Watches — How to collect on a budget

Watch collecting should be fun, but it needn’t break the bank

There is something so cool about the way a wristwatch tells the time.

Whether its a beat up thing your wearing for work or leisure or you have a statement on your wrist.

Mechanical watches never go out of fashion.

Smart watches have been and pretty much have gone.

The old faithful remains, unaffected by fads and fashion.

Another thing that remains the same is the belief that you need money to collect watches.

Sure if you want to collect Rolex, Omega, Patek or any of the big boys, you need deep pockets.

That shouldn’t stop any of us collecting watches though. A $10 dollar watch that looks good on your wrist is as good as a $10,000 watch.

Its not the name that’s important, its the what the watch does, how it looks and how you feel when its on your wrist.

With that in mind, lets take a look at the ways we can build a watch collection on a budget.

1. Cover the basics

Basic watch maintenance can get expensive fast.

The first essential for watch collecting on a budget is covering the basics.

– Invest $10 on a basic watch maintenance tool kit. Ebay and Amazon have 1000’s of them.

Once you have this kit next stop is you tube.

Adjusting watch bracelet lengths, by adding or removing links

– Changing watch bracelets and straps

– Changing watch batteries for your quartz collection

These are the small jobs where costs add up.

Once you have your tool kit you can learn to do these tasks on you tube.

You will save a fortune buying batteries yourself before the labor costs for example.

No more paying for a watch bracelet sizing or replacement or a new strap. Which brings us to point number 2.

2. Welcome to the world of customization

This is the real secret to collecting watches on a budget.

One watch can have many different looks. A bracelet, different straps, a NATO band. Each changes the look of a watch.

I have a Seiko Prospex which I have had for years and its my go to daily driver.

It has a yellow face so its easy to change up and give it a new look. As a result that watch rarely looks the same 2 weeks in a row.

That actually goes the same for the rest of my watch collection. The $50 cheap used watches through the Tag’s and Omega’s all get the same treatment.

One watch has so many different looks.

My favorite watch is a 1950’s Tresso dive watch. It’s dressed up for weddings and other fancy gatherings. Likewise it gets dressed down for other occasions where I need a casual look.

All it takes is 2 minutes to change the strap.

You can buy 1000’s of high quality straps and bracelets online for less than $10 each. All you need to know is the width of the strap where it fits into the watch. This known as the “Lug” width.

Once you have the straps, the tools and no-how, one watch has many looks.

3. Know where to buy them

I very rarely if ever buy a new watch. Almost always I’m a second hand buyer.

Likewise I don’t use watch clubs.

Where I do buy is ebay, gumtree, and dedicated watch sites such as Chrono 24.

Because I can do the basic maintenance myself. I don’t care if it needs a new battery, the bracelet sized or even a new strap. Ill do that myself.

If I like the watch and it works ill buy it, its also cheaper that way.

I have also picked up rare watches that need parts. Much cheaper than buying a functioning example. All it takes is time to track down the parts that I need.

4. Do it for the joy of ownership

Colleting watches on a budget is not going to make you money. The people making money from watch investment are buying rare watches worth $1000’s.

If you want to collect watches on a budget, its best that you know upfront that its not going to make you money.

Final Thought’s

There is something so effortlessly cool about a really nice watch. Like anything mechanical and seemingly old fashioned. They have a feeling all of their own.

All you need is some basic skills and the use of the great resources online. Once you have those, you too can own a great watch collection without it costing you a fortune.


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