In The Best Limited Edition Watch Money Can Buy, I suggested commissioning a one-of-one engraved watch from Otto Carter. A reader disagreed. It’s not the same! One of the main joys of owning a limited edition watch: knowing you got something someone else didn’t. Couldn’t. Not the most noble of motivations but… How do you do that when LE’s sell out in femtoseconds. Awake! Here are three ways to scarf a highly sought after LE…
Watch the watch news like a hawk!
This is hardly the best solution. By the time a mainstream watch blog/website announces a limited edition watch to the rabble, the insiders have been all over it. I’m not saying watch magazine/blog/website/forum owners, editors, writers and their horological BFF’s get a chance to buy a limited edition watch before turning on the Bat Signal, and that watchmakers are happy to curry favor, but I’m not not saying it either.
Anyway, watchmakers and the obsequious watch press are aware that promoting a watch that’s already sold out makes them look bad. So there’s usually some LE watches available when a public announcement is made public. But you gotta hit refresh a LOT and act fast – especially if it’s one of those co-branded timepieces made by and for the cult of ‘HoDinkee.
Skeptics may wonder how limited a limited edition watch is when the company somehow forgets to mention the total made, but I couldn’t possibly comment. Nor would I care to excoriate watchmakers who make another, slightly-modified version of the original LE to re-milk a cash cow, dinging the LE’s cachet and resale value. But I will say this…
Ye olde “act in haste, repent at leisure” admonition doesn’t quite apply when chasing an LE. When it comes to the right LE, it’s “act in haste or kick yourself at leisure.”
What’s the “right” LE? Observe the game from the sidelines for a bit. See which watches – brand, type and price – retain their value (via chrono24.com and watchcharts.com). And don’t worry: there’s always another limited edition coming down the proverbial pike.
Suck-Up to Insiders
As mentioned above, the press knows about an LE launch long before you do. Officially, the news is embargoed. A watch press “journalist” would rather wear an Invicta Rolex copy than break that embargo, lest they lose out on buying LE’s, getting review watches before release and absolutely fabulous, five-star junkets. But they might, you know, let something slip to someone they like, trust or want to impress.
If you circulate in those circles, you don’t need me to tell you how to sleaze your way into inside information. If you’re just a humble watch guy, maybe living in “flyover” America, kiss ass. Send your favorite watch editors and writers erudite fan mail. Ask their advice. Promote them on social media. Like all their posts and make wonderful comments.
In my experience, horological scribes and YouTubers are underpaid snobs who got teased in high school. What’s more, they all long to be Ben Clymer, respected by collectors, rich enough to afford any damn watch they want. Getting closerthanthis with an inside will take sustained, nauseating effort, but these guys and gals are ripe for Cruel Intentions-level manipulation.
Dealers also catch wind of an LE before zero hour. Watchmaker execs and minions too, obviously. If you can suck-up to these insiders – with or without spending a fortune – that works. Remember: they’re not supposed to give you the inside dope on a new limited edition watch. But will.
Buy Your Limited Edition Watch Later – Much Later
Everyone who plays this LE watch game knows that flippers are the main reason it’s so damn hard to get an LE look-in. Flippers are in-the-know and they’re fucking fast. They are on top of a new limited edition release with seconds of launch. Why wouldn’t they be? A hot LE hits the market, sells out immediately and goes straight to eBay for a premium price.
And then… later… maybe a year or more… maybe a lot more… the bottom falls out of the market for your coveted LE. And then you can buy it, usually with boxes and papers, often at a discount. Just make sure you don’t get ripped off (a story for another day).
Sure, some LE’s never drop. Appreciate steadily, in fact. Assuming you’re not a “watch investor” or playing the LE game at the 100’s of thousands or million-dollar level, Alfred E. Neuman has a message for you: what me worry? Yes, fortune favors the brave. But you’re not in it to make a fortune. You’re in it for love. A headspace where patience can be a significant financial virtue.
At the end of the blog post day, getting a prized limited edition watch is nothing more or less than a game. The best way to play to win? Cheat.