A place to show and talk about watches

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Rebuy Syndrome

Not long ago, I found myself contemplating the idea of buying a clean example of an early 1970’s Omega Constellation. To be completely honest, I was not planning on buying another vintage Omega; in fact, I was in the process of reducing the size of my collection. Yet, there was something special about this piece.

You see, my very first Swiss mechanical wristwatch was a 1973 Omega Constellation. The watch featured a modest 35mm stainless steel case and a blue dial. I was so happy with this watch that I was willing to ignore some of its faults, such as unconventional lugs, a quite clattery modified bracelet, and a defective pinion that caused the second hand to fall off. After a while, my taste and knowledge of mechanical watches started to develop and I decided to sell it to invest in superior timepieces.
So here I was, a more experienced and educated enthusiast with a basic but fairly (horologically) significant collection considering buying another 40-year-old Omega, because it reminded me of my first serious watch. 

Early 70’s, stainless steel case and bracelet with a blue dial, but with a C-shaped case and conventional lugs! Without realizing it, I had reignited the emotional connection that I had with my first watch while at the same time falling victim of the Rebuy Syndrome. (Again. Well, sort of).

The first time I suffered from the Rebuy Syndrome happened when I purchased an early 1990’s Seamaster Professional 200m Automatic, a.k.a. the pre-Bond. I had previously owned the same watch, but in the 36mm or mid-size version. A nice watch overall; however, I thought that it was a little small even for my diminutive 6 3/4” (17cm) wrist. Perhaps because it was very comfortable to wear or because I really appreciated its honest vintage design, I started to miss it soon after it was gone. At any rate, it took some time, but I was able to locate the full-size version and I bought it.

I have been very close to falling for the Rebuy Syndrome again. From time to time, I seriously consider the idea of buying an Omega Seamaster Professional 300m in 41mm, after owning and selling the mid-size version of the same watch.

There have been other occasions, such as the time when I sold an Omega Speedmaster Reduced only to buy a Speedmaster Professional 1957 re-issue. However, I don’t consider this a rebuy; while the product family is the same, the models are significantly different.

A typical source of anxiety for new watch enthusiasts is trying to grow or change the shape of their collections too quickly. Perhaps, frequent and hurried buying-and-selling doesn’t allow the collector to really enjoy and get to know each piece in the collection, or determine if the watch can be considered a keeper or not. It has not happened to me, but I have heard many stories about enthusiast selling a watch only to buy the exact same reference months later.

Selling a watch only to buy it again after realizing our mistake can be a costly, time consuming, and frustrating experience.

I have not yet regretted any rebuy, perhaps because in each occasion I did not purchase the exact same reference, but a variation of the same model that worked better for me at the end.

As far as my most recent rebuy, well, I hope to keep this piece for a long time. It is a reminder of simpler times when I only expected one or two things from my watches; it reminds me that monetary value, history, heritage, prestige, or public perception are not vital for the enjoyment of a quality timepiece.

On a separated note, during the writing of this blog post, I realized that I have only experienced the Rebuy Syndrome with Omega watches. I do not know exactly why that is, but we can all agree that the range of models in the Omega catalog over the years is incredibly diverse. I probably have owned more watches from Omega than from any other brand and I am sure that brand loyalty does not apply here. Maybe a topic of conversation for another time. In the meantime, I hope that this new realization does not create any more anxieties!

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