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"Excuse me?" - how to treat a fellow collector

One watch, many reactions.

In the course of collecting we will (and should!) inevitably meet with fellow collectors. When these meetings happen, watches will be exchanged, stories shared and questions asked.

This article was inspired by two different collectors' reaction to my recent acquisition. It's this really awesome tropic case Rolex 6085 Semi-Bubble from the 1950s.

Scenario One

I was sitting with a group of collectors and this guy walked in. He was talking about a watch he just got back from service and even took it out for us to view.

I remember the tone of voice he took - very open and very passionate. He was a lover of vintage and he wasn't afraid to show it. While we took turns looking at his watch he commented on it, making sure we knew what to look out for - the lugs are nicely cut, lyre with a groove stylishly slit into the middle; the dial was brilliant gold, a snail patterned telemeter painting onto it; the hands and indexes were a rose gold and slightly cleaned to a sheen.

The collector noticed my watch as I was handling his, and asked what it was. He waited for me to finish looking before probing further. He asked if it were Tudor, and if he could have a closer look.

So I obliged, taking the watch off my wrist and passing it to him. He asked how old it was, the model number and also when I got it - all answers I gladly provided.

Scenario Two

I was sitting with a group of collectors and this guy walked in. He announced his arrival in a dialect I didn't know, and proceeded to peer at the watches on display, ignoring most of the people in the room.

He noticed the watch on my wrist and grabbed my wrist, pulling the watch closer to have a look. He asked me how much I got it for and if I were selling it.

I ignored him.

Excuse me?

The two situations left me with two very different moods. For the sake of those who might stumble across this entry, I offer a few tips on what you can ask or should behave when interacting with a fellow collector.

if you don't have time to read the entry, just remember that a little respect goes a long way.

1. Introduce yourself

Say hi, shake hands, and tell them they have an awesome watch. Remember that you are collectors sharing a passion, not hunters seeking a kill.

2. Ask before you touch

This also applies to that girl you're interested in asking out. Some people might not want others to touch their treasured timepiece. Just because you don't mind people handling your watches doesn't mean others share the same perspective.

3. Respect the watch

I've seen some enthusiasts treat the watches like trash, winding and punching the pushers on the chronograph. And after manhandling the timepiece they thump it on the table with the grace of a hippo. C'mon man, don't treat a watch like you treat nail clippings.

4. "How much?"

This is one sure way to make a bad impression. A major part of collecting vintage is actually owning the watch. Unless the purpose of meeting is to trade of sell watches, assume that the collector you just met won't be selling it to you.

5. Doubt its originality

Not on the first meeting. We pay good money on the watches we own, often scrutinizing its every detail before pulling the trigger. We won't need another collector whom we just met come in and put that doubt into our heads again.

6. Ask where they got it from

A collector loves a good hunt. Revealing a good hunting spot is often reserved for close buddies.

7. Let me Instagram it

Always ask before taking a photo, and then ask again if you can post it onto social media.

©.2023. Reproduce with permission. Further enquiries at

Best viewed on desktop, because you should really take your time with vintage.

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