I could just as easily put the word “men” instead of “we” in that headline. Of course it isn’t just men who collect things in general, as my wife’s shoe collection would testify. (She says it’s not the same, because shoes are an essential part of living!) But when it comes to watches it seems we gents are in the majority.
As always I’m sure evolution has a major part to play in our masculine desire to collect and display prized possessions and it would be churlish to suggest that showing off has nothing to do with it. But why do we go on enhancing, building and changing our collections. And what constitutes a great collection in the first place?
So let’s start with the why? It feels good. In fact it feels great to own a beautiful watch. It makes me feel special to strap on a 1969 speedy and gaze down at the same face the Apollo 11 astronauts would have recognised in an instant.
I adore the grand complication that accurately details moon phases along with day date function. All that beauty, skill and industry in such a small and perfectly engineered case. (I think I might actually be drooling just thinking about it.) But then sometimes I’m all about the action and love the feel of the salt air on my arms and the robust lines of my 1978 submariner. You see it all really depends on how I’m feeling at any particular time. And ultimately my collection is probably a reflection of the myriad ways I feel throughout life.
And that’s the first bit of advice for why it’s nice to collect and what a good collection should mean. How does it make you feel? On any given day a watch can make me feel completely different and in love with a particular aspect of horology. That’s why I collect. And those feelings can change over time, something that is reflected in my collection. Add in the uniqueness of a vintage collection and, in my opinion you have a manifestation of taste, appreciation and function it’s hard to match in any other part of life.
And as to what constitutes a good collection. To me it still has to be about making a choice based on the way a watch makes you feel. It’s likely you’ll end up with the classic combinations of dive, automotive, aviation and dress watches in varying quantities but there is no right or wrong way to manage a collection. And don’t let price be a defining factor either. I’d love to help to show you how to spend £30,000 on a collection, but equally if you have only £1000 I’ll take just as much pleasure in helping to start you on a journey of collecting that will give you an enormous pleasure over the coming years.
And here is the real beauty of this addiction we share.
Collecting vintage watches offers you the chance to constantly recycle your collection and improve it without all the financial hardship depreciation brings to other types of collecting. The value of a £1000 vintage watch is only going in one direction over the coming years and it’s a perfect place to begin.
And if all else fails, get yourself an Omega Speedmaster. You can’t go wrong and you’ll never sell it!