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Feature: 5 More Watches You Should Avoid

If you’ve been watching these videos then there’s a high chance that sooner or later you’re going to buy a watch. Maybe it’ll be your first, and doubtful it will be your last; either way, it’s a decision that requires careful deliberation before jumping into. Easier said than done, however, so let us do some of the hard work for you and leave you to enjoy the rest: and by that I mean here is a list of five more watches that you should avoid.

The Watch You Think You Need

When you want something, it’s easy to convince yourself that you need it. An engine with a bit more power will help you overtake quicker, safer, for instance. A bigger TV to counter your fading eyesight, perhaps. Let’s be clear: we don’t need these things, and we certainly don’t need a watch. We want one, and that’s good enough. As they say, we only live once.

But there’s another level to this confusion of want versus need, and that’s the requirement of a particular function within a watch that just isn’t necessary. I am of course talking about water resistance. Going swimming? You don’t need 300m. You might think you do, but really, you barely need thirty. Unless you’re going to be bothering the Titanic, you can drop the requirement for extreme water resistance from your wish list, avoid those watches altogether and open yourself up to a much wider selection.

Now don’t get me wrong: if you want a watch with 300m of water resistance, you go for it. Why not make it 1,000m? So long as you know that the necessity of a dive watch for some light splashing is just a myth, you’ll be sure to find a watch that ticks the right boxes—and not the boxes you think you need.

The Watch You’re Not Prepared For

It’s rather appealing, the vintage thing. Hand wound, too. They’ve both got a ring to them that really sells the whole watch enthusiast ethos. Man and machine, for generations, giving life to this thing we call time. Or at least it sounds good in theory, because if you don’t go into it with your eyes open, you could end up regretting it.

Take vintage watch ownership for example. It’s amazing to think that we can own and use a device created decades and even centuries ago that still works just like the day it was new—only, that’s never quite the case. A vintage diver that’s been polished a few times too many can have microscopic holes opened up in the steel, for example, letting in water when you wear in it the sea.

Or even just the delicacy of age, breaking down paint and fading colours. In some cases, this can be desirable, but it’ll be a shock if you’re not expecting it. Watches have evolved in such a subtly dramatic way that it’s easy to forget just how long ago the 1960s really was—and how technology has changed in the meantime. For many collectors, this aging—this history—is all part of the story the watch has to tell, the source of the nostalgic appeal vintage has, but you need to go into it with your eyes open.

Even winding your watch every other morning can take its toll. Fun the first time, perhaps, maybe even for a week, but then you start to forget, or it becomes a chore. Now, none of this may be the case for you, but it’s a consideration worth making before it’s too late. If you’re not prepared for the watch you’re buying, you could well ruin the entire experience—and that’s best avoided.

The Watch Your Head Wants But Heart Doesn’t

Say you wrote down a list of all the things you wanted in a watch—for example, it has to be around 40mm, a dive watch, made from steel, have a vintage aesthetic, an in-house automatic movement and be less than £3,000—and then you find something that ticks that list off perfectly … but you just don’t like it. Well, it’s not that you don’t like it, more that it doesn’t warm the cockles of your heart in the right way, or indeed, at all.

But, your brain might be saying to you, it ticks all the boxes. It makes a good point. If not the watch that does everything you ever wanted it to do, then what? Perhaps you have your eye on a quartz watch; you really like how it looks, like the provenance, even like the movement—but your brain says no.

Well ignore your brain, at least partially, because you’ve got to let your heart have a say, too. That watch that ticks all those boxes but leaves you cold? Give it a miss. The quartz watch you keep going back to that ticks a bunch of those boxes and also makes you feel feelings again—don’t overlook it.

It’s been said once already, and it bears repeating: these watches are things we want, not need, so as sensible as it seems to buy the watch that does everything right on paper, it’s rarely the right decision. Don’t let cold logic steer your decision without the warmth of feeling giving it a gentle nudge in the right direction, or you could end up with a watch you’d have rather avoided.

The Watch That’s Available Now But Isn’t The One You Want

So we’ve established before that buying a watch you can afford now versus the one you’re saving for is only going to end in a lighter wallet overall as the inevitable happens and you end up with the one you did want anyway—but there’s another level to this conundrum that often goes overlooked.

Say you can afford the watch you want, but it just isn’t available. There’s a waiting list, or simply none on the market to purchase. You know it’s the one you want, and you’ve got the cash for it burning a hole in your pocket, weighing you down and reminding you of the absence of what you’ve worked hard to save for.

So comes the temptation of just buying something. You want to part with your hard-earned just to experience the buzz of a purchase, even though it’s not for the watch you actually wanted. You convince yourself that you’ll come to love it anyway, that it’s the right decision, even though you know it’s not true.

You don’t need me to tell you that you should keep the enticement of the immediate purchase at arm’s length; after all the journey is as much a part of the experience as ownership itself. Stay focussed. You can do it. It won’t be as long as you think, and you’ll get to laugh about it afterwards with the watch you wanted all along sat pride of place on your wrist.

The Watch That’s Too Much Of A Stretch

I’m going to sound like teacher here for this one, but believe me, I’m speaking from experience. It happens to all of us: we determine an amount that we’re happy to spend on a timepiece, and then we see the most perfect, amazing, heavenly watch—and of course, it costs a bit more.

Well, since we’re looking at a watch that costs a bit more, may as well browse a few other watches at that price too. You find something else that fits this new budget, and although it’s a bit of a stretch, you know it’ll be worth it. But then you see another, even more amazing and perfect and heavenly than that last—and, you guessed it, it costs a bit more still. Before you know it, you’re browsing watches that you definitely can’t afford.

You consider all the ridiculous things you could do to make ends meet, planning a life of misery all for the benefit of that watch on your wrist. Let me tell you, it’s not worth it. There’s always going to be a bit of stretch, but stretch too far and you simply won’t be able to enjoy the fruits of your labour.

Of all the mistakes people make when buying a watch, beyond choosing the wrong thing or not being patient, the stretch is by far the most detrimental. It may seem like a good idea in the short term, but you’ll be thankful later when you can actually enjoy your watch anxiety-free.

Buying a watch can seem like a complicated old business, but really it boils down to just three simple things: listen to your head, don’t ignore your heart, and exercise patience. If you follow that, you’re sure to find the watch that’s right for you.

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