How To Overcome The Fear Of Losing Money On A Watch

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How To Overcome The Fear Of Losing Money On A Watch Let's start buying watches for the right reasons (again): Fun! by Robert-Jan BroerFebruary 27, 2020 MIN READHow To Overcome The Fear Of Losing Money On A Watch

I have been attending watch get-togethers and gatherings for many years, and I truly love them. They were never very different from the ones we organize or attend today, but times are changing. If there’s one thing that I’ve noticed in recent years, it is the constant talk about investment potential and/or value appreciation during these get-togethers or events.

I’ve seen the increase of interest in mechanical watches from the 1990s till today. Of course, not everyone starts to collect watches for the same reason, but the ‘investment’ aspect has become a very unhealthy one in my opinion. Let me elaborate.

I am a member of several watch related groups on Facebook as well as an avid Instagram user. It is quite common to see someone who’s new to collecting watches asking whether brand x or y or model a or b would be a “good purchase.” A “good purchase” is a vague definition for starters. Good for who or what? Your wallet or satisfying your needs as a neophyte watch collector?

Rolex GMT Investment

A good investment

The person who asks this question has his or her own “good” reasons. Fair enough. However, there are also people who just proudly show their latest arrival and receive (unwanted) comments like, “You should have bought a Rolex,” or, “How much discount did you get?” Worse still, “This is not a good investment, you should have…”. If there’s one constant in these threads and comments, I would say it is the fear of losing money.

I see similar behavior during events where seasoned collectors are present as well.

This is not only the case for people who have just started exploring the world of watch collecting or those who are making their first steps towards buying an expensive watch. I see similar behavior during events where seasoned collectors are present as well. If your vintage watch has these hands, or that bezel, or this bracelet, it is worth x dollars more (or less). All true, that’s how the market works, don’t get me wrong. I also get that certain discontinued or low-on-supply watches fetch high prices on the market. Also fine.

Patek Nautilus 5726/1A Investment

The importance of developing value

What is not fine is the constant bragging of how much it gained in value over time or the importance of developing value that I am talking about here. Sure, it is nice to know you don’t lose money over a watch. But how important is that exactly? Will you stop wearing the watch you always longed for when it becomes too expensive? I mean, it will lose a certain amount of value when scratches appear. That might make you feel uncomfortable wearing it.

…many people who bought their Rolex GMT-Master II 16710 back in the early 2000s for 3,800 Euro have no idea it is worth over €10,000…

The world of watch enthusiasts is still some kind of niche. Therefore, many people who, for example, bought their Rolex GMT-Master II 16710 back in the early 2000s for €3,800 (retail price) have no idea it is worth over €10,000 today. I also think many of them would just shrug their shoulders and keep wearing it. Perhaps with a little eye-rolling or eyebrow-raising on top. A healthy attitude I think, just keep wearing it.

Montblanc 1858 Automatic Investment

An investment in joy

Any (luxury) watch you purchase is an investment, for sure. Money doesn’t grow on trees for most of us. But why should it be an investment that needs to result in extra Euros or Dollars or whatever currency you have? Why can’t it be an investment in joy? Why are people so afraid that the watch might lose value over time (or the moment you strap it on your wrist)?

I hope the appreciation for receiving such a nice gift from their parents is way beyond the value of the watch.

You should just enjoy it, you (hopefully) bought it because you like the looks, the movement, the bracelet, the (hi)story or whatever attracted you to the watch. Perhaps you bought it on the day your son or daughter was born and just want to pass it on to them when they are old enough to appreciate it. Do you think the market value is still important? I hope the appreciation for receiving such a nice gift from their parents is more important than the value of the watch. No matter whether that watch lost or gained value over time.

Royal Oak 15202ST Investment

Who cares?

I think that it would definitely help if the mindset changed. Buy a watch to invest, but in enjoyment rather than as a financial instrument. It is much more fun just to enjoy a watch for what it is. Additionally, it will probably also make the landscape of watches you’ll see in the flesh more enjoyable than just the same brands over and over again. It is almost considered a (social media) crime not to like a Royal Oak, Nautilus, a Speedmaster, or just about any Rolex. Who cares? Buy the watch that sings to you the most, instead of the one your online buddies advised you to buy based on the steepness of the line chart in their Excel sheet.

…do it because you love it…

If you like a Royal Oak, buy it, but do it because you love it. And to be honest, I can’t imagine the number of people who are lusting after a Royal Oak 15202ST are really loving it for what it is rather than for the price tag. When I had my Royal Oak 15202ST 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago, only a few people liked it. Most people told me it was crazy to have spent €7,500 on an ugly watch like that. Suddenly they changed their mind about this watch because it is now worth four times as much? I’m not buying it…

Buy what you like and enjoy it! Who cares if your Baume & Mercier or Montblanc watch drops tremendously in value after a year? You love the looks and enjoy wearing it, right? That is what matters. And that’s just the kind of investment you should be making.

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About the author

Robert-Jan Broer

Ever since he was a young child, Robert-Jan was drawn to watches, even though it were digital Casio and quartz Swatch models at the time. In the mid-1990s, his interest increased when he started to read about mechanical watches in… read more

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