I can’t take credit for this article idea. It’s my abbreviated take on HoDinkee’s epic post Twelve More Mistakes New Watch Enthusiasts Make (And How To Avoid Them). Twelve more? Champagne socialist Stephen Pulvirent’s sage advice can be boiled down to one key sentence: “ignore the received black-and-white wisdom that gets thrown around the watch web.” Except for his, of course. And mine! Here my “how-to” for avoiding bush league watch enthusiasts’ mistakes . . .
Don’t read HoDinkee
HoDinkee’s watch reviews are thinly disguised watch ads written by hyper-literate Soy Boys. The last time I read a negative watch review on HoDinkee was never.
Unfortunately, HoDinkee is good at pimping watches. Sumptuous photography, pseudo-intellectual copy, authoritative historical context – HoDinkee’s eternal sunshine of the spotless watch “reviews” can make the worst piece of dreck seem like a must-have timepiece.
In fact, HoDinkee’s “journalists” can sell a watch better than any three bricks-and-mortar watch dealers you can name. And sell them they do. Hodinkee’s hustling for their online store has put millions into owner Ben Clymer’s pocket.
Your best course of action: look away now. If you can’t go cold turkey, treat HoDinkee like they’re your wife’s divorce lawyer. If you find yourself hooked on Hodinkee’s horological crack, detox by spending quality time with your existing watches – the only recommendation in Mr. Pulvirent’s column that’s deserves careful consideration.
“Can it be any cheaper?” For me, asking that question is a cultural, maybe even genetic imperative. You’d be astounded how often those five little words save me money on a watch, groceries, car, house, you name it. Sometimes BIG money.
Always give a reason. It can be anything. “Money’s too tight to mention” is fine. The best hagglers master the art of the sob story. “I really shouldn’t be buying a watch right now – I’m on COVID-19 furlough. Not to mention my 95-year-old father’s burial expenses. So . . . can this watch be any cheaper?”
This is why watchmakers are lovin’ them some internet: it cuts out the dealers’ margin and there’s no “haggle now” button above “add to cart.” So call them. I bought a Sinn from watchbuys.com at a discount just by calling them and asking – say it with me – can it be any cheaper?
Don’t Buy An Inexpensive Watch on a Metal Bracelet
The previous two pieces of advice are so important I had a hard time coming up with a third. Don’t ever walk into Bellusso in Las Vegas? There is that. How about something a little more prosaic? Don’t buy an inexpensive watch on a metal bracelet.
Inexpensive watches use inexpensive metal bracelets, and inexpensive metal bracelets are one step up from chrome-colored model airplane plastic. They pinch. They chafe. They’re just plain horrible. As I pointed out in my review of the otherwise superb Yema Navygraf Heritage, a stamped steel clasp is a major ding – a fault that never goes away.
Note: all metal watch bracelets look wonderful in product shots. The only way to tell how a metal bracelet actually looks and feels is to look and feel it. Bricks-and-mortar baby. Either than or only buy from online dealers with a no-questions-asked return policy. (Never remove any plastic protection until you’re absolutely sure you’re going to buy.)
An inexpensive watch on a strap offers you the opportunity to swap out the nastiness for something luxe, rescuing the timepiece from discomfort and mundanity. The Seiko Diver Orange, for example, has the world’s worst rubber strap – and numerous superior alternatives. I put an expensive leather strap on a $65 Seiko solar watch and couldn’t be happier.
And there you have it: three mistakes you can avoid to increase your horological happiness forevermore. Mazeltov.