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As a beginner, getting into watches can be an overwhelming experience. It’s easy to get sidetracked and make mistakes as you navigate your way through the vast sea of options available. In the early stages of my own watch buying journey, I made numerous mistakes. Therefore, in this article, I want to revisit a topic that I covered many years ago and refresh it with a new perspective for 2022.
Beginner Watch Buying Mistakes: Common Misconceptions and How to Avoid Them
In this article, I will delve into beginner watch buying mistakes and provide helpful information and tips to guide you on your watch buying journey. While I have previously discussed concepts such as the philosophy of collecting and the thought process one should have while starting a watch collection, this article will focus more on the alignment of what some of the common misconceptions and mistakes are that new buyers make when looking to purchase a watch.
The first mistake that most beginners make is having unrealistic expectations of accuracy. When you enter the watch industry, you are coming into a world that deals with technology and types of art form that does not necessarily appeal to the greatest modern innovations. Therefore, as a new buyer, you may have preconceived ideas of what to expect from your new watch in terms of accuracy. It is reasonable to assume that you can expect your watch to be fairly accurate; however, most people do not know what is deemed acceptable when it comes to accuracy.
For instance, let us take the Mioda entry-level option, which is popular and found in many watches under 500. The range of deviation here is -20 to +40 seconds a day. Even with a Swiss-made standard grade at 28 24, you are looking at +/-12 to +/-30 seconds a day. In most cases, what happens is that new buyers say their watch is 30 seconds fast a day and think there is something wrong with the movement. However, the reality is that there is nothing wrong with these movements. This is just the range of deviation for these affordable watches.
If accuracy is crucial to you, look for certifications from COSC master chronometer and any internal testing standards quoted by the manufacturer. If not, then you must set your expectations correctly and realize that affordable watches are mass-produced and, therefore, have varying levels of accuracy. Mechanical watches’ accuracy should not be your number one priority, but rather the overall aesthetic and feel of the watch.
Falling into the “big names” trap
A fashion timepiece is a watch created by a brand that primarily focuses on products other than watches, such as apparel companies that also produce a limited range of watches. Examples include Michael Kors, Diesel, and so on.
Additionally, there are firms that manufacture significantly overpriced (often quartz) watches that border on being considered “fashion watches,” despite their primary focus being on watches.
These companies often use inexpensive components that can cost as little as a few tens of dollars. Occasionally, they may purchase a low-cost Chinese watch from an online store, rebrand it with their logo, and resell it at an exorbitant price.
My issue isn’t with individuals enjoying or wearing these watches. Some of them have an appealing aesthetic, which attracts certain consumers.
In fact, a Fossil watch was one of my initial timepieces, and it served as a stepping stone for my deeper exploration of mechanical watches. So, there’s no animosity here. These watches can be an excellent introduction and spark interest in the world of horology.
The reason to be cautious when purchasing fashion watches is that their prices tend to be significantly inflated due to branding and marketing efforts.
My intention is to encourage people to be aware of what they’re investing in and make informed decisions. Companies dedicated to producing watches typically allocate more resources to research, development, and quality components, which ultimately results in greater value for your money.
Considering watches as an investment
The second common mistake is thinking that an affordable watch or any watch, in general, is going to appreciate in value and be an investment. While it is not impossible for a watch to appreciate in value, only 2 to 3 percent of the watch market is capable of such appreciation. This is unlike other forms of investment where there is a higher chance of appreciation. When you buy a watch, chances are it will dip in value immediately. Some watches will hold their value, but most will not. Only a few brands are responsible for seeing any type of appreciation in the market, such as Rolex, AP, Patek, and other independent brands like Richard Mille and FP Journe.
However, there is no proof that this trend will continue as we move forward in the watch market. Therefore, it is vital to understand that watches mostly act like the car market instead of being a form of investment. For beginners, investing in watches is like investing in penny stocks. Although you can make money with some of them, it is rare. Therefore, consider all these factors before you invest your hard-earned money into a watch.
Discarding vintage watches as they are “old”
In my teenage years, when I was less experienced and knowledgeable, I regrettably passed on my grandfather’s vintage Seiko 5 watch. At that time, I didn’t wear watches and hadn’t grasped the sentimental value they could hold. I often lament not keeping that watch, but fortunately, it remains within the family, and my brother is now its proud owner.
Setting aside the sentimental aspect, vintage watches possess a unique charm. Some may perceive the signs of aging, such as scratches, patina on the case, dial, hands, and crystal, as ‘unclean.’ However, for watch enthusiasts, these markers of time’s passage make a timepiece even more appealing. They add character and uniqueness to the watch, narrating the owner’s experiences, travels, and adventures.
Furthermore, these signs of aging reflect authenticity since lower-quality, poorly made watches don’t age with the same elegance. When it comes to luxury vintage watches, like Rolex and Omega, these characteristics increase their desirability and, in many cases, enhance their resale value.
Thinking a watch lives his own life
Lastly, many beginners tend to overlook servicing their watches. It is essential to know that a watch is a piece of machinery that needs maintenance. If you do not service your watch, it will eventually fail, and this will result in costly repairs, which will only lead to further frustration in the long run.
Therefore, ensure that you regularly service your watch, depending on the brand and the type of movement. Some brands recommend servicing every two to three years, while others suggest every five years. It is crucial to follow the recommended servicing schedule to ensure that your watch remains in good condition and maintains its accuracy.
In conclusion, by avoiding the common mistakes that many new watch buyers make, you can have a more enjoyable and fulfilling watch buying journey. Ensure that you set realistic expectations of your watch’s accuracy, do not invest in watches as though it is a form of investment, and remember to service your watch regularly. Watches are not just accessories; they are significant investments that deserve care and attention.
So before you make your next watch purchase, use this guide to help you navigate the watch market and elevate your watch buying experience.