist is an asset. If what you’re wearing connotes you understand timepieces, it adds to any good impression they have of you.
To harness the power a watch can give you, follow these five rules to growing a watch collection.
Know your movements
There are literally thousands of models in the market in all shapes, sizes, and brands. But before you jump into the confusing world of timepieces, do your research on watch movement first.
“When you get to know the difference between quartz- and mechanical-powered watches, it’s the point where you learn to appreciate the fact that a mechanical watch is actually an engineering and design marvel that functions without any external power source and develop an interaction with is when collecting starts,” says Brian Afuang, an art director, journalist, and avid watch collector.
While a brand usually dictates a watch’s price, it pays know the why behind it. “A brand’s status is achieved based on the level of craftsmanship, innovation, engineering, design, heritage, and material that go into the pieces they make,” adds Afuang. Hence, sporting a Rolex or a Patek Philippe on your wrist immediately puts you at a certain status level.
Think beyond trends
Oversize watches are all the rage these days, but there’s a reason classic brands have yet to join this bandwagon. If you look at vintage watches that still cost as much as some newer models in the market, they’re sized just right, in other words, timeless. If you’re going to invest in a watch, think of how it will look on you 10 years from now. It is an investment after all.
Buy pieces you truly like
“Getting drawn to a particular type or brand is a matter of personal taste,” says Afuang. If you’re not a fan of watches that you have to wind or ones that stop if you don’t use it, then invest in quartz watches instead. If you like a certain style, brand, or even size, simply go for it. At the end of the day, you’ll be the one to wear it for the long haul.
Do your research
“The biggest mistake you can make is purchasing just about anything that ticks you can afford when starting your collection,” warns Afuang. Before buying watches, research on the brands and models you’re eyeing. There are Facebook groups for these, and a host of websites out there with tons of information.
Next, when looking to buy, find out where you can get genuine watches for bargain prices. Places such as Farmer’s Market and Ali Mall have stores that sell timepieces at good cost. Also, before letting a store take your money, find out first where the service center is. Like most things, watches require some TLC at some point, too.
While a watch does connote a certain status in life, always think of your bottom line. You could be sporting an AudermarsPiguet on your wrist but if you have to skip meals daily just to pay it off, it doesn’t really confirm the image you want to convey. Instead, work with what you’re capable of. Buy second hand, or buy from brands that are well crafted, but don’t cost an arm and a leg.
In my case, I’ve decided to collect from working man’s brands like Seiko. Next, I’m eyeing Orient’s latest Bambino V4. Because at the end of the day, I’m a working class man, and that’s all I wish to convey—doesn’t mean I can’t do it in style though.