I recently came across a thread on a watch forum called “learning how to enjoy your watches.” It starts by admonishing collectors who don’t actually wear their watches. Like many collectors of firearms, knives, guitars, cars or other functional art, some buyers turn a perfectly practical timepiece into what’s called a safe queen watch . . .
A safe queen watch is a watch that hardly ever sees the light of day. It’s owner keeps it locked away – along with the receipt, warranty card, box, tags and even the plastic “condoms” that protect the dial and caseback from damage.
They dare not wear their safe queen watch lest they diminish its resale value. Which is definitely a thing. Like a car, the moment you put a single “mile” on a watch it falls off the financial cliff known as depreciation.
But there’s more than money in play. Horror of horrors, if a worn watch gets scratched or shows other evidence of use, it dashes the image of pristine perfection that greeted the owner during the initial unboxing.
Some collectors are half-in, half-out of safe queen watch mania. While they enjoy ogling and fondling their “special” watches in their darkened closet or study, they also run”beaters” – watches that they wear every day.
And then there are those of us who wave our watches in the air like we just don’t care.
I’ve worn my Rolex Yachtmaster daily for nearly 20 years, since my wife got it for our 2nd anniversary. Until recently, when it quit on me. It won’t wind. The crown doesn’t engage the winder. It’s dead.
I took these photos to post on the watch forum. I’d show them what happens when a real watch is worn by a real man! And then I changed my mind. Honestly, the photos shocked even me.
OK, it doesn’t look THAT bad. Just needs a good cleaning, eh?
Zooming out… Starting to cringe… what is going on with the band? Let’s flip it over and take a look around back…
No, I don’t work construction. Nor am I a desert nomad. But I do live by the ocean and have what’s called an “active lifestyle.”
Now that I’m writing for TTAW, I’m going to finally send the Rolex in for service so that it runs again – so I can scratch it some more? Well, yes. And as much as I love my Casio collection – I admit that I miss wearing the crown.
Should I let them polish my Rolex beater? Or keep it au naturel? I hear tell that Rolex insists on polishing it. I think I want to keep it the way it is, if possible. If I scratch it more now, it won’t bother me in the least.
If the watch comes back pristine, I’ll have to experience the agony of “that first scratch” all over again. I might even be tempted to put it away and carry on Casio-ing. A safe queen watch guy? Me? Don’t laugh. It could be you.