First Luxury Timepiece – Initial Considerations


First luxury timepiece - OMEGA boutique

If you want to know how to choose a luxury watch, click here for step-by-step instructions. Before you go, the Timepiece Gentleman cordially invites you to consider the Top 3 Things to Consider before Buying Your First Luxury Timepiece. I’ll save you the click. The TPG wants you to think about Purpose, What Makes You Feel Good? and Budget. I disagree with his checklist. Here are three more important questions to contemplate before buying a luxury watch . . .

Do I have an addictive personality?

First luxury watch - The Timepiece Gentleman

If the answer is ‘d’uh, this is an excellent time not to buy your first luxury timepiece. As is the rest of your life. First will not mean last. Not by a long shot. The “hobby” of watch collecting has enough debatable and aspirational aspects to keep an addict jonesing for their entire life.

Luxury watch addiction has dangerous side effects. If you get hooked – and it takes just one taste for many buyers – the Timepiece Gentleman’s budgetary advice is a total joke. After you fork out significant funds for your first luxury watch, it’s only a matter of time before you empty your bank account to add to your never-ending collection. Assuming some other substance or activity doesn’t have first dibs.

Do I have low self-esteem?


“If it doesn’t excite you or make you feel nice, then you shouldn’t get it,” the TPG cautions. Best case: excitement fades into satisfaction. Your first luxury timepiece didn’t impress other people as you’d [secretly] hoped, but it impressed you. My life kinda sucks, the world kinda sucks, but at least I live in a world where Rolexcellence (or something like that) exists.

Again, that’s best case. Worst case: you buy an expensive watch to “feel nice” about yourself. It fails to boost your low self-esteem; you discover you’re the same schmuck you were before you attempted to signal your wealth and taste by wearing a luxury timepiece. You’ve fallen into a horological honey trap that leads to buyer’s remorse and cyclical buying. Again, it’s best not to start.

Am I a narcissist

“A narcissist is essentially somebody who is self-­obsessed to an extreme degree,” forensic psychologist Darrel Turner opines. “Someone with a high level of confidence and belief in themselves . . . to the point where it distorts their sense of reality. It can lead them into manipulative and exploitative behavior, because they will prioritize their own needs above anyone else’s.”

If you are a narcissist, good news! It’s chocks away! An obviously expensive watch will enhance/inflate your opinion of your worth – which is all that matters, right? Whether others recognize and revere it or not, a Rolex President does say you’re more important than someone wearing a throwaway Swatch or smartwatch – to you. Which is all that matters, right? You know what doesn’t matter? My opinion. But if this is you, you knew that already.

Your First Luxury Timepiece – Now What?

Vacheron Constantin Overseas - first good watch

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, your luxury watch money may be better spent on therapy. If you fail to avail yourself of treatment, at least you’re going in with your eyes open – knowing your wallet will soon follow suit.

If you answered “no” to all three questions, you’re probably in denial. In that case, good luck with your [hopefully eventual] recovery. Check out Which Watch for Rehab? BTW: none of them are luxury watches.


  1. Wait. Is Sinn a luxury timepiece? Because I’m thinking of buying one but I don’t think of myself as a luxury timepiece sort of guy.

    • Good question. I think you’re right: Sinn watches don’t really qualify (although they’re not particularly cheap). I’ll swap out the image. Which one of their eleventy billion models are you thinking about buying?

  2. I’d assume that the video ducks the entire question of whether one should get a luxury watch in the first place. Because this site has no selling motive.

    I have a friend with several four figure watches, and he definitely has an acquisition disorder spread across many areas. Along with modest means, I think I’m spared this by a matter-of-fact focus on performance over signalling. And a reverse snobbery that comes with this frugal pragmatism.

    David Brooks in “On Paradise Drive” talks about how non-essential or aspirational purchases are based on a mental image of how the object will change, or rather improve, our lives, which is generally pure fiction. The amount of Walter Mitty-ism in the high end watch market is no secret. I’ve probably addressed his other remark, from “Bobos in Paradise” that the upper middle class selects products with thoughts of displaying their education by getting the very best, regardless of applicability. He cites overly capable SUV’s and casually worn performance parkas as examples, but the irrelevant boasts of the luxury tool watch market also come to mind.

    • All the world’s a stage the noble bard proclaimed. What part horological props play in your personal play is down to the central psychodrama in your life.

      I can answer yes to all three questions. My watch thing is related to both my foundational psychology – Holocaust survivor father, communist mother – and a single traumatic event in my childhood.

      I’ve been delaying relaying that tale for years. I think it’s time for me to put my cards on the table. Watch this space.

  3. Great article, even though my watch budget allows for about $250 worth of luxury, max. Its a good reminder fo pause before buying another watch and reflect on why the purchase is being made.

  4. Luxury…a lot of rich people still don’t think they purchase “luxury” items. Isn’t it anything beyond what is absolutely needed (for basic survival, for a painless life)? For a modern timepiece I could argue ANY complication and any non-quartz movement is luxurious. So, those who espouse the nobility of accurate timekeeping alone, under extreme survival conditions?, can raise their heads high…maybe. But let’s not fool ourselves on necessities and luxuries. You own more than one watch? Luxury. You have time to spend reading? Luxury. All decisions reflecting something of our own biases, hard-wiring, interests, priorities, psychology. Bode decided $250 is luxury, no argument from me, I know him not. Farago, $5,000, same thing.

  5. That dude, ex convict and fast talking sales guy and Rolex flipper is entirely what’s wrong with watches today.

    Thanks Instagram and hype f*ckwits. And brands choking availability so hard that these dirty rodents turn into the swamp one has to wade into, to buy a … Rolex OP? What now?

    F*ck those guys. Buy luxury toys that don’t involve the brand or sales people giving you the middle finger. Don’t be the sort of sheep who begs for consumer goods, while also overpaying massively for ego trinkets.

    • Maybe when someone can buy anything he wishes, the only way to make a product valuable to him is to actually separate being able to *afford* something from being able to *obtain* it. It’s a manipulation, but you have to credit brands that pull it off with playing the marketing game brilliantly. Those brands aren’t giving the middle finger, really. They’re maintaining desirability among people who desire for very little.

      • Interesting idea. You think so though, really?

        Not being able to buy stuff is not going to make most people happy. Yea sure apparently enough dumb narcissists who imagine whatever latest Rolex is an “investment” will overpay.

        But you, me? Do you like walking into an AD and being told, “no”, on basically any model you’d want to buy?

        Would be a turn-off for me, anyway. I’m not looking for a Rolex because it can’t be had. Unless I’m the sort of imbecile who’ll pay more on the gray market.

        Also being among the people who desire for very little, Rolex isn’t on that level. It’s mid tier maybe, in watch terms. I want a Rolex because it’s simple, durable, says not-a-peasant. It’s not going to make anybody in the circles of “I want the elusive” do a double take. Maybe Journe or some Patek. But a mass market steel dive watch? Heh.

        Hopefully as with everything, this too will come to a hilarious end, with flippers and over-payers holding the many various bags.

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