#watchumor’s Rules for New Watch Collectors

courtesy #watchumor

Watch collecting lands you straight in crazy town. The “hobby” is rife with denial, obsession, lust, jealousy and debates about stupid sh*t. #watchumor’s recent post got all serious, listing six rules for watch collectors. Here are some of my fave watch humor memes and #watchumor’s bullet points (with my thoughts on his insights) . . .

1. Home in early on case sizes and shapes that suit your wrist

(courtesy #watchumor)

See? Watch collectors really do obsess about stupid sh*t. In this case (so to speak), #watchumor is perpetuating the idea that certain watch case sizes and shapes suit particular wrists. Small wrist? Small watch. Big wrist? Big watch. Something in between? Uh-oh!

Hang on. What IS a big or small wrist?

“According to US anthropometric data taken from Marine Corps personnel,” the perfectly-named criticalbody.com website informs, “the average male wrist size is 6.85 inches (17.39 cm).” Yup, it’s just as bad as obsessing over dick size. Worse. You choose your watch size watch.

But wait! What about the shape of your wrist?

There are two basic wrist shapes: rectangular (substantially wider than they are thick) and square (nearly as thick as it is wide). Which is “better”? Rectangular wrists – the most common type – are the most prone to carpal tunnel syndrome. And that’s all you need to know about that.

Who gives a flying f*ck what watch case size or shape you prefer? You – and no one else. “Nice watch, shame about the case size and shape,” said no one other than a bitchy watch collector. The real factor here is comfort. Try before you buy. Done.

2. Don’t buy it if you can’t afford it. You won’t enjoy a new watch if you’re struggling to pay the rent

(courtesy #watchumor)

Now that’s funny! Like all collectors, watch enthusiasts are fixated on their acquisitions, past, present and future. They – OK we – prioritize watch ownership over just about everything, including rent. Not that watch collectors admit or even know they’re making bad choices (at least until the rent comes due). Talk about delusional . . .

You know how car salespeople get rubes to go over budget by breaking down the shiny new motor’s cost on a daily basis? Watch collectors are even better at justifying the unjustifiable. I’ll go out less! I’ll sell the watch if I need money (not the best time to use that argument)! I’m due for a raise! Etc.

#watchumor believes collectors won’t enjoy their watch if they’re “struggling to pay the rent.” Nonsense! They – distancing myself again – may regret their purchase, but only for a short time. Rent is a temporary challenge. A watch is forever! “Times may be tough, but at least I have this!” Like that.

3. Don’t forget to enjoy the journey and make new friends along the way

(courtesy #watchumor)

Great advice! The only caveat I’ll throw into the mix is that a) be prepared to lose friends and b) your watch collecting friends are probably not your friends.

It’s easy to get addicted to watch hunting – especially if you fall under the spell of a dealer, HoDinkee or other horological pimp. But fellow watch collectors are the worst enablers. The desire to keep up with your “buddy” can be both subtle and overwhelming.

You see collectors addicted to this “look what I’ve got!” at meetups, where dick-measuring contests take the form of showing off the new Oris Divers Sixty-Five Fratello Limited Edition, MoonSwatch or vintage piece that’s rarer than an honest watch review. Newbies are often made to feel less-than for bringing “pedestrian” pieces or, god forbid, last year’s hot watch.

There will always be another “hot” watch coming down the pike. More than that, the key to horological happiness is to want what you have, not just what you want. Acquisition for acquisition’s sake is terrible disease to be avoided at all costs. As are fellow collectors in its iron grip.

I repeat, people who chase watches as a badge of honor – no matter how authoritative or knowledgeable – are not your friends.

4. Collect in quality, not in quantity

(courtesy #watchumor)

Hang on, what does “quality” mean? Movement, design, accuracy, heritage? How do you rate those? Is an automatic Rolex Submariner a higher quality watch than a Grand Seiko quartz? is a Timex superior to garden variety Seiko?

Most people simply equate quality with expensive because, you know, quality costs money! Does anyone doubt that a Patek Philippe or Audemars Piguet is a quality timepiece? BUT is it better to have a dozen less expensive watches instead of a single Patek?

At the risk of contradicting the last bullet point, where’s the fun in one-and-done? Besides, with a little planning, you can have your cake and wind it too. Assemble a collection comprised of “cheap” watches (sub-$500?) that you bought for “fun” and, every once in a great while, hopefully after saving up, add a “high quality” watch.

Collections are deeply personal creations. I reckon there’s no wrong way to collect. So I’d change this one to say don’t collect in haste. Avoid buyer’s remorse by slowing down.

(courtesy #watchumor)

Stop. Leave. Get into something else. Anything. Horseshoe collecting, knives, Pokemon cards, cocaine, wiper blades or whatever. Get one decent watch and get out. You’ll chase the high and it’ll dull more with each new purchase until you find yourself broke and making watch memes.

Not cocaine. Definitely not cocaine.

Pay a little extra and get the nicer strap. A nicer strap can elevate a watch immediately.

(courtesy #watchumor)

True story. To which I’ll add that cheap watches have horrible metal watch bands. Nasty. Cheap. Scatchy. If you buy a cheap watch, get it on a strap (leather, synthetic, NATO, whatever).

ONLY GOOD WATCHES HAVE GOOD METAL BANDS. We’re talking OMEGA, ROLEX, IWC, Breitling and up. IMHO, they worth every penury. If you know what I mean.


  1. I’d add, “Don’t apologize for your tastes.” If plastic fantastic G Shocks scratch the itch, it’ll (probably) be somewhat cheaper and you’ll get more mileage out of purchases over the long run.

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