Two years ago I owned fifty-fifty watches, mostly of an oversized cheap quality like costume jewelry I used to find in my grandmother’s jewelry box. When I was six, I’d pick up these giant fake diamond broaches from her dresser and say this is the best one upon which my grandmother would say, “That’s junk.”
So I had fifty-five pieces of junk and then as I learned more about watches, I bought higher quality ones I could afford, ones that had professional lume and some that had more expensive sapphire crystal.
These entry-level watches cost about $300-$500. Very soon, my collection dwindled to its current 14, which is comprised of 10 respectable watches and four junkers, which I keep mostly for sentimental reasons and for the occasion of washing my car and not wanting to scratch one of my better watches.
One thing about being bit by the watch bug is that I’m never content with my collection. I’m always exploring new watches and looking for ways to pique desire for watches I don’t have.
Part of this “piquing of desire” is looking at more and more expensive watches, “climbing the consumer ladder,” as it were, so that the watches I desire now cost closer to a thousand dollars.
I keep telling myself that having a stable of a dozen watches all worth $500-$1,300 will sate my appetites, but I doubt it. I’m probably on a stepping stone to watches that cost $3,000-$5,000, but my income can’t sustain those kind of appetites.
Another impediment to buying watches that price is the matter of cliché. While I love Breitling, Rolex, Panerai, etc., there’s something predictably cliché about them that I find off-putting. Having a less common microbrand diver watch or an Orient Saturation Diver or a Citizen Grand Touring, which is similar in quality to watches costing thousands more is more appealing to me.
One of the disturbing trends of watch obsession is the matter of wanting to connect with something meaningful. Connecting with watches and exploring them is fun and suits my personality, but there needs to be balance. Connecting with people, music, art, etc., has a place and I want to remember that even as I acknowledge that I’m a watch obsessive, or as one of my Japanese students called me, a “Watch Otaku.”