A place to show and talk about watches

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Hunt

The Hunt: Fulfilling the Void in Your Soul Watch Box

Like many other watch aficionados, I find myself in constant search of watch Nirvana. I have multiple times compulsively browsed eBay.com, Chrono24.com, and watchrecon.com for the next best deal, or that special timepiece that will finally satisfy the capricious demands of my always displeased watch box (which while physically full, for some reason, feels inadequate). Some call this practice The Hunt.

Spending innumerous hours tracking, targeting, and eventually trapping that special timepiece for the right price is just one more source of anxiety for the novice watch collector. As much as I would like to deny that The Hunt had perhaps affected my productivity at work and home, I can’t.

The behavior that I describe above is not different than other types of online obsessions: dating, gambling, and Pokémon Go are good examples. Obsessing over finding a partner, predicting next match’s winner, or catching Ditto (a.k.a. Metamon, this Pokémon species has the form of an amorphous blob with a simplistic face) may very well meet the definition of addiction. However, in the upside, some would argue that without being a little obsessed, we might lack the motivation to accomplish great things. So without turning this piece into a comprehensive study on addiction/obsession management, the key (as explained by A. Lickerman, M.D. author of The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self) is to make obsession work for us rather than work us over.

I believe this behavior mainly affects new watch aficionados because they are eager to start their collections and check all the boxes.

“OK, I need at least two watches. I need a dress watch and a sports watch… But I should get a gold dress watch for special occasions; yellow or rose gold? Good question. Maybe I should also get an understated dress watch, so nobody in the office will think that I am trying to be pretentious.”

“I need a diver’s watch, but I never go swimming. Well it doesn’t matter; everybody needs a diver, right? James Bond wears one with a tuxedo, so it’s cool.”

“Man! I really want a GMT; tracking more than two time zones is so useful. Remember three years ago when we were in Europe?”

“Gotta go vintage, that’s where it is at. Thank you, Lord, for my lady-sized wrists!”

“No seriously, what do you mean with I should look at German watches?”

“You know what I really need? A beater watch. I’m not going to wear my nice watches when mowing the lawn, am I?”

And on, and on, and on…

With experience you learn that building a well-balanced timepiece assemblage takes time. As cliché as it may sound, Rome wasn’t built in a day. This is especially true when you take into consideration your evolving tastes due to lifestyle changes, or your increasing knowledge of horology.

I recommend Jeffrey McMahon’s YouTube video, What I learned from My Invicta Days. In this video, McMahon talks about his “watch obsessive drowning in the bowels of TV shopping networks hawking Invicta watches.” For me, this video describes very well what could happen when a new and/or uninformed watch collector tries to build a collection too fast. I was lucky that my friend Terry introduced me early on to a world of watch styles, designs, origins, and time periods, so that by the time I was ready to embark on my own watch-collecting journey, I was able to avoid many common slip-ups such as McMahon’s Invicta Days. I am not here to say that Invictas must be avoided, but they are just not for me and I would not recommend them to those who want to get started in the hobby.

The Hunt is part of the game; it brings excitement to the hobby and it feeds our curiosity. But it can also expose us to the bad and the ugly of online shopping: corrupt buyers, dishonest sellers, unreliable package couriers, selling fees, buying fees, and buyer’s and seller’s remorse.

The reality is that the watch that you think will finally cure your watch collecting anxieties, and fill that void in your soul most likely won’t.

Go ahead: have fun, but take your time. Or like I once told my friend Patrice, “I need to stop knocking doors searching for the one; I need to let it present itself.” However, it doesn’t hurt to take a look once in a while!


  1. I currently don't collect anything except tools :-) but back when I was collecting coins, more than anything, I was doing it because of the rush I felt while browsing the glass counters at the antique stores or tables at garage sales. I never considered myself a "collector" but it was like digging in a field for dinosaur bones.