Buying from a collector, or.. “Why I wear my watches.”
Because I really like em. There.
I’ve been given this advice lately and had some time to think this through for a little sharing.
Coming from the perspective of both buyer and seller, I guess I can give my two cents on this topic.
For me, there is definitely a big plus when you hook up with a collector to get your vintage watch fox, given that the person is of a certain level of experience of course.
Getting the real deal
Vintage is fast becoming a dangerous place to be in, with almost as many cobbled watches as genuine ones, and having the experience of someone who’s navigated the minefield will be beneficial to your own personal journey.
I remember starting my own journey - buying whatever I like that comes along, not really knowing the true value of certain pieces. I pay more for some and I sell some for considerably lower than what they’re worth.
In Asia we call it “paying the school fees”, and I guess most collectors are willing to share their personal experiences with you as long as you remain tactful and respectful of their watches.
A longer check and balance
Another perk of buying from a collector is that the watches are actually worn and appreciated before they are sold. And in wearing our watches, collectors like me get to know about its quirks. if any.
Case in point - I have a Triple Calendar Moonphase Chronograph that had been recently serviced. I did all my checks and decided to buy the piece, and was really happy to have owned such a complicated watch.
A few months later (because people with 100 watches rotate their watches really slowly), I noticed that the hooked minute hand actually caught itself on the date pointer when it was on the 26th of each month. This kept the watch from moving, and would only be made know to extreme checkers and collectors like me who wear their watches regularly.
So the watch went back to the shop and I made sure that all was ok with the watch before it was listed.
Buy the watch, buy the story
Part of the allure of collecting vintage is also knowing the story of the watches you buy. By far the most fun I've had selling was over the table with a collector - just two people talking watches.
While I not all of my watches have fascinating stories, as a collector I can't help but talk for hours on end once we're at the table. For this I've even started a blog series - have a read if you're up for some collector stories.
With so many vintage watches out there, I've really learnt to pick my watches carefully, and when I buy from collectors I tend to feel safer about my purchase.
Because at the end of the day, someone like me doesn't need to sell watches to make ends meet - I get my joy from owning different types of watches, and setting up a website to sell the watches just lets me meet more collectors and help me keep the collection organic.