02/23/2017
 3 minutes

Watch Collector Types

By Christopher Beccan
DO NOT USE!

Collecting anything inevitably has its ups and downs and of course, collecting watches is no different. That being said, there are different types of watch collectors out there and there are many difficult decisions one must make along the way. There are those who constantly flip watches to get the next one, those who hold on to watches for life, and those who for some unfathomable reason just don’t wear watches anymore. Of course, some would question whether they were ever really collectors to begin with.

The Flipper

IWC Pilot’s Watch Top Gun Miramar
IWC Pilot’s Watch Top Gun Miramar, Image: © Bert Buijsrogge

The flipper watch collector is one of those collectors that constantly feels the need to have something new or different in their collection. However, I’d probably say there are three different categories when it comes to flippers: There are those who will buy a watch, keep it for a good few months or so, and then for no apparent reason decide the watch is no longer for them and just flip it because a newer or more exciting watch has come along.

Then there are those who flip because something else has taken their fancy and they just can’t justify having too many watches in their collection. So they sell one to keep their collection of watches the same size. Lastly, there are serial flippers who seem to fall somewhere between a collector and a dealer, or perhaps a bit of both. That said, it’s not that uncommon for watch collectors to become dealers themselves, due to this constant flipping habit.

Lifelong

Rolex GMT Master History
Rolex GMT Master History, Image: © Bert Buijsrogge

When we say lifelong, we mean those collectors who find the watch they want, are very certain about that watch, buy it without regret or guilt, and then basically don’t ever sell it (well, at least not for a very long time). But of course, they don’t stop there. They keep collecting what they like, when they like, and will seldom part with a watch from their collection. Most of the time when they do, it is only to buy another watch of the same ilk, sometimes even the same watch in better condition.

However, many watch collectors would say that you’re not a real collector unless you’ve at least bought and sold around 10 watches, and you know what, there is definitely some truth in that. When you initially start collecting, there are inevitable mistake buys. It happens to all of us at some point in our collecting journey. There is always that very small hiccup along the road: the impulse buy or the vintage purchase when the watch wasn’t quite right – some of you will know what I mean. After all, these experiences only make you a more astute collector.

That said, being a watch collector has its pitfalls. No matter how many watches you may have in your collection, there is always that “grail watch,” the watch you’d practically part with your entire collection for. Yep, in the watch collecting community we like to call that, “The Exit Watch.” In essence, it means you’d be left with just one watch, but it would be your grail timepiece.

The Non-Wearing Hoarder

Vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre
Vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre, Image: © Bert Buijsrogge

This category of collecting is one that everyone, including me, finds perplexing to say the least: The collector that has amassed a huge collection over many, many years, but no longer wears a watch at all. This often isn’t because the watches in their collection are too precious, but they’ve perhaps gotten tired of wearing mechanical watches or they’ve lost their appeal. However, they still won’t completely get rid of their collection. Does this make them less of a collector? Arguably yes, but every now and then they’ll still collect the odd piece here and there.

Summary

As you can see, collecting watches is full of difficult decisions. Whether you hold on to every single watch you ever buy, constantly flip them to fulfill another purchase, or simply just fall out of love with wearing them, watch collecting should always be fun. At the end of the day, it just matters that you buy what you like and enjoy the watches you’ve collected; collecting watches should always be enjoyable.

Read more about watch collecting:

Vintage Chronograph Collecting

A Watch Collectors Obsession: The Full Set

Watch Collecting – a story of passion


About the Author

Christopher Beccan

Christopher Beccan is the founder of the online magazine "Bexsonn," where he regularly writes about his two passions: extraordinary timepieces and whiskey. His work …

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