Disclaimer: I’m accepting of all watch collecting strategies. Your collection is yours and you shouldn’t let anyone influence it in ANY way. However, getting your collection exactly where you want it takes patience, education, and experience.
While I know that there are some exceptions in watch journalism, I do believe that there is an ongoing epidemic of disingenuous camaraderie being pushed by modern influencers in the enthusiast community. I wholeheartedly believe that this has become so commonplace that the online voices that I’m referring to may not even realize that they’re doing it. The chances of this are slim, but it’s a legitimate possibility.
This is a topic that is all over the internet – I understand this, but let me explain what I think is a more nuanced position on the topic before you click out of here. I bought my first “homage” watch what seems like an eternity ago. You want to know how I found out about them? It was a YouTuber who stated that it was their goal to help me make informed decisions based on “value for money” and building a watch collection that I’d be proud of. Think about that. THEY wanted ME to build a watch collection. That’s what I heard. Let that sink in for a second. Do what you will with that information.
Within a week that watch was in the trash – an actual trash can. Why didn’t I see the error of my ways and try to flip it on eBay quickly to get most of my money back? I could’ve done that, sure, but then I’d be playing a role in some other sucker’s watch habit. But let’s not get off on too negative of a tone. If that’s the kind of collection you want, you don’t need my blessing, but you have it. I’m jealous that you’ve been able to come to that conclusion and have the ability to enjoy your collection the way that you want before I had a chance to. Good for you. You’re doing something right.
It wasn’t just the desire to avoid pawning it off on someone else that prevented me from selling the watch on eBay, it was something desperately more involved than that. I hated the watch. I didn’t like the color, the size, the shape, or the movement inside. In case you’re wondering, yes, it was a Seiko NH35. An homage watch with a Seiko NH35 movement inside? Of course it was. I was influenced by something deeper still. I was angry with myself. I was embarrassed that I allowed someone to influence me into making a poor decision. The only thing that should influence me in making a decision like that is a 16 year old scotch.
I decided to punish myself in a way that I would never forget. I took the loss. That money is gone and I’ll never get it back. That’s my punishment. Now, I could go into how homage watches made in China are good value for money, but I’m not going to. I could even bring up the controversial topic of Chinese sweat shops and unethical work practices, but I’m not going to. There are tons of criminal business practices out there. If I really wanted to be controversial I would talk about these homage watch brands preying on gullible enthusiasts with limited budgets, but that would start a conversation that I’m not ready to have with complete strangers, so let’s just leave all of that right here in this paragraph.
I don’t have a “problem” with homage watches or their respective manufacturers. If you really want to get down to it, a watch is a watch is a watch. They are made to tell time. If they tell time, who am I to criticize them or their owners? I don’t take their existence as a slight against the industry or the collectors who see value. This is a very personal take. When I finally saw what kind of collector I was and what kinds of watches I wanted in my collection, I just didn’t see the point in adding anything that diminished my pride in it. This homage situation really made me realize that I needed to make a change. I sold off 75% of my collection after that. It took two years to do so. I mentioned this to someone on IG yesterday and it still rings true at this moment – purging a watch collection is an uphill battle, but the view from the top is absolutely breathtaking.
Now don’t misunderstand, I don’t consider myself at the top of anything, especially not the watch collecting game, but that doesn’t change my opinion that a bloated watch collection is an anchor, not a good set of climbing gear. In my humble opinion, keeping things simple is the way to go. Quality over quantity. Less is more. Any blog, YouTube channel, journalism or review site that pushes these watches is not your friend. A lot of them have affiliate links or just have a relationship to the manufacturer or dealer in some way. A lot of them will tell you that, and I respect and appreciate the transparency. They don’t guilt you into purchasing these watches, they don’t even encourage you. Not really. The part where my opinion comes in is where I believe that they don’t legitimately have your best interests in mind. The aspect of these influences that seem fake is that they’re all the same. There is no difference of opinion. That doesn’t seem a little odd to anyone else? Have we all been taking advice from the same voices online for so long that it has become detrimental to our own progress?
Have you ever been influenced by someone online or in person to buy something that you eventually regretted? Are you part of the homage watch community? Are you currently purging your collection to make room for your grail or a more condensed, quality collection? Is your collection where you want it? Am I the only person that feels this way? I want to hear from you. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and remember, we’re all in this together.