In this background/report I want to go a bit off track from the usual subjects and reflect on something that is deep on my mind. I may have to go back a bit further to make my readers understand the origins. Before I stared out becoming a serious watch collector, I was already infected with the bug. An interest in mechanical watches goes way back to childhood but soon with my first earned money I started to buy some watches, rather randomly than in any sense of knowledge or collecting.
I ended up for over 10 years with pretty much would you would call a Daily Beater. It was a sports-chic steel bracelet Patek (no, not a Nautilus) that I wore most days for over 10 years. I did have 3 other watches, a Girard-Perregaux Steel Chronograph (of course), an IWC (when I wanted to wear Gold) and, ahem, a Breitling Navitimer (don’t ask). However, I can definitely say, that out of 365 days, I probably wore my “Daily Beater” 95% of all days and was very happy with that, never really looked further to acquire another watch other than the occasional window glazing.
Only when at a turning point, I decided to let go the Patek, I suddenly looked at getting another watch and another and another, ending up with an ever growing collection of mostly Girard-Perregaux watches. Today, I’m at a point when I look at my modern and vintage collection, that I can safely say that I cannot wear all my watches on a regular basis. Now that may break a principle, that I only want to purchases watches I will also regularly wear. But frankly, most collectors with that principle, when they think long and hard, will have to admit that either they also wear most of the time only a smaller subset of the collection or have already downsized to a small number of watches.
I reflected already on the “How much is enough” question and at this point in time, I’m not in the camp of radically reducing my collection. So do I have a possible dilemma here? I don’t want to downsize but I also practically cannot wear all my watches. I have been thinking about this for some time and I feel there is a third way that seems to fit me best.
I actually can appreciate and enjoy watches in my collection that I do not wear regularly or in some cases practically never wear. I believe it is a special “collecting pleasure” of finding something rare, special or in top condition within my theme that provides enough pleasure of “adding it to the collection” rather than frequently “using” it. This is no longer about acquiring a time-telling device (probably never has been) but it is about filling gaps in my collection or opening up new areas for which I developed an interest.
So a large collection does not have to provide an “Agony of Choice” and can be a personal pleasure just being a collection. I don’t need to show off my collection and when I look at the watches I wear most of the time, they are by no means the most valuable or most impressive of my collection. But having the ability to take out any of my watches and wear them is a priceless little pleasure I don’t want to give up on.