How many of you own more than one watch? More than two? Five? Ten?
At what point does owning more than one watch become a collection? Is two the start of a collection? Or just a couple of watches?
People ask why would you have more than one watch? After all, “all it does is tell the time”, (just like all shoes do is cover your feet), but to the philistine, that’s a valid point. Why would you want more than one watch?
In a previous post, we wrote about the Citizen Navihawk, and how that just works for almost any occasion, theoretically, you’d never need to buy another watch (or battery) because it has an ability to blend with almost any clothing or social gathering, and that’s a rare thing. So if such watches are available, why buy more than one?
The Art of Watchmaking
The concept of a portable device being used to tell the time dates back hundreds of years, perhaps even so far back as 1571 – Elizabeth I received a gift from Robert Dudley that was described as an ‘arm watch’, and whilst these early ‘watches’ were closer to a pocket watch attached to a band, this was surely the first step to what we would call a wristwatch.
For many, watchmaking is an art form, certainly in the early days where everything was made by hand, but even in today’s computer/manufacturing controlled world, a great many number of manufacturers rely on skilled craftsmen to build their watch – physically piece together the 200 – 300 parts that can make up a watch. (Although the Calibre 89 by Patek Philippe contains 1,728 parts!)
Forget styling for a moment, for some collectors, it’s all about the mechanicals, and understanding just what went into the building of that particular watch which makes it collectable to them.
For some of the more highbrow collectors, owning a watch as a fashion accessory is a no-no (see above), but for anyone that takes care of their appearance, why wouldn’t you want a choice between a classic leather-strapped winder or a chronograph on an intricate bracelet?
A watch can offer so many different variations: stainless, gold, brushed, matt, polished, bi-metal, plain, pilot’s, deep water, slim, oversize … there is a different watch for every type of style and social setting, and if you have the means, why not have the style?
We aren’t saying that you need a watch for every pair of shoes that you own, but sometimes you just need to add the right finishing touches – tailored suit, double-cuff shirt, hand-made brogues and something like the Omega Geneve, or a pair of kicks, jeans and t-shirt with a Breitling Colt Chronograph.
Yes, occasionally you find a watch that works with everything, but that still doesn’t scratch the itch of having something different for when the mood takes you.
Keeping on the fashion theme for a moment, vintage watches are all about originality, styling and cool.
Compared to today’s styling, vintage watches tend to be on the smaller side, both in terms of diameter and thickness, but that gives them an altogether different look to anything modern, which in itself sets them apart.
If you think of a vintage watch as a classic car, the value is in the patina, the wear history, even the feel. Of course, you’re going to find the odd mark or imperfection in a watch that’s more than a few years old, but this is the character of such a watch, you know that someone has lived with this watch, used it and loved it.
While there are some collectors of only vintage, we do think that a mixture of both will cover all angles – sometimes you just need that classic look that only a true vintage watch can give you, and for many people, their vintage watch collection begins when they inherit an older family member’s watch.
Money, Power, Status …
In an act of almost sacrilegious proportion, there is an element of society that like to prove their wealth & power by adorning their lifestyle with trinkets – fast cars, designer clothing, designer partner, enough jewellery for a popup stall outside the big supermarket in Knightsbridge and of course, a luxury watch.
They wear a Rolex, usually a Sub, because they are recognisably expensive, and they take satisfaction from people noticing it (and let’s not get into the brand of car they drive!).
These people should be limited to one watch only.
And this isn’t to denigrate Rolex or Rolex Sub wearers, quite the opposite in fact; Rolex have built an amazing brand, recognisable worldwide as luxury. And that’s the crux of the problem.
Their collection will also include a Breitling, perhaps a Tag Heuer.
It really doesn’t matter whether you own two or twenty-two watches, you’ve recognised that owning just one doesn’t work for you, you know that being able to choose what you wear on your wrist is just as important as what you clothe yourself in, in fact, it’s exactly that – part of your chosen outfit.
Whatever your reasons for owning a collection – mechanical engineering, styling or to show off, the crux of it all is choice.
And you definitely don’t need to spend thousands, either for a single piece or for a collection – we’re all about choosing the right watch for you; if your lifestyle and fashion sense want a digital watch, then get a digital watch – you don’t need to own the latest Swiss masterpiece to be a watch fanatic.
What’s in your collection? Any favoured brands? Or are you simply a one-watch person?