Watch Collecting Regrets

My first watch was an analog grocery store pickup from Food Lion. It had the blue Power Ranger on the dial. I’ll never forget it. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was the absolute best thing on television at the time and I absolutely loved it. The watch was a gift from my mother, so I guess this is all her fault. The watch was probably close to garbage and put together by a kid about my age, but I didn’t care. I didn’t know any better. I wore the watch everywhere and in every situation. That’s probably why it didn’t last long and I assume it was lost at the park along with numerous G. I. Joe weapons and gear. Regardless of how long I owned it, it must’ve made an impact on me in some way, shape, or form because it wasn’t my last watch.

My next one was a Casio Calculator watch that I used to cheat on math tests in elementary school. And honestly, the rest is history. I was always wearing something. I don’t remember them all, but these first few years of watch “collecting” aren’t really the focus of this article, because I don’t regret any of that. This is going to be about a few mistakes that I consider pretty significant that have happened more recently. These will obviously be from one man’s perspective, but I’m sure we’ve all done things in the watch collecting world that we regret. Whether we regret how much money we spent on something, what manufacturers we’ve given a chance, getting too involved in the micro brand hype, getting swept up in the green watch fad, etc.. I have some experience with all of that and more. Let’s see where this article takes us.

Fashion Watches

I swear to Christ that I regret this more than anything. There was a time when I was buying watches just as an accessory. Yes. I was one of THEM. Assuming that you haven’t lost all respect for me and that you’re still reading, this was a dark time for me, AND I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW IT. This was extremely early on. I didn’t know anything about movements, finishing, water resistance, brand legacy or heritage, the list goes on. God only knows how much money that I arguably threw away during this time in my life. I’m not going to go into all of the brands that I gave my money to, but they’re all the same, so you get the idea. I wasn’t making much money then and $110 just didn’t seem like a risk. I just figured that that’s what watches cost. It’s just an accessory, right?

AND I WOULD BRAG ABOUT THEM! My friends used to get mouthfuls from me about how everyone needs a watch and that these are perfect for the casual watch wearer. I mean, I even bought a “diver” that had “Nautica” on the dial. Every suburban white kid knew what Nautica was and I thought that I was really something. I even wore that piece of junk with my uniform when I was still on active duty. Jesus Christ, that was fifteen years ago. What was I thinking? It can be argued that I wasn’t. Thankfully, that was around the time that I started to notice that I’d made a mistake. In today’s society fashion watches lead to true watch collecting. I truly believe that.

Mall Authorized Dealers

This will be a short one. We’ve all been here. Buying watches at retail from a clueless employee at Kay Jewelers for example, is a terrible idea. I hold no ill-will of these people, but they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. Obviously, there are some phenomenal reps and some phenomenal AD’s, but you have got to be careful here. The selection is terrible, these people work on commission, and you’re at a disadvantage the moment you walk in. You want a watch, you’ve got the itch, and sometimes you makes stupid decisions. It’s hard to walk into one of these places and walk out empty handed. I know. It’s very predatory, and if you’ve got a little extra disposable income and are surrounded by watches, you lose more often than not. Thankfully, I’ve found a guy locally that sells Seiko for Jomashop prices. That’s my dude.

Orient Obsession

Let’s fast-forward a little bit.

Yes, I’ll admit that I was completely obsessed with Orient for a time. I don’t think that there was a single Orient collection that didn’t add something to my watch box. Divers, field watches, dress watches, Tri-Star, you name it. I couldn’t believe how economical they were so I just bought everything. This obsession led to the eventual Orient fatigue and that ultimately led to me selling or gifting everything that I owned from them. This wasn’t a quality or features issue, this was a mistake because I was buying watches that I’d never wear just to increase the size of my collection for minimal cost. Orient is a great manufacturer, but you don’t need one of everything. I had actually convinced myself that Orient didn’t belong in my collection BECAUSE they were so affordable. And during the time of artificial dislike of them, I missed out on actual watches from the brand that absolutely belonged in my collection.

Prime example above. This 36.4 mm Bambino (5S) came out in 2020 and I totally missed it. It’s a simple, classically sized watch with a yellow gold tone that would’ve matched perfectly with my wedding band. I just MISSED it. Because I got carried away for a time and missed years of absolutely stellar pieces. This is just one of them. Thankfully I pulled my head out of my ass and went on a mission to find the perfect everyday watch that would be perfect for work and play. Here’s the scary part, Orient infamously makes over-sized dress watches, so I almost ignored it, but my watch collecting conscience jammed it’s pitchfork in my ear and told me to check it out. I’m really glad I did. There’s a lesson here. Be patient. Watch a brand even if that means not buying anything until you find that absolute no-brainer for your collection. I also have the blue Kamasu. It’s probably one of the few watches that actually deserves to be in every diver enthusiast’s collection, and I don’t ever say crap like that.

The Big One

If you’re still reading you’ve probably gone through some of these, but this last one is a heart breaker. There was a fairly long period of time where I wasn’t wearing watches. I honestly don’t know how long it was, but it was long enough that I’m sitting down writing about it. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about what I could’ve learned, what my collection would look like, or where I’d be in my watch collecting journey if I hadn’t taken a break from watches. I don’t mean to be overly dramatic, but it’s true. Would I finally have a Speedmaster, would I have gotten that Omega DeVille of my grandfather’s serviced and be wearing it now? There are just so many things that my be better or just different.

For the life of me, I can’t even tell you what inspired me to not wear a watch for so long. Was there a bad breakup, a lost job, a promotion that I missed out on. Was there a death in the family, a car accident, a tragic military experience? I really don’t know. All I know is that I wasn’t wearing a watch, I was okay with it, and this lasted for far too long. I don’t even have any advice to offer here. Every single one of us goes through life differently. We all have our shit that we deal with and that shit affects us in unpredictable ways.

The good news is that this drought wasn’t permanent. I’m back on the horse and have been for a while now. I’m smarter, more informed, more confident, and obviously more opinionated than ever and all of that has made me a more seasoned watch collector. I don’t just collect watches, I study horology, I educate myself on the good and the bad, and I make better decisions. I talk to people, I yell at you guys online, I’m more willing to form friendships with people in this community. I might even have something in for review here soon. Things are changing.

Erik’s Wrist is my favorite thing in the whole world and the time that I’m spending sitting in front of this computer is all thanks to the experiences that come with this crazy hobby. I can’t wait to see what comes next and I hope that you’ll join me. Thanks for reading and make sure to check out the rest of the blog here.

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