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Feature: 5 Things Every First Time Watch Buyer Should Know

Thinking about buying a watch for the first time? Whether it’s $100 or $100,000 dollars, there’s a whole world of hurt you can end up in if you’re not careful. I’m not talking scams or anything like that—I mean the mental punishment you lay upon yourself for making the wrong decision. Well, here it is, ten things every first-time watch buyer should know before they make that purchase.

You Can Always Change Your Mind

A watch isn’t for life, or for Christmas. It’s for however long or short you want it for. It can merely reside in your brain for a few days and never physically materialise. You can be buried with it after a lifetime of servitude. You can and you most probably should change your mind about your watch at some point between those moments. You decide you don’t like it when you try it on, you can change your mind about buying it. If you’ve worn it for three years and just don’t feel the same, you can change your mind and sell it. Don’t let guilt tell you you’ve got to commit!

Keep Your Feet On The Ground

If you’ve ever spec’d a car online, you’ll know how easy it is to run away with the cost. A heated gear knob here, illuminated wing mirror there and before you know it you’ve spent the budget several times over. It’s even easier to do it with a watch by incrementally moving from one to the next in your hunt for the ideal. It doesn’t all happen at once: by the time you’ve hopped from watch to watch, you’ve climbed a very expensive ladder that makes the original budget look like a joke. Set yourself a target and stick to it.

It’s Not Going To Be 100%

You know the funny thing about watches? They aren’t miracles. You aren’t going to buy a watch and suddenly become the happiest person on Earth. It won’t do your accounts, put the kids to bed and start a little job selling gourmet coffee on the side. It is, after all, just a watch. It can only do so much. So don’t expect it to do so much more. You’ll enjoy setting it, winding it, wearing it, but it’s not going to change your life. Temper your expectations accordingly.

Don’t Lie To Yourself

Our brains do funny things when we think we’re going to spend some money. I don’t know what it is, but for some reason we just love getting rid of the stuff. So, it can become very easy to start telling yourself a fib or two in the process of buying a watch. You’ll tell yourself you don’t mind the scratch or you think that disgusting colour is actually fine—and any number of other little porkies that are all just your brain trying to relieve you of your cash.

Not Everyone Will Like It

So, you’ve considered it, you’ve fought the urge to buy badly, you’ve reigned in your expectations and now you have a watch that you are thoroughly satisfied with. That’s you, though. So, if you post it online and other people say they think it’s a pile of old horse leavings, don’t sweat it. Everyone else has their own situation, their own preferences, their own network of mushy brain cabling going on upstairs. You’ll do far better not to worry what other people think.

That Wasn’t The Only One

But maybe you did all that good research, all that lovely consideration, and you got bitten in the butt by someone who beat you to it. That’s annoying. Really annoying. But it’s ok. Unless you were banging on the door of the Paul Newman estate waving $18 million and change in your hand, you stand a pretty high chance of getting another one sooner or later. And next time you’ll be ready to buy it out from under the nose of someone else instead.

Value Isn’t Everything

I was brought up to believe that cheaper is better, but I can assure you that’s not true. Value, however, suggests something different, that you may not be paying the least, but you’re getting the most for that spend. Well, value being better is not always true either. Value isn’t always the be-all and end-all. There are plenty of watch brands out there making watches no one else makes that present terrible value. But if you want it, you want it. Nothing else will do. Don’t convince yourself that you should ditch it for something you hate just because you’re benefitting on value.

Don’t Buy Ugly

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve caught myself considering a watch that looks like a slapped pig just because of what it’s got going on on the inside. A lovely complication isn’t necessarily worth compromising on the visual appeal. These aren’t people. You don’t need to see that beauty is only skin deep. If you find your tonsils juggling lunch every time you look at it, it could play the entire back catalogue of The Beatles every time the hour strikes and it still wouldn’t be worth it. 99% of the time, you’re looking at the front, so don’t compromise by making it a front end that reminds you of a back end.

You Can’t Predict The Future

It’s hard enough determining what you like now, let alone what you’ll like tomorrow. It’s even harder trying to figure out if a watch will please you not just in the experience department over time, but the financial one too. So much has been weighed upon the shoulders of the humble watch in the expectations we have of its investment growth that it can quite simply strip out all of the pleasure from it. Unless you have an app on your phone that you track the price of raw steel on, leave the speculating to someone else and just enjoy your watch.

It’s Just A Watch

This last point is one that’s been stated before a few times already, but it bears repeating: it’s just a watch. Don’t expect it to make you a happier, better person. Don’t expect it to make you a millionaire. Don’t expect it to make you the coolest kid in school. The irony is that we waste so much time thinking about all the things we think a watch should do that we forget to appreciate the one thing it can do: letting us enjoy the little time we have.

If you’ve bought a watch before, what tips do you have for first time buyers? If you’re a first time buyer, what worries you most about it?