Like all eccentric hobbies, watch collecting can often be difficult to substantiate to those outside the club. Many people simply don’t harbour the same level of appreciation for timepieces as you or I. Many view the traditional wristwatch as outdated, basing its value solely on its inherent function, whilst completely overlooking its form. No matter how hard we may try to explain, many will never understand the intricate craftsmanship that goes into so many timepieces or the endless hours spent creating them, the sheer rarity, beauty or history that a piece may possess. Let alone the time and effort spent researching, locating and of course obtaining these wearable works of art. But unlike you and I, they will never experience the satisfaction of adding another piece to the collection, the cool weight of a prized timepiece in your hands, or the thrill of the hunt when you finally track down the one you’ve been wanting for years.
Every person’s journey into the world of watch collecting is unique. For some of us, it started with a hand me down by our fathers/Grandfathers, for others, it may have been catching the glint of a watch on the wrist on an idol, an appreciation of fine jewellery, or an inherent love for all things luxury. As a result, everyone’s collections, be they real or on your mental wish’ List (or both. Probably both) is different.
A watch collection can be made up of as many or as few pieces as you like but we think we have found the sweet spot. The four watch collection. Four watches each within their own category that will serve you well in almost all situations, depending on your personal style as well. This Is a collection that can grow and change with you, we are not saying one should always only have four pieces, far from it. A starting guide but also sometimes a fun thought game to play with yourself or other enthusiasts. What would be your 4 watch collection if you had; $2000? $20,000? $200,000?
So what are the four categories?
The clearest cut, the diving watch is a modern staple. Originally made for the military and scuba diving, most have transitioned to be an everyday watch that is built to last and ready for anything. Features generally include at least 100m water resistance, a rotating bezel and a rugged case. There is a diving watch for every budget and some with a real cult following including the Seiko SKX007, Omega Seamaster, Rolex Submariner and Blancpain fifty-fathoms. All of which are classics in their field that have shaped all other divers to follow them.
The Sports watch is a lot more open of a category. Now I am not talking about a Garmin or Fitbit. A sports watch is a stylish and more casual piece with some energetic flare while serving a distant purpose. Often donned with a chronograph or GMT. The most classic example of the sports watch is the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona or GMT Master II. The Omega Speedmaster or Zenith El-primero also fit here. All very Popular timeless pieces that look great in almost any situation.
What is a staple watch? A staple watch is anything that shows you are into watches and can serve as a conversation piece. This can be anything from an interesting limited edition, a vintage version of a favourite diving or sports watch or something in a prestigious manufactures collection that hasn’t always seen mainstream success but rather niche popularity. This is a piece that shows, to quote Mr Mayer, ‘ oh he’s got some heavy hitters at home.’ Some personal favourite examples include the Audemars Piguet Yvette Klein Blue limited edition. Rolex 16718 Solid Gold GMT Master II with jubilee bracelet. IWC Big Pilot 5002 or pretty much any Aquanaut you can get your hands on.
The last category is innovation, this is a piece that supports the ever-expanding edge of watchmaking. Something that is different and shows that you have an appreciation for the weird and wonderful world that is Horology. The Bulova Aqutron, introduced in 1960, is a great example. Brands like Urwerk or De Buthune all the way to the AP concept or Piaget Altiplano. Also, take this section as an opportunity to look at the exciting independent watchmakers outside of Switzerland
The four watch collection is something that can grow and change with you but also can fit any occasion, be it a formal dinner or a get together with your local watch community. Do you think that there is a category that should be changed or tweaked please let us know!