By Matthew Cule, watch collector and founder of CuleM Watches.
The idea of building a watch collection as an investment is an exciting proposition with the range of models, brands, prices and finance options available in the market today. There are, of course, the ‘household’ big name and hundreds of interesting independent watch brands. No matter what you decide to collect, one thing’s for sure, you are going to discover lots of nice watches.
But if you are thinking of starting your watch collection, where should you start?
What type of watch do you want?
There are four main types of watches in terms of the mechanics: automatic (or self-winding); manual winding; quartz; and smart watches.
Smart watches don’t tend to hold their value like other watches as they are out-of-date very quickly. They aren’t built to last and there isn’t much of a second-hand market. However, if tech is your thing, then there are some interesting watches to collect.
Quartz watches are battery powered and tick. They’re easily recognizable, are generally cheaper than automatic or manual winding watches but, in my view, are not designed with the intention to last a lifetime. The main advantage with a Quartz watch is that you never need to wind it, but many collectors avoid them as they aren’t considered to be high-end or luxury and so don’t hold their value as well.
The holy grail of watches is automatic and manual-winding watches that can be passed on from generation to generation. Both types of watch can be manually wound and automatic watches benefit from continuously winding themselves as you wear them. Both types of watches will also have a power reserve.
When starting a collection, I would recommend buying a Swiss-made automatic watch, which will potentially last a lifetime – making a great watch with which to start your collection.
Many argue that Swiss-made watches are the gold standard and they are of course excellent, like almost anything Swiss-made. But, they do come at a higher price.
That said, Swiss made watches are a good place to start when building a collection because of the variety of brands, quality, prices and functionality. Other countries to look at include Germany and Japan, which both have some lovely, high quality brands. There are cheaper fashion watches that are often made in China. These can look great, and certainly won’t cost as much, but they don’t tend to last as long or hold their value as well.
Define your style
It’s important to consider your style when building a collection of watches. I’m generally smartly dressed and like to wear an elegant dress watch on a leather strap. Therefore, I prefer to have more watches in this style in my collection. More casual people might prefer larger and more rugged watches like a diving watch or chronograph. Choose watches to suit your lifestyle and wardrobe.
Connect your watches to your passions
Also, if you have particular interests, start looking for watches that match what you love. For example, if you love diving, look for diving watches that are water resistant to a certain depth and can be used for scuba diving. Having a connection to a watch is important when building a collection because you’ll not only take pleasure in looking at it, but it will remind you of your passion.
A great place to start looking at watches is online and social media. Some brands are only available online, so you’ll get a much wider choice by looking there. Also, it’s great to browse watch shops and attend watch events like Baselworld.
The great thing about events and shops is that you can generally try on the watch and see it on your wrist – how does it make you feel when you look wear it, what does it look like on you, how comfortable is it? All of these are important questions.
Follow your instinct with online purchases knowing that you can generally return the watch if you are not happy with it. Check the company’s returns policy first – before purchasing.
As you progress in your watch collecting journey, you’ll probably want to dig deeper and get to know more about watches, the inspiration behind them, the story of the brand and its founder. To really connect with a brand, you may also want to know about their vision, and chat with the founder.
Watch events like Baselworld in Switzerland, Hong Kong Watch and Clock Fair, Miami Watch and Wonders, and Dubai Watch Week are a great way to do this. There are also smaller local events you can search for online. You can meet the people behind the brand, get to know them, and understand the vision for their future collections.
So, think about what you are passionate about and your general style. Then, browse watches online, attend events and check out some shops. Follow your instincts and spend what you can afford. Set the trend, by leading not following. Enjoy the journey and happy collecting.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
CuleM Watches is an independent watchmaker founded by watch collector and traveller Matthew Cule. CuleM ‘s World GMT collection of Swiss made dual time automatic watches celebrates the beauty of our amazing world and are designed for people who love to travel and collectors of exquisite timepieces. CuleM believes there is no experience more meaningful and amazing than travel – and no object more beautiful and meaningful than a watch, so each watch is a time capsule of memories of the places you have been and an inspiration for the destinations you wish to discover. Available from Goldsmiths and luxury retailers.
CuleM will have a stand at Baselworld this year showcasing The World GMT collection from 30th April to 5th May 2020.