What's on your table, Arthur?
It doesn't matter what sort of watch you wear as long as you like it. I talk to a few collectors I've gotten to know over the years about that piece of metal they strap to their wrists. I've done minimal editing to their responses, so hopefully you can see their character from the tone and words used.
Today's collector is me, the crazy guy who got so involved in his collection of watches that he's started a whole new website to talk and sell parts of his collection. Through this post I'm going to share some of the watches that are dear to me, and the roles they play towards my current fanaticism towards these wrist pieces I have stashed away.
I'm also constantly looking for more people to share their stories and watches, so please hit me up if you're game.
The Origin Story
These two fossil watches were the first "serious" watches that I owned. Out of the sunset of my childhood was a teenager who played sports and video games, without a need for a wrist watch of any sorts.
So when the then-girlfriend noticed that I've just started on my professional career she got a black Fossil watch for me. Circular snailing on the outer rim of the dial, with hobnob guilloche for the inner dial that's interrupted by the three sub dials that showed the running seconds, chronograph minutes and the date.
I remember telling her that I don't like the feeling of something on my wrist and that I wouldn't spend (gasp) $200 on a damn watch, but she seemed to know that this is the start of a hobby of mine. I mean, how many things can a guy get into right?
And fast forward a few months and I got myself the other one - a cream dialed variant of the previous one, a blue seconds hands sweeping the dial when you start the chronograph instead.
I've taken the batteries out of them and they now sit in a box, but their significance remains - without these two guys here, I would have never have had the collection I do now.
The First Swiss Watch
I was wearing the cream dialed Fossil watch at dinner with a friend when he showed me the IWC Portofino chronograph that he just got.
The Swiss watch had leaf hands and a mechanical movement. something that I had no experience with at that moment. Looking at the Portofino I was fascinated with how smooth the seconds hand was, sweeping across the dial instead of snapping stop at each second like my watch.
I didn't ask about the price though, and was in for a shock and I finally found out how much one of those things cost new.
For a guy who's been wearing $200 fashion watches on his wrist for a few years, shelling out more than a grand for a watch seems to be a little excessive. This was in the territory of luxury, and I spoke another language.
But getting the hands-on session with the IWC left a mark on me, and I met up with the friend a few days later to go browse at a local AD. I've been looking at Baume and Mercier watches from their website and found the Clifton series to have a design aesthetic that appealed to me, and was looking forward to seeing them in the metal.
The 10055 opened my eyes to the romanticism of the moonphase complication and the wonders of an open display back. The stylized applied Arabic numeral - teardrop marker combination complements perfectly with the long slender dauphine hands to make up one heck an an awesome watch.
And with the then hefty purchase, I was officially an initiate into the world of Swiss watch making.
The First Vintage Watch
With the Clifton in tow, I started to look at other types of mechanical watches. For many beginners like me (also known as people without a trust fund), it meant going down either the path of used watches or vintage.
From the list of watches on my site, you'll know which road I took.
There's something about vintage watches that just draws me to them. The significance of history, the invitation to imagine the back story on the watches, the look of patina on the dial and across the case.
Sure it comes with a few quirks, but a good vintage presents a lot more value and physical attraction that a used watch, and I kind of stuck on that till now.
With more than 100 watches at current count (that group shot is coming soon), I estimate I have about 90% of them vintage, and I'm loving it.
Long Journey Short
With the interest for watches piqued (vintage in particular), I set out to learn as much as I can about watches. I wanted to know how these things worked and how much closer I could get get from knowledge to application.
I got my first few Seiko 5 watches in a bid to learn how to service and repair mechanical watches. I got my hands on some tools and got down to opening the watches, After a few attempts I got to understand how they work, and managed to fix up a few otherwise non-working watches. Then I started to sell those extras so that I can fund more watches.
That marked the first iteration of my websites - a blog that posted up my watches for sale. Quite a bit of my stuff sold locally, and before long I moved on to a slightly higher price bracket.
Before long I got my hands on a few decent pieces, and through the influence of Paypal and eBay I decided to set up a proper eCommerce site, taking the same name as the previous blog - The Vintage Seiko.
Over time the amount of Seiko on my site reduced in number, and I found it strange to still call myself The Vintage Seiko. So I thought a little about the next site and it didn't take me long to decide on Table Top Watches.
The best experiences I've had as a collector were over table tops, talking watches and having good food with fellow enthusiasts - this would be the name of the new site, and the image that I want to set for visitors and like-minded collectors.
Q: So what makes a watch special to you?
Looking at the back stories of the three watches that I've shared, it goes to show that history isn't only reserved for swiss made mechanical watches with populist opinion on several watch blogs and sites.
Whether it's quartz, used or vintage, watches have a special place in my heart - something that I will always look towards when I am in a bad mood or need something to take my mind off the stressed of life.
I suppose the answer to this question would be that a watch is special because it is a watch. Whether you see it as an investment or as an accessory, every watch means something to its owner.
Q: Is there a watch you're currently look for?
I've written about this before - my philosophy of collecting involves not being sucked into the thrill of the hunt.
I instead believe in reading what I can about watches, so that when one good one comes along, I'll be able to make good decision that will end up with me getting a new watch that I can one day sell to get another watch that I see value in.
This way of collecting has led to my setting up of this site, and has also led me to meeting quite a few like-minded collectors.
Q: How much do you think your watch collection will change in the future?
I'm pretty happy with my collection at the moment. While I do prefer the dress watch over a sports one, I don't see this collection moving in either direction. What I can predict is that I will be collecting more precious metals or exquisite examples.
Q: Closing remarks - do you have anything to other collectors out there?
Don't narrow your collection, or your views towards how your collection will grow. There are so many choices out there, with so many ways your love and passion can grow. Extend that mindset and reach, and you will eventually find something to mature into.
Stay tuned for more "From the Collector" profiles!
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