The Life of a Collector Whats Next: Adding To Your Collection

Josh's Grail Watch: Van Cleef Poetry

So you already have your first nice watch. Maybe you even procured a second, perhaps a dress watch, or more of an occasion piece. The question rattling around in your head is “where do I go from here?” How do I properly build a collection? How can I make sure I’m not being frivolous or making the wrong decision?

Choosing Your Next Luxury Watch

Whenever a customer proposes a similar question to me, I always respond somewhere along the lines of “make sure you fall in love first.” Sure, you could go through the ins and outs of what should comprise a serious watch collection. A couple of complicated Pateks (preferably vintage), a vintage Daytona or two, a Journe, etc. etc.

Sometimes I play a game where I pretend like I have unlimited funds, and I make a list of ten watches (and only ten) that would represent my entire collection. That list is different every single time, yes, the same piece or two seem to make it on every list. But on the whole, the lists vary quite drastically. Honestly, I can’t tell you what you “should” buy next. There’s arguments to be made for certain watches over others, but who am I to tell you what you should or would enjoy the most.

Take Your Time

Explore as many options as possible. Don’t be in a hurry to build a collection. I would much rather have a smaller collection of pieces that I’m absolutely enamored with, than a giant collection of watches that I’m kind of “meh” about. We take in a lot of trades, often time’s big lots of watches from collectors that are looking to consolidate their collection, and refine it to reflect their true tastes. Don’t be afraid to ask questions before you buy.

I can’t tell you how often I have collectors bring a number of pieces in to me and say something to the effect of “I really wish I had started collecting X instead of just buying everything I was told to buy.” Times are different, the watch sales world has completely changed. The old-school, used car salesman approach is borderline useless nowadays. It’s exceedingly difficult to “push” a customer into a sale, not to mention it makes me feel gross.

Jon's Grail Watch Monopoussier Chronograph

Do Research

There’s a wealth of knowledge and resources out there nowadays. All it takes is a couple minutes on the internet to find out pretty much anything you would like to know about almost any watch. I will always try my best to give a customer as much information, and as many options as possible. I’d rather a sale take a bit longer, but be much more meaningful. Sure maybe that’s not the most efficient technique to improve the bottom line, but it goes exponentially further when it comes to developing a long-lasting relationship.

Whether you’re doing you shopping on your own, or in the hands of a trusted sales associate, take your time. Examine a number of watches, take pictures of them on your wrist and store them on your cell phone (hint: our app has a watch box to keep them in one place), weigh the pros and cons. Eventually one or two will come to the fore-front. Sometimes you can’t even really explain your attachment to them. There’s just a certain feeling you get when you look at it on your wrist. And that feeling, above all else, is what gives a luxury timepiece its most value. That feeling can offset even the steepest of costs at times, and it doesn’t go away.

My Next Watch

So what gives me that feeling right now? What’s next for me? For right now it’s an Omega Speedmaster Alaska Project. Yes it’s somewhat collectible/desirable, it’s not a poor investment by any stretch (at the right price of course), and I probably won’t get hurt in the long run by owning one. Could that ~$5,000 (hopefully much less of course) be better spent elsewhere?

Omega Speedmaster Alaska Project Limited Edition

Investment wise, probably. I could pick up a complete Submariner in great condition somewhere and probably get a better immediate return, much more quickly than I ever could with the Speedy. But I don’t care. I tried on the Alaska Project once, and it’s been lodged in my brain ever since. I have to have it. It was the wallpaper on my laptop for a period of time.

I’ve pestered coworkers repeatedly asking if they thought it was the right choice, and to be on the lookout for one for me. I know that when the day inevitably comes that I’m an owner of that Speedy, I’ll get that invaluable feeling of satisfaction, joy, and pride. I’ll feel like I’ve accomplished something (in reality, I’ve only accomplished depleting some funds from my bank account).

Hunt for that feeling, and not for the “right” watch.

About Alan Strassler
After trying on his father's two-tone Submariner, Alan knew he loved watches. It amazed him that somehow gears and tiny little pieces of metal, barely seen bye the naked eye, could make his watch work. His father tried to explain it to him, but he didn't get it. He understands now, and he's hooked. He currently owns a Breitling Chronomat 01, a Rolex Explorer 1 (39mm), an AP Diver, and his grandfather's vintage Longines. He plans on getting a Speedy next (although there seems to be almost too many to choose from). His current grail watch is the FP Journe 10 year Anniversary Tourbillon. Find Alan at the Rittenhouse Square Location.

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