Because it sure isn't an investment.
That leads me to today's topic - why do you buy or collect watches? I hope this post provokes some thought that will help shape your collection; these are also of course my personal view on watch collecting, so please let's discuss and not argue :)
They don't always make good investments
When the topic of vintage watch buying comes around, the topic of buying one as an investment will sure rear it's ugly mug. Now if you've not realized by now, vintage watches don't make good investments.
Not every piece of vintage will skyrocket in value like we see in steel sports models from Rolex or Patek. In fact, there is very much a small bubble for all sorts of vintage that has seen their popularity (and price) rise.
If you also notice, the watches that are being chased after have always been the same old few - the newer ones seldom get accorded the attention. The next big wave will hit when the usual culprits have ran out of supply, and this lends a little speculation on behalf of the collector.
The watches you buy now may not become valuable or desirable. And if you buy one of those now, it'll be on a high, and good luck selling it off for even higher.
They are luxury items
No doubt about this one - mechanical watches are mostly an item of luxury. Try convincing a non-collector to shell out a couple of hundred dollars for a wrist watch and you'll know what I mean.
And because of the nature of luxury, the really "up there" pieces aren't for the common man. I have a saying that annoy my collectors buddy with: "I don't like to look at things that I can't own."
That's when he sends over shots of famous vintages like Heuer Autavias, Weems Navigators or the Dirty Dozens. I know in my heart that I will never be able to afford any of these, and I'm putting my attention to what I can realistically buy.
It's no use going broke for watches as well. Luxury is a privilege, not a right. So bear that in mind when you're considering your next purchase.
They are first and foremost tools
There was a time when I bought a watch to keep. I wanted to hold it in its original condition for as long as possible, allowing its value to appreciate at its maximum potential. The only way the value of that guy could go any higher is if Emily Ratajkowski came and gave it a kiss before I sealed it in the vault.
To be honest I felt really dumb not being able to wear a watch that I owned. And as the days go buy and my email to Ms Ratajkowski not being answered (shocking!) I decided to remove the watch from its dark confines.
And it felt good! Changing the watch strap did give the watch its first scratch, but it really mattered to me that I got to use it for its intended purpose - the chronograph timed my trips to work, the lume let me see the time at night, the dial distracted me during boring meetings.
The point I'm trying to get at is that you should see your watch as something useful - something that you see yourself rotating and wearing and being through life's ups and downs with.
They are your watches, meant for your stories
I cannot stress this enough - our time on this Earth is so limited. All of your watches will last longer than we will, and in some sense we do hold these watches for the next generation (thanks to all the previous owners of my watches for letting me take care of them).
So while I may not know the history of all my watches and where they might have been, I do have total control of what stories I can tell about them from the day they came into my care.
"I wear this one to badminton every Sunday. The dial has taken a slight brown from the use, and I like that every time I shower with it it gets shiny again,"
"This watch I bought new with a buddy of mine. We were celebrating 15 years of friendship and took so long to settle on one watch that we both could accept."
"This watch has never been worn. I keep it in the safe and have listed it for a handsome profit."
And I'm sure most of you can do better than that last one there.
As collectors, watches are a part of our lives, meant to experience your days, go where you go and at times play a larger role that you'd expect them to.
You will bang them about. You will get scratches on them. But they're all yours to tell, to keep, and to pass on.
Don't buy coz everyone's buying. Buy because your heart sings when you look at one.
Happy collecting folks!