So You Want To Start A Watch Collection...

So You Want To Start A Watch Collection...

You’ve taken the first step and decided that collecting watches is something you’re interested in. So where do you go from here? There are a number of key things to figure out before you get started, and we’ve got them all laid out for you below.

Do Your Research: The absolute first thing you need to do before you start collecting watches is learn everything you can about watches. Virtually every collector has regrets about how they started and watches they wished they’d never spent money on, but you can minimize this regret by doing your due diligence. You’ll want to look into how much you should expect to pay for a quality watch, what brands are reputable (and which should be avoided), and what styles or types of watches you are most interested in collecting. All of the big watch blogs, YouTube channels, and watch forums are all excellent places to gather information.

Set A Budget: Watch collecting can get expensive in a hurry, and if you’re not careful, you can end up underwater before you know it. While some watch collectors are content to stay in the affordable realm throughout their collecting careers, many others are unable to resist the pull of luxury brands. And while we certainly believe that many luxury watches hold tremendous value for collectors, both monetarily and emotionally, no watch is worth going into financial ruin over. Therefore, it is important to set a watch budget and stick to it. If $500 is what you can afford to start your collection, then that’s great! You can pick up an excellent Swiss mechanical watch with some history behind it for that, or go for quantity over quality and grab a couple of solid Japanese Exports. Whether your budget is $200 or $20,000, the important thing is to stay within it and figure out what watches you want within your playing field.

Don’t Discount Buying Used: While the crazy bull market of the past five years has erased some of the value from buying vintage watches, the used space remains a great option for collectors. While many vintage watches — i.e. those from the 90's or earlier — may now be a bit out of reach for many new collectors, the same can’t be said for newer used watches. Numerous sales forums — which are aggregated on sites like WatchRecon and WatchPatrol — along with behemoths like eBay and Chrono24 have every type of used watch you can imagine on offer from all over the world, and buying used is often the best option for money-conscious collectors. Watches are like cars: They lose a ton of value once they leave the store (except in rare cases among Rolex, Patek, and a few other very high-end brands), and it’s always a better value to buy one that’s a year or two old over brand new. Your new watch is going to become used right after you take it out of the box anyway, so why not save yourself potentially hundreds of dollars by going preowned instead?

Prepare For Your Collection: Prior to bringing your new watches into your home, you’ve got to prepare for their arrival. That means setting up a safe place to store them when they’re not on your wrist. A dedicated watch box is best, as it’s designed specifically to safeguard watches and won’t take up much space, but if you’ve got the room you can always keep your watches in whatever boxes they come to you in. You’ll also want to bone up on things you shouldn’t do with your watch, like change the date between 9 pm and 3 am or get it wet with the crown pulled out, and the forums are a great place to do that. Finally, you’ll want to set yourself up with some basic tools so you can handle simple tasks like bracelet resizing and strap changes yourself and save a trip to the jeweler.

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