Why do you buy mechanical watches?
Ethan Wolff-Mann on Time Online made a very good point at the end of his article, with supporting quotes by Ariel Adams of ABTW fame and Paul Altieri of Bob's Watches - that of the many reasons one might have for purchasing a pricely mechanical time piece, the most important one has got to be "because it makes me feel good."
And that, I have to shamefully admit, is a very strong reason why I have more than fourty watches sitting in two nicely placed watch boxes in my room.
"Because it makes me feel good."
There, I said it again. I think many watch collectors will feel the same way I do when I see a watch that I fancy.
It has to be vintage. Something with a little history attached. A scratch, a dink, a particular quality that shouts out from behind the display case.
"Can I have a look at that piece?"
You begin a game of pin the tail with the store owner as he reaches half-blind into the crowded cabinet. You are amazed that so many of these beauties are left over, their former glory a pale apparition in these times where technology has a six-month validity date.
So what if they need to be manually wound? So what if they can't tell time accurately? So what if they can break down on you at any time? There's just a certain appeal to these guys that make me want to bring them home.
For others the appeal of a shiny new watch is greater than that of one with proably unknown origin, dirt stuck inbetween the links and one hand wash away from a disastrous repair bill.
Owning a brand new watch does have its perks too, so I won't be a vintage snob and put off anyone who shines a high polish bracelet in my face. Though I have to draw the line when someone tells me that they're buying watches as a good investment.
They're not. Go buy gold. Or stocks. These things are proven to be better investments than a mechanical watch that probably appreciates after 20-30 years. If it's a Rolex. If you picked wisely.
C'mon. They're meant to be worn.
"So what kind of mechanical watch should I buy?" is a very common question I get, and I'm almost certain to give a rhetoric "whatever makes you happy." Because that is the correct answer.
Find a watch that makes you think of it when you leave the store, that makes you want to visit it at the end of the day, but am hesistant in putting it on your wrist because you are almost certain that you'll be taking it home after that.
Because that is the true meaning of pleasure - an unexplainable, inconceivable, utterly irrational need to hug yourself for making the right decision.
Be warned though. You'll be back for more.
Those who want a good perspective on buying mechanical watches as investments should take some time to read Wolff-Mann's article.
Those who fancy a look at some nice vintage watches for your collection can visit my catalogue.