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I love watches and the hunt for a watch chimera, but I often wonder about getting caught up in the hedonic treadmill. Jonny addresses the treadmill in the realm of consumerism in general:
I'm a couple stages behind you. I started lower; when I first got seriously into watches in the Spring of 2011, I balked at spending over a $100, then $100-150 became the norm. Now $150 is the baseline - I rarely buy watches below that price, unless I find a great deal on Amazon or on the Invicta Sunday Run (although it has been a couple months). Now my range is $200-300, but there are a bunch of watches I want in the $300-500 range, and I occasionally look at semi-luxury watches ($500-1000) like your Benarus.
There are two aspects of this issue. One is what you focus on, which is the psychological. I'd even up the ante and say that the degree to which you (we) give into this treadmill is the degree to which we are psychological slaves to the consumer hegemony. It is sickening, Jeff. Every year I feel slightly nauseated as I see my girls get more and more entangled by it ("I want more presents").
Now I'm not a luddite, puritan, or anti-capitalism. But it is playing with fire and I know for myself that I want to be able to play in the sandbox without getting lost in it.
It is really no different than food. There is absolutely nothing wrong with eating cake and ice cream and all manner of "bad" foods (assuming you use organic, less-processed ingredients), but IN MODERATION. The problem is that it is so hard to moderate, and the consumer forces don't want you to moderate. They want you and I to continue our addiction to watch buying (and we are addicted, my friend).
We can apply this principle to anything. The easiest (but most harmful) way is to just indulge; the second easiest (and least interesting) is to avoid altogether; the hardest (but most rewarding) is moderation, the Middle Way (as Buddha put it).
The other aspect is simply practical or economic. How much can you afford? In the context of the above psychological element, there is nothing wrong with buying and enjoying watches, but it should stay within one's means.
My advice would be to set a firm cap on your spending and not even look at watches over that number, or at least have some will power when doing so. As I've said before, the problem isn't as much buying that one $870 watch, but what it leads to next - and you're obviously well aware of this. As soon as you buy it you'll start losing interest in most of your $200-400 watches, and the treadmill will just continue...
Now if you're really able to practice moderation, you could buy that Benarus if you're able to say "only one very expensive watch a year; the rest must be below $500" or whatever your number of relative affordability is. I'd like to get to the point where I can buy a $500 or even an $800 watch once a year or so, and still enjoy $200 watches. But that, to me, is the key: can you still enjoy $200-400 watches even after buying the Benarus?
In the end, though, you know that at some point you're going to buy a much more expensive watch - whether it is an $870 Benarus, a $1400 Tag Heuer, or a $4000 Breitling. Might as well start low! And then, again, try to keep it to one "very special" watch a year and re-calibrate yourself so you can still enjoy your more affordable watches.
(I apologize if I sound preachy - I'm talking more to myself than you, but just sharing my thought process)
Posted at 08:06 AM in Manly Watches | Permalink
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Jeff: One thing that has helped me is embracing the idea of minimalism in all aspects of my life. It was refreshing two years ago, when we dragged multiple bags of our accumulated "stuff" to the car, and dropped them off at the thrift store. Vowing to not replace them with new junk is the key.
Getting off the consumerist treadmill might not make big box stores happy, but looking around my peaceful, uncluttered, minimalist home, I can take a deep breath and not worry about what I don't have.
December 30, 2012 at 11:28 AM
David, funny you should mention the thrift store. My family are on our way there now. Good wisdom.
December 30, 2012 at 11:36 AM
Hell, if I stayed within my means I wouldn't be eating either... it's just as bad with radios and custom, hi-end flashlights-like putting a loaded needle in front of a heroin addict, and I dare say, just as intense a craving!
December 30, 2012 at 01:49 PM
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