Guide to Buying a Watch Part 2
Well we covered the basics here. Now for the next stage, there is no better sage advice than that from Ludwig. Unfortunately My Descent Into Hell - The Mind of a Watch Addict by Ludwig seems to have disappeared. So here are his "Lessons learned" for those that missed it.
- Buy one watch that you really like, then never, ever read TimeZone, or any watch publications, again. This will save you a fortune. Especially to be avoided are the watch review, brand forum, and chatroom areas of TimeZone - the WIS contagion spreads from here... If you learn only one thing from my tale of woe, learn this! Turn back while you can.
- Just buy that Lange (or Patek, or Rolex, or Vacheron, or whatever your personal Grand Ultimate Fetish Object is) first, and save yourself some agony and expense. Once you've gotten The Best, you may be able to resist a lot of impulse purchases, and avoid cluttering up your house with watchwinders, cases, and so on.
- Never buy a watch "instead" of the one you really want. You'll eventually end up getting the object of your desire anyway, and then you'll be stuck with an extra watch (or four).
- Never buy a watch just because the price seems insanely good. If you don't end up ever wearing it, you'd have saved even more money if you hadn't bought the darn thing in the first place. Corollary - never buy a low-end watch just because "that's darn good value for the money" if you already have, or desire, higher-end versions of the same sort of watch - you'll end up never wearing the cheapie, and it'll clutter up the place. Buying a low-end watch as a beater is fine, but be careful with this rationalization - how many beaters do you really need?
- Furthermore, how many chronographs do you really need? One for dress, one for cooking/BBQing, and one for abuse. Anything more, and some will just rot in your watch-case.
- If you decide that you like a certain style of watch, say "military-style", it is not necessary to own every single example of the style. Take your time, and pick one or two good ones - you can only wear one at a time anyways (except at TZ lunches).
- Whenever you find yourself thinking "Hey, I've got a t-shirt that'd look really good with that watch over there...", hand your checkbook and wallet to someone trusted, and run, do not walk, for the door, and head for the Imelda Marcos Impulse Shopping Treatment Center. You need help. Corollary - it is far cheaper to buy a new belt that matches a watch you already own, than the other way around...
- If you find yourself making up bogus milestones as excuses to purchase a new watch, you also need help. "Hey, it's St. Vincent's Day in Swaziland! Let's celebrate!" is not a sufficient reason to buy that repeater you've always wanted...
- If you need a fix, think vintage. There are a lot of inexpensive vintage watches out there in great shape with really cool movements, and nifty features. With the money you'd waste on only a few mistaken purchases of NIB timepieces, you could assemble a killer vintage collection. And you'll find that often the design and craftsmanship are superior to, and unobtainable in, modern watches... (Mind you, I've never managed to follow this advice, but it sounds good...)
- Another solution when you hunger for a new watch - treat one of your current watches to a new strap. Often, a watch that has not been getting much time on your wrist is just begging for a new strap in a different style. It's just like getting a new watch, but somewhat cheaper.
- You don't need to keep everything on a watch winder, or wind all of your handwound watches every day. This way lies madness (and watch winders strewn about your house). Get a winder or two for your current commonly-worn rotation, and don't worry. Your changing tastes/needs from month to month will likely insure that your watches get worn often enough to not get gummed up. If not, consider selling the unworn, lonely pieces languishing in your collection to some other poor soul. Watches should be worn, and not sit in vaults, sadly spinning away on winders.
- If offered a choice, always buy the watch with the bracelet. You can always find a nice strap later if you change your mind, but it tends to be expensive, and a bother, to find a proper bracelet after the fact.
- Avoid developing an addiction to pocket-watches. You won't ever carry one with you, no matter how good your intentions, except maybe to the opera. Get one really nice one, and pat yourself on the back. This makes an excellent and economical way to get the urge for a minute repeater out of your system too...
- Hold out for a 35% discount, minimum. Don't be in a rush to buy. If you look around, and bide your time, you can find almost any watch at a decent price, even the ever-elusive Portugueser...
- Credit cards are not your friend. Pay cash, so you feel the pain right away. This method often kills the impulse purchase dead in its tracks.
- Diamonds are not a watch's best friend... Especially on a Breitling Emergency...