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Chiming In: Watches and "Value"

Note: Views expressed in the article are my own.

Like many watch collectors, I too enjoy the occasional podcast or youtube video. Here's where I react to them. I'll try and embed them at the end of the content for those who want to hear the OG video or podcast.

I've heard one too many collectors tell me that a watch with a low price is of a good value, and must be acquired as a result of that. The colloquial expression is "Good price leh, worth it!"

To me, one of the most important skills that a watch collector needs to acquire would be the ability to make decisions based on a set of rules, outside of emotion. Without this set of commandments, one would find themselves spiraling down a stairwell made out of badly purchased watches that you'll see neglected and unsellable.

As I listened to Pete's commentary about a collector's perception of value in watches, I heard myself telling a few of my collector friends about how I judge whether a watch is going to be considered for my collection.

Value to me is an equation (not that I'm good at math though) - the perceived cost of a watch over what you paid for it. Simple as that. Of course more experienced members of the community would argue about the emotional aspects of a certain piece, or judging the potential "sleeper" qualities of a watch.

Would the value inherent in a watch stop you from purchasing your own birth date and year watch?

To that I introduce another form of value - emotional value. If you're buying a piece based on emotion, monetary value really isn't on the weighing scale. A milestone buy is based purely on whether the price is within the acceptable limits - would the monetary value inherent in a watch stop you from purchasing your own birth date and year watch? No, it's price. That form of value only comes in when you want to expose your collection to the possibility of a flip.

If you're not going to sell the watch, the monetary value of a time piece really doesn't matter. Buy what you like, within your personal limits. But for those who are still here and waiting for my take on monetary value in a watch (because watches can be investments, ha!), here are some tips I learned about getting a little more value for the watch you want.

  1. Throw production cost out the window - unless you're intending to buy your own watch factory and make your own watches for $40 a pop, please don't use this basis as comparison.

  2. It doesn't matter how much the previous person paid for the watch - if it does, that owner will probably hate dealing with you. Consider it the last time you'll deal with him.

  3. Always ask questions, nicely - ask about the working condition and type of wear the watch has had. This will let you determine whether you are due for a reasonable discount.

  4. Ask for a price-off, super nicely - sellers are not obligated to give you a discount. Refer to point 2. If they do, then (as far as I'm concerned anyway) it'll be because they liked the experience of dealing with you (so far).

  5. Don't pay above retail - because you won't want to buy a pre-pre-pre-pre owned watch above retail either. And no, you can't compare "retail" across the decades...

  6. Last of all, remember that we're all watch lovers here - don't come in as a watch lover with a set of rules that make you more of a watch dealer. You want to talk like a watch dealer, deal like a watch dealer - those groups of people get good prices off watches because they buy in bulk.

So there you have it - my take on value in watches. It's not easy. but it'll be good to evaluate your choices based on whether you want value, or if you want a something you can look back and remember a milestone in your life with.

In the end, watches are but objects we attach either emotional or monetary value to. The discerning watch collector would do best to differentiate between the two.

Happy collecting.


Reaction to Not So Obvious Watches' YouTube video entitled "A practical example of the problem with value (in watches)"


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