Thoughts on a Large Watch Collection

Justifying my approach to collecting watches requires a trip down memory lane and some soul searching.

For some years now, I’ve seen a trend for small collections. A three-watch collection, a five-watch collection. Melvin and I have argued about collecting more times than I can count.

Personally, I like my large collection. It doesn’t come any close to the massive hoards that some have. I wouldn’t know if mine counts as large. Since I’ve lost track after 30 watches or so, from my perspective, it’s large. For all I know, it’s somewhere around 40 by now. I won’t bother to count.

Are you familiar with Star Trek? It’s like what the 97th Rule of Acquisition of the Ferengi says: enough…is never enough. Without the greed and the businesslike approach, of course.

Of course, a large number of watches causes a number of issues.

First and foremost, you’ve got to keep them in working order. That’s hard. Very hard. The queue of my watches that need a service is how long? I can’t recall. I lost track of that as well.

Why a large watch collection is better - Tissot Antimagnetique
1947 Tissot in 14K gold. No, you don’t want to know how many issues it had. Big thanks to Melvin for reviving it.

With so many watches, there’s no year without one or more of them needing a service, if I want to keep wearing them.

Frankly, I got used to the fact that the watches in my collection need regular attention. Lots of them were flea market finds. That alone means they needed to be serviced. Some vintage watches that I got as a gift also needed to be looked at. That’s just the way it is.

And yet, I’m not finished collecting. My work is never truly done. Sure, it’s been a long road getting from there to here. But there’s a road that goes on from every „here,” so that „here” becomes a „there.”

Omega 30T2 - why you need a large watch collection
Circa 1946 Omega ref. MI 2214. One of the few watches that I’ve bought serviced and good to go.

I’ve tried and tried to logically justify my approach to the watch hobby. Ultimately, I’m forced to admit that it’s illogical. That, however, doesn’t mean that it’s pointless. I suppose that it’s a matter of love. I love my hobby. I’ve put a lot of time and heart into it. I helped others, to let them improve, and in the process, to improve myself, what I am and what I know.

I’ve tried to apply cold logic to emotion, and this is why I failed so miserably at successfully arguing in its favor. In this emotion, there’s no logic. It simply plays the right strings somewhere in the soul, and I very much like that sound. That’s how collecting watches works for me. It plays that sound within me that I need.

My collection consists of watches from different eras and in many different styles. There’s something for every mood, outfit, circumstances—various brands and countries of origin. Because of all that, settling for one watch would feel like a horribly incomplete relation with the hobby. At least to me.

Of course, there are going to be problems. Nothing in life goes without them. Why would having a watch collection, larger or smaller, be any different? There’s always going to be a matter that needs to be attended to.

Sure, the smaller the collection, the fewer worries. But to me, this would also mean a smaller extent to which I’m involved in the hobby.

I could have saved up for modern stuff in order not to worry. But then, I don’t think that my needs would be satisfied.

I could, in theory, stick with this Citizen CB5860-86E, and call it a day, because it does it all. But where would be the fun in that?

So, why continue to build a collection that requires time, effort, heart, and attention? It’s just a matter of going where my heart will take me. And of a cause. A cause – or is it purpose? – usually requires these things. In the light of all things impractical, why really bother? It’s simple, really.

Per aspera ad astra. For all the good that comes along.

About The Author

3 thoughts on “Thoughts on a Large Watch Collection”

  1. Thanks Michal, my name is Kensei. I recently acquired a WA watch. It has a cupillard 233 movement. No incabloc. In trying to find out something about it I found your article on French watch movements. I enjoyed it a lot and learnt lots. Thankyou so much. I never did find anything on WA watches, but its fair to say it is a French brand now gone. Still the movement is beatng strong even though the case has seen better days. Im actually thinking of giving it a dressing and a dip in the nickel plating bath.A new crystal and then back into service. Despite , shall we say a good amount of patina , its a pretty watch.

  2. I love vintage watches of the 40s to 70’s with the odd modern in there too.

    In the last 18 months I have bought in excess of a 150 vintage watches, many in not going condition, consequently I have formed a strong economic relationship with my local watch maker and there would only be in my collection a handful not serviced or as found.

    Mostly I like to collect Roamers, 44 jewel preference but not exclusively but have found many other well known and not so well known contemporary brands in this period also.

    Whilst I love the watches I have collected I am also very mindful of the eventual economic benefit of selling them at a later date and with this in mind have had no trouble justifying the large servicing cost of a large collection like mine, preferring to think of it as an investment not just a hobby.

  3. Nice article Michal. I have many of the same dilemmas.
    I mainly collect Roamers but over the last few years Cymas, Helvetias, Certinas, Tissots, and Eternas have strangely appeared.
    The watches I decide are definite keepers go to the front of the servicing queue -others I will keep for a while and if I end up either not wearing them as part of a rotation – or I decide they’re not for me they get sold on to help fund the costs of servicing the others.
    Similar to you I have a recent Orient Ray II which would cover most bases along with a Hamilton Khaki Field..but they`re not vintage! :0)

Comments are closed.