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How long does it take before you decide to sell a watch?

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  • How long does it take before you decide to sell a watch?

    Hi All
    How long do you usually wait before deciding that a watch does not click with you and it's time to let it go?
    In my limited experience, I've noticed that if I don't like the watch at a first glance, it is very likely that I will eventually grow tired of it.
    Part of the problem is buying online without seeing the piece in person and getting hyped by reviews that are often too enthusiastic

    In any case, I'd like to pick your brain since you guys have a lot more experience than me on this matter

    Thank you!
    Last edited by lepo76; 13-01-21, 21:12.

  • #2
    Hm, often new things don't necessarily look cool to start, then over time as you see them more they grow on you.
    Harlan
    Timekeeper Watch Club
    New Zealand, Pacific Ocean, Earth

    Comment


    • retlaw4
      retlaw4 commented
      Editing a comment
      Agreed. I didn't really like Doxa when I initially saw them. But months later, I just kept researching them and eventually buying mine. Now I can't get enough of the Doxa aesthetic.

  • #3
    Good question lepo - I find for myself that if I consciously notice I am not wearing a watch very much over a period then I’ll often consider selling it. Before this though, I will try and wear it a bit more as quite often I will wear something I haven’t worn in a long time and I sort of ‘rediscover’ why I liked it in the first place, sort of like Harlan has said above. If this doesn’t happen though then it is a candidate to be moved on.

    For example I have considered selling my Raketa “Big Zero” more than once – it’s a weird watch that doesn’t get worn too much in comparison to others I have. But it’s a bit of an icon from an area of watchmaking I’m really interested in and every time I do wear it for a while the oversized numerals and stubby hands put a smile on my face and know that I’d miss it when it was gone, and I’d just have to scour eBay for another one .

    I'd say that if a watch isn't doing anything for me after 3 or 4 months even after coming back to it and trying to wear it more regularly then that is the point I will list it for sale somewhere.



    G

    Comment


    • #4
      Originally posted by lepo76 View Post
      How long does it take before you decide to sell a watch?
      I think when you ask this question, you sort of half know how varied the responses will be ...The question does also assume that selling a watch is an inevitable course of action, and while this is true for many collectors, it may surprise you that not everyone ends up selling.

      During the early-1990s, I purchased my first new watch with my own money, a few more used watches followed in the mid-90s. I was not part of any watch collecting circle, there were no online auction sites, no watch forums, no Internet. The idea of being able to sell watches as a private individual was very foreign to those like me at the time, so I could only labour hard and save hard for those tiny new machines, even more of which I bought in the late-90s and early-00s. Of course, each one of those had to be better than the previous.

      Only after joining the forums around 2003 did the idea of putting my old watches for sale to other enthusiasts become a possibility. I made the first sale around 2004 and first ones through eBay a couple of years later. The sole reason for selling, then, was for money to help fund further acquisitions, and it was more a necessity in order to keep moving on than out of growing tired ect. In the last 17 years, I have owned, and subsequently sold, over three hundred watches and counting (or ticking ).

      On Timekeeper, I know of at least two members who have bought watches for nearly a decade but never sell them, or have yet to. I also have a couple of watch collecting friends in New Zealand, outside the forum, who own impressive collections, but have not sold a single watch. One, in South Island, has well over a hundred of prime, collectible, and highly desirable pieces—I would even dare to say the best watch collection in NZ—none of which we see because he is neither on forums, nor has ever put any up for sale. For these collectors, the decision whether to sell has never been reached, so for them, that point you seek to understand never arrives.

      Back to me... fortunately/unfortunately, we trade our youth for financial stability. I no longer sell watches to help cover the next one, but purely out of balancing the conflicting need to explore/experience and attempting to maintain discipline to the ideals that I value, watch-wise. In buying, I realize that my strengths are also my nemesis. Knowledge, experience, and connections now give me almost unlimited reach to buy any number of watch. I can own whatever I want (though to qualify, I am lucky enough to not want things I can’t afford), but the process of doing so can dilute the essence of the collection that I have.

      For me personally today, I place voluntary self-restrictions on what I own—how many, what types, how I wear them—and currently, have a more or less 1-in-1-out policy. I have found that this approach, though painful at times, brings a lot of meaning to what I choose to have in the box. It becomes not only a conscious deliberate choice, but one that costs me more than just the money I paid to obtain that new piece—it costs me one other watch that then needs to leave the box. When I consider a watch purchase, whether new or used, the most important aspect of the decision now becomes whether there is an existing watch in my box that I am willing to give up to own this new crush.

      With every passing year, the answer has more frequently been “no”.

      For others collecting, it will be different, and to help you find your path, here are some questions that you can perhaps mull over. Know though that the answers to these, for you, will change and evolve over your watch journey, with other questions formulated by you added over time.

      Do you need a limit to your watch collection?

      If so, will your limit be based on headcount, type, monetary value, or a combination of these?

      Will you consider frequency of use as a factor in determining what watches you keep or sell?
      This relates to the fact that people's collection focus varies. Those who collect, say, very old and fragile vintages, perhaps pieces from the 1940s/50s, cannot be expected to wear their collection piece as often as another enthusiast who owns divers manufactured within the last few few years.

      Please know too that, over time, many seasoned buyers have bought, sold, and repurchased either the exact same or similar model of watch for a variety of reasons. That is, what is “not quite right” for you now could become “absolutely ideal” for you further down the road—and vice versa! In my own boxes, over half of the watches there currently are certainly those that I have had and sold previously, either the same model or one close to it.

      My parting thought is that watches can be like relationships. There can be fun, joyful, don’t-be-too-serious ones, sure. But relationships that took effort to build, time to nourish and grow, and that required certain sacrifice, are the ones that are—regardless whether they last—the most fulfilling and meaningful.
      Last edited by Don; 12-01-21, 17:27.
      On the instruments we entrust to pace our lives, to bear witness to our days, and to be the keepers of the most precious thing we have... time.

      Comment


      • #5
        This year I'm monitoring exactly what I wear each day to not only to determine which watches are getting worn the least, but which watches i'm drawn to/match my lifestyle. Although I've got one watch going up for sale very soon (when I get around to taking pics), I don't see myself selling anything else this year before my tally project is complete.

        But to answer your question, typically I'd wait 12 months before selling a piece that I found was no longer doing it for me. Though there have been times when I've purchased used watches online and found them to be in worse condition when than I expected when they arrive - so i'll want to get rid of them almost immediately. I have this thing about cutting out any "fat" in my collection as when I sit and view them all, the "fat" just irritates the hell out me.

        For me, deciding to sell a piece also depends on what the market is doing: I have often battled with the other half to keep buying watches but can get away with it if I can prove that I'll (she and I) at least break even if not make a little profit...

        Currently I'm aiming to have about a 12-14 watch collection and I'll eventually (hopefully) take on the 1 in 1 out method that Don mentioned above.

        Comment


        • #6
          Great question. Much has been covered by others. One criteria I have is: if I was to sell, how easy would it be for me to purchase a replacement, if I realised Iater that i had made a mistake
          'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder' - but lets face it some people have better eyesight than others!

          Comment


          • #7
            Thank you guys! as usual very useful

            Harlan I agree that often things grow on you and this is part of the dilemma.

            I will try to answer Don's questions as an exercise and perhaps as a way to continue this conversation


            Do you need a limit to your watch collection?

            Yes

            If so, will your limit be based on headcount, type, monetary value, or a combination of these?

            Headcount and type. The "mistake" I've made was to have two Hamilton field watches which are pretty similar, and I feel like that is a bit redundant. Now I don't mind having two watches of the same type as long as they belong to two different price brackets. Eg: a beater diver and a luxury diver. This way I can be sure each watch in my collection has a purpose and will eventually get some wrist time
            I guess, and this pretty much answers the following question, I don't like to have a watch sitting there not getting much use,

            Will you consider frequency of use as a factor in determining what watches you keep or sell?

            Yes unless the watch has a sentimental meaning or it was a gift, in which case, especially for vintage, it is ok to leave the watch alone and only wear it on special occasions.


            Retlaw4,
            12 months is a good time, you will know for sure after that. I am not as patient so I usually act out of impulse, that is why I wanted to gather your thoughts

            Comment


            • #8
              For me it's been very specific to the watch itself and I guess it's on a 'needs-wants' basis. It has varied from as little as a few days right up to probably 2 years. I'll give you a coupe of examples:

              Through this fantastic little community I've had the opportunity to try a few watches without purchasing them. The most recent one of them was the Bulova moon watch. This was a watch that I had really liked for quite sometime, both in it's function and appearance so when I was offered a chance to try one before committing to a purchase I jumped at it. When it arrived I popped it out of the box and was happy that it looked as good in the flesh as it did on screen, but pretty much as soon as I put it on my wrist I knew it wasn't for me. Due to the combination of my funky wrist and the size and shape of the watch it just didn't sit right. I tried it on multiple different straps and wore it for a few days just to make sure, but my initial assessment was right and I sent it back. I wasn't actually that disappointed either as it was just uncomfortable and didn't sit well at all. It would be much more disappointing to try something on that looks and feels amazing, but is unaffordable. At the other end of the spectrum was the Seiko Spork that I had for almost a couple of years. Pretty much as soon as I got it I knew that I'd have my work cut out for me finding a strap or bracelet that would have it fitting nicely on my wrist, but I loved it so much that I persevered for probably a couple of years (can't remember how long exactly, but I'd be able to work it out). I did find a couple of options that worked quite well - a Zulu strap, the MM300 rubber, the Z22 FV and the original bracelet with the non-dive clasp, but in the end none of them were good enough that I was happy to keep the watch.

              I sleep easy knowing that most of my decisions to sell must have been right in the end as I don't really miss any of the watches I've sold and I don't regret any of the sales (I probably regret a few purchases more than sales). Occasionally I feel like my watch box is missing a certain type of watch, but not necessarily a specific watch that I've sold. At the moment I don't have any vintage Seikos, and I've had some really iconic vintage Seikos over the years, most of which I've bought and sold for less than 50% of what they're going for these days, but I try not to dwell on that too much. So while I'm not lusting after anything specific at the moment a vintage Seiko may well be the next thing that I go looking for..... or not.

              Comment


              • #9
                Thanks lepo for asking this question. This was one of the questions that has been on my mind for a long time. And the answers are really helpful! Thanks everyone! :-)

                Comment


                • #10
                  Great conversation, and one that makes me realize how factors that determine why we choose not to own something is often more insightful than those of why we choose to do so.


                  Originally posted by retlaw4 View Post
                  ...I have this thing about cutting out any "fat" in my collection as when I sit and view them all, the "fat" just irritates the hell out me.

                  For me, deciding to sell a piece also depends on what the market is doing: I have often battled with the other half to keep buying watches but can get away with it if I can prove that I'll (she and I) at least break even if not make a little profit...

                  I like retlaw4’s “fat”-cutting analogy, and if I’m allowed to borrow the parallel, I will say that I too am after a lean but still well-toned collection

                  The “break even” comment also prompted me to think that—referencing my early watch years as relayed in Post#4—one major turning point in my collecting occurred in the mid-00s. In the decade and a half leading to that point, I viewed watch collecting as something that necessitated spending heaps of money—not unlike hobbies in classic cars, motorbikes, or shooting sports, all unavoidably costly activities. Like a lot of men, I saw watches as belonging to that set, and parting with hard-earn cash was almost a must in order to be admitted into “the club”.

                  It was only around 15 years ago that I managed to escape this mindset, and found, to my surprise, that it is possible to collect, enjoy, and constantly upgrade watches without it draining my bank account. That is, provided you are willing to put in the hard work. From then on, I no longer accepted that watches must only be money traps. It was liberating, and for me, a real game changer. What retlaw4 is doing is what I would term protecting one’s capital.


                  Originally posted by lepo76 View Post
                  Do you need a limit to your watch collection?
                  Yes

                  Awesome! We can continue ...First, I cannot foretell the future, and much less, your future. So, please read the following as if I were a travel guide, writing from a place you “might” visit in a few years’ time. I’m writing about what you might see when you arrive, but you must make that journey yourself.

                  You might not ever come here, and even if you do, you may not see these things I describe. But that’s what a travel guide is.


                  Originally posted by lepo76 View Post
                  ...The "mistake" I've made was to have two Hamilton field watches which are pretty similar, and I feel like that is a bit redundant. Now I don't mind having two watches of the same type as long as they belong to two different price brackets. Eg: a beater diver and a luxury diver. This way I can be sure each watch in my collection has a purpose and will eventually get some wrist time…

                  You and I are similar in that we want our collection to have variety and be diverse. The important thing to realize is that ours is only one approach to collecting. “Diversify” is our preference and what we value, but is not the only way. Some collectors “specialize”, and if you visit sub-forums of Watchuseek, e.g. Chinese Mechanical Watches or Russian Watches, or go to the Rolex Forums, Omega Forums, or MRW Forum, you’ll meet many enthusiasts who specialize rather than diversify. These WIS pick a particular category or brand and just concentrate on collecting those.

                  A Hamilton military watch collector may hunt down all variants of US-issued MIL-W-46374 from the mid-1960s through to late-80s. A Seiko dive watch collector might own the original SKX Monsters in all dial colours including the limited editions colours, despite all being essentially the same watch. Enthusiasts who specialize are useful to the collecting community in that they usually have in-depth knowledge about their particular niche. They are usually the ones who write books, and today, online watch media and social media tend to favour and credit those who specialize.

                  However, when you specialize and concentrate too much on details, you lose the big picture, i.e. where your watch fits in to the grand scheme of things becomes of less interest to you. Collectors who diversify usually understand the big picture better, and thus have insight. Unfortunately, on the Internet platform, insight generally doesn’t sell among the mainstream enthusiasts.


                  Originally posted by lepo76 View Post
                  If so, will your limit be based on headcount, type, monetary value, or a combination of these?
                  Headcount and type…

                  When one starts out in watches, the categories that one is initially exposed to is one of Style or Application. Watches are often divided into Gent’s Watch, Dress Watch, Sports Watch, and Diver’s Watch. There is generally a confusion about some of these, with folks using the types loosely. Many tend to mix up Gent’s and Dress watches, for instance, but most know that chronographs are in the Sports watch category (except when it is also a diver).

                  Up to the 1980s, dive watches were considered a tool, but within the last four decades, they have increasingly being worn as Sports watch. Digital watches have mostly been sports watches. Another category is Military Watches, covering military-issued watches and their civilian versions, but not military-style or military-inspired watches, most of which are Sports watches.

                  In a few years’ time, though, types or categories that you yourself see now as being fixed could be seen from other perspectives, by a different pair of eyes belonging to the future you ...Here are some other methods of categorization that you may come to adopt, and used to group your watches.

                  Categorize by Movement Technology
                  - Manual Winding Watches – Automatic Watches – Electric Watches – Quartz Watches – Quartz-base Solar Watches, including Eco-Drive – Quartz-base Watches with winding rotor (Kinetic) – Spring Drive Watches - Quartz-based Radio Wave/GPS Watches ...Goes down even further: mechanical movements can be grouped by frequency (beat rate), automatics can be divided into method of self-winding, and quartz movements can be regular, High-Accuracy Quartz (HAQ), or Mecaquartz. Both mechanical and quartz can be certified as chronometers.

                  Categorized by Mechanical Complications
                  - Chronographs – GMT/Dual Time Zone - Power Reserve – Retrograde – Moon phase – Alarm – Tourbillonand many more beyond the regular 3-hand with Day/Date. Chronographs can be further broken into hand-winding and automatic chronographs, else by being a column wheel chronograph or a cam-actuated one.

                  Categorized by Era or Vintage
                  - VintageModern – or by different Eras… There are advantages and disadvantages to owning vintage watches, i.e. those 25 years or older. Some people collect only recent models of watches, made late-1990s onward, and some (though fewer) collect only vintages. Most people have a mix of both, and a number of these folks find the mix or proportion between the two that is optimal for their watch habits. My own preferred ratio between modern and vintage is 2:1, but you will have your own ratio that works for you.

                  Categorized by Origin
                  - SwissJapaneseChineseRussian ...German, as long as one understands what that actually implies. American, if one is collecting pre-1970 vintages. Perhaps “Global” should also be added, as this is the proper classification for all the micro-brands out there. For me, Origin ties heavily into the history that leads up to and propels the present, so the Origin category is my own top-tier classification.

                  Categorized by Case Material
                  - Stainless Steel – Gold – Titanium – Black PVD/IP-coating – Bronze – Resin (e.g. Casio G-Shock)… Gold can be solid, plated, or capped.

                  Categorized by Dial Colour, Brand Luxury Status, and many others “buckets”

                  So, coming back to your two Hamilton Khaki, yes, they may indeed feel, at present, similar and redundant, but that is just your eyes now. Others looking at them will say that one is a Swiss Gent’s or Sports automatic military-themed watch, while the other is a Swiss manual-wind homage remake of their 1970s military-issued pilot’s watch. The latter could be classed as a civilian version of a military watch, and could be collected among military watch enthusiasts, but not really the former. In my eyes, they are two very different watches that share a theme


                  Originally posted by lepo76 View Post
                  ...I don't like to have a watch sitting there not getting much use,
                  Yes, I am very conscious of this myself. A friend of mine once referred to his own large collection as an “orphanage” of watches. But again, this is just our choice of value, and there are others who collect watches like collecting stamps or match boxes, neither of which are ever brought out to use. I have a friend who likes to collect New Old Stock (NOS) Japanese watches that are either vintage or discontinued. He doesn’t ever wear those watches, because doing so, he claimed, took away their NOS status and value (true).

                  For the rest of us though, what we determine to be “sitting there not getting much use” is different for each person. For my own watches, the one most frequently worn gets wrist time, on average, twice a week. The watches least worn—and there are quite a few—gets to come out only once per month. And no, not all are of these have sentimental value. Rather, they are intentionally worn less because of their age (late-1950s to late-1960s, and one mid-80s), subsequent vulnerability to the elements (no longer water-resistant), and potential difficulty of obtaining case parts for damage repair.

                  For me, one day per month is the minimum to qualify as enough “use”. If my qualifying threshold were to be one day per week for every watch, then I think I could only own, maybe, seven pieces. Others’ and your own minimum point will be different from mine. If, like me, you were to also buy some watches to keep as long-term investment, i.e. to sell in the future apart from what you consider to be yours, then these may be exempted from the said threshold. You make the rules.


                  Originally posted by LeroyC View Post
                  I sleep easy knowing that most of my decisions to sell must have been right in the end as I don't really miss any of the watches I've sold and I don't regret any of the sales (I probably regret a few purchases more than sales). Occasionally I feel like my watch box is missing a certain type of watch, but not necessarily a specific watch that I've sold...

                  I identify with what Leroy said here, and the way that I frame it is that there are reasons of the head, and there are reasons of the heart. Blaise Pascal wrote (translated from French)

                  "The heart has its reasons, which reason does not know... We know the truth not only by the reason, but by the heart."

                  We certainly feel this with watches, and some watches, despite many valid reasons and rationality to include them in our collection, just doesn’t appeal to our hearts. We don’t know why... but perhaps we are not suppose to know why. Brands, in particular luxury brands, understand this well, and try to create discrete messages to appeal to reasons of our hearts. However, the phenomenon I’ve observed with buyers, myself included, is that the more one knows about watches, the more one try to justify one’s purchase with logical reasoning of the head, when in fact, the decision to part with the cash was mainly a reason of the heart.

                  The more one specializes one’s collecting and the more one is loyal to a brand, the more one tends to justify that a purchase is all a fully in-control, well-calculated rationale made objectively in the head. This is in no way implying that reasons of the heart should be avoided—I don’t even believe it can be—but that we should be conscious of and accept that the reasons we have are often just ones unconsciously derived from our hearts.
                  Last edited by Don; 14-01-21, 21:29.
                  On the instruments we entrust to pace our lives, to bear witness to our days, and to be the keepers of the most precious thing we have... time.

                  Comment


                  • lepo76
                    lepo76 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Gosh there are some categories that I've never taken into account ... and that opens up a new way of looking at the collection
                    I am sure my ideas and taste will evolve as well as my understating of horology, but for now I feel strongly about keeping the number at bay and making sure to enjoy and wear what I have.

                  • Don
                    Don commented
                    Editing a comment
                    That's a good direction to take, lepo76
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