Editorial: Love Of Watches In The Time Of Coronavirus Taking a Step Back to Step Forward…at Some Point by Michael Stockton April 18, 2020 MIN READEditorial: Love Of Watches In The Time Of Coronavirus
Uncertainty seems to be the only certainty at present. It’s an odd time indeed and for some there’s little comfort to be found. Let’s do our best to focus on the watches we enjoy today and will continue to enjoy after life returns to a relative state of normalcy.
It was February 14th — Valentine’s Day for the single and forgetful — that I flew to Orlando with my family for a weeklong vacation. We saw “the mouse”, made a light saber, took a Disney cruise, and I picked up a couple watches including the fantastic Oak & Oscar Olmsted. It was a great vacation, but it was already a little strange. The USA had cut off travelers from China and the large groups from the massive country were notably absent in this tourist haven. As I said, though, we enjoyed ourselves and left without incident. And now, two months later, it’s still pretty easy to ask how the hell we got here.
Do watches still matter?
The Western world has largely shuttered — aside from the idiots I see frolicking around here in Frankfurt — and that means most small retail businesses are having to make do with no revenue. For individuals, it means an amazing amount of time at home with small breaks coming in the form of visiting a barren supermarket. And then there’s the “news”. I put it in quotations because it’s really hard to sort opinion from fact and the scaremongering has reached an all-time high. And with all this going on, how do watches even matter?
Offering a distraction
On our last podcast, RJ and I spoke a little about coronavirus. We feel that watches, our site, and our podcast provide a much-needed distraction from the otherwise all-encompassing onslaught related to life outside our windows. We know that most collectors happen to be information hoarders and that they’re probably neck-deep into reading .edu and .gov studies about clinical trials, algorithmic virus growth models, etc. Trust me, I’ve seen evidence of this type of behavior. We watch people are curious folk and many of us are putting just as much effort into studying this virus as we have into buying the perfect vintage whatever.
Forgotten gems and comfort watches
But aside from our content, I thought I’d let you in on what I’m thinking about related to watches. Because, if nothing else, this period has given me time to think. First and foremost, I’ve been scrolling through my collection and I’ve dug out some pieces that I’d honestly forgotten about. I’ve unearthed some wild vintage Seikos that were put aside during a flurry of buying. On the other hand, with a lot of uncertainty in the world, I find myself clinging to what I’d call “comfortable” watches. For me, that means a 36mm Oyster case or even my recently acquired Citizen Promaster Tough. After all, I’m working from home and familiar just feels right.
I’ll make no apologies for being a vintage guy. That being said, I’ve never really been a collector of stories and provenance because I find most to be dubious. Still, when I look at some seriously older watches in my collection, I do sometimes think about what they’ve “seen”. Some have been through wartime periods. Some came from countries where strife is still a daily occurrence. My point is that watches are enduring and it gives me some abstract feeling that, yes, even this too shall pass.
The vintage market is down but not out
And before we finish on new watches, I’ll spend a moment on the vintage market. Some are asking me whether this is the right time to buy. Look, it’s always the right time to buy a vintage watch if it’s a watch you want and you feel that the price is fair. Regarding pricing, I think it’s inevitable that prices will move lower. The reality is that these types of artsy discretionary purchases are just about the last thing on all but the most dedicated — and monied — collectors’ minds. No, it is not the time to sell. That being said, I think it’s wrong to assume that sellers will give pieces away for next to nothing and I hope that we, as collectors, act respectfully while we negotiate.
Hungry for news
Regarding new watches, I’m saddened but unsurprised by the decision to delay from Rolex, Patek, and some others. On the other hand, I can think of no better time than now to wow prospective buyers with something amazing. We need good news right now and we need it with frequency. Screw the customary former show dates and let’s see new pieces debut each and every week to keep people excited. No, we might not buy right away, but there will be pent up demand at some point. Frankly, I’m enjoying going through the current lineups and uncovering watches I might otherwise have overlooked.
Like I said at the beginning, these are weird times and it’s very easy to go down a path of doom and gloom. I think we all drift to that level at some point during any given day. When you’re feeling that way, why not swing over to our site to read some decidedly non-virus-related content? And even if we can’t get out to see and hold new watches right now, we’ll keep bringing our unbridled opinions about all that’s going on to these very pages. There’s a lot that’s out of our control right now, but rest assured that we’ll do our part to keep you entertained. As always, thanks for your readership and stay healthy.
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About the author
Michael was born in South Florida in the USA. As a full-time role, he works in the Automotive Industry. He's lived and worked in many locations and when he's not cruising at 30,000 feet, he calls Germany home. Michael became… read more
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