Some say time is a construct. They reject the social constraints of this man-made concept and let’s face it, must be truly annoying when you’re trying to arrange to meet them down the pub.
Then there are the horologists.
From clocks to hourglasses, watches to sundials, Horology is the art and science of measuring time.
Now I'm no horologist. I feel that term should be saved for the scholars and the watchmakers. I merely like nice watches. It’s an interest of mine.
What’s the difference between an interest and a hobby? I guess it comes down to the level of participation. With a hobby you’re building, playing, attending; you’re in the thick of all the facets of the activity or pastime in question. With an interest, you might read about a subject, discuss and admire, but you’re always on the fringes, looking in.
An interest may never transition into a hobby for different reasons. It may be historically impossible. You can have an interest in World War II, but you can hardly partake in it.
Or an interest may remain so because the activity exists in a different world to the one you inhabit. Take supercars for example. Many of us have an interest in supercars – whether it be reading about them, watching tv shows featuring them or drooling over images of them on the Internet or even going to see them in person at car shows or garages. But there the cars will remain – objects of desire, forever out of reach due to the price tag.
And much the same can be said of the luxury watch world.
I would call “collecting” something a hobby, but you’d have to be filthy rich to consider collecting fine watches. Which is why for most it must remain an interest, if it becomes one at all.
“You never really own a Patek Philippe,” read the ads. “You merely look after it for the next generation.” It’s a lovely sentiment over a picture of a father and son aboard a yacht or a mother and daughter smiling at each other. It makes you look up the brand and then the prices and that’s when you realise the ad should probably stop at the first sentence – “You never really own a Patek Philippe”.
But what if you were to blur the line slightly between the interest and the hobby? Dip your toe in the water if you will.
What if you were to buy a luxury watch?
Here are some tips:
1. Do your research. There is fun to be had in the hunt for your perfect timepiece, so don’t just head to your nearest jewellers and pick the first thing you like the look of.
2. If you’re buying second hand, try to find one with a box and papers. This isn’t essential, but if you come to resell at some point down the line, having these will help.
3. Consider the value of the watch. Is this brand or design known to appreciate in value or lose money? If you come to resell, many of these watches will get you your money back and may even bag you a profit, so check out the prices of pre-owned models and research the general reputation of the brand.
4. Don’t get something that’s only going to see the light of day on a few occasions a year. There are works of art, made by artists and you should wear it as often as you can.
5. Above all else – get a watch that speaks to you. No not a Dick Tracy watch, I’m talking soul here. This is a watch you might wear for decades, so you need to love it.
In part II, we’ll be looking at 5 iconic watches that would make an excellent first time purchase.