By Karishma Karer
All men are the same! Well, haven’t we heard that before…
Amongst the testosterone fuelled social camaraderie, for us watch collectors, the start of our journey to collecting, has either been inspirational or accidental. As we learn to take our steps, we tend to choose our roads and eventually, make our own paths.
Where are you in your Journey of watch collecting?
When it comes to luxury watch buying and eventually collecting, unlike a lot of other hobbies, this one is a lot more complicated and expensive! Acquisitions have a multi-faceted dimension of wants and needs.
Let’s look at the kind of watch collectors that we have around us and identify the one in you:
The One Watch Collection: A very limited, focused collection
Often when comfortable in the watch collecting journey, these individuals have been there and done that. Almost all ‘mistakes’ committed, are by now corrected and they have found their calling. It may be a Grail or a rare vintage or even something which they have inherited. Often you may see an A. Lange & Sohne, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin or the upper echelon of an independent, in this category.
The Flipper: Buys & sells watches, not yet a business
A hoarder who has seen it all and is also currently in the hustle of his journey. Not necessarily a watch dealer, the flipper just likes to sell his watches very soon, often for a profit and sometimes even just for fun. Safe to say the person has some kind of commitment phobia or poor decision making skills or it’s just mere ego. To a great extent prices of the “grey market” may have these as a reason.
The Brand Fan: Fan of a particular brand
Out of the hundreds of brands available and millions of watches out there, this fan of the brand has picked up his niche and his calling in a particular brand. Many of the luxury watch brands like Breguet, Vacheron Constantin & even Rolex have a rich history, some brands like Panerai have a heritage with the armed forces or brands like Jaeger-LeCoultre are known as “the watchmakers watch maker”. This collector will pick one such brand and will keep on adding watches new & old from the same to his box
The Icon Collector: Collects only the most iconic pieces
There are certain watches like the Rolex Daytona, the Audemars Piguet – Royal Oak, Breitling – Navitimer, Jaeger-LeCoultre – Reverso, Patek Philippe – Nautilus and many more which are deemed as Icon of the watch industry, in our times. Often these watches are difficult to procure and expensive too. This collector will chase these icons and fill his box, it may take some time, effort and a lot of money but he is focused on his acquisition.
The Microbrand Collector: Collects only lesser known commercial microbrands
Microbrands are born out of passion, the guts of one person to go out there and make a watch on his own and take it up to a smaller commercial scale for the rest of the world. Some microbrands like Ming have become aspirational and others like Zelos or Helm have developed their own cult following. This collector will focus on companies which may not have a rich history but will have a modern offering for the buyer. Someone who wants a fresh flavor everytime he opens his watch box.
The Vintage Man: Collects mainly watches from the past
Known as the dark alley of the hobby, vintage watch collections are only for the brave (rich & knowledgeable). The collector is not only welcoming old and worn down watches but will actually call it ‘character’ of the watch when it has a cracked dial or natural patina with scratches. Vintage Favre Leuba’s, pre modern times Omega Seamaster, vintage Cartier, Vacheron Constantin and Patek Patek Philippe, are usually most sought after.
The Braggart: Buys watches to substantiate the fat cheque book
Often ignored by true watch enthusiasts, very easily recognizable, this individual only throws money for the ‘snob value’. This is the very individual who would buy a watch at ‘premium’.
The Independent Man: Collects only independent brands
The creators. The watchmakers that would have started their journey with the giants like Richemont, Swatch Group, Kering or Seiko (since most of the watch brands come under some umbrella), have now charted their own course with their own brand. Often expensive due to the high level of craft and lack of economies of scale, brands like MB & F, De Bethune, F.P. Journe, Roger Smith, Urwerk, Armin Storm etc., are collected by a few who understand watch making as an art.
The Righteous: Buys watches from his heart
The near-perfect watch collector, who treats collecting watches; as it should be. A hobby. He buys watches on the basis of what he likes, it may be the history, the rarity, the colour of the dial, the movement, the case size, the complication. He has no logic nor a pattern, they only do the same on the basis of what they feel is right at that particular point in time.
The Resolute: The Perfect Watch collector
Doesn’t exist! Someone who buys on the basis of all the factors, his feelings, the price, the collection state, the value of the watch, etc. This collector is a unicorn, he is always happy, he doesn’t really care about the trends and the publicity but unwavering in passion.
An individual is the result of their thoughts. More often than not, an individual may traverse across many of the above. No matter where you stand in this journey, it is one where we have countless others, who we share the same passion with.