If you speak to any branding consultant, designer or architect, they’ll tell you about how clients tend to have an easier time conveying what they don’t like about a design, sketch or draft… rather than what they would prefer instead. People manifest this dynamic in designing their lives too. This has consequences for watch collecting too.
“I don’t want to wear the same watch as everyone else. I don’t want a regular day-job. I don’t want to follow the beaten path.” Ok, fair enough. So how would you describe what you desire? “I’m not like my brother. I’m not like my colleagues. I’m not like my friends.” Perhaps. So then, who/what are you like?
“I don’t like gold watches. I’m not a fan of Vacheron. I don’t like NATO straps.” Fine! But what do you like?
It is a lot easier to define yourself by what you’re not, than by what you are. It is more natural to spell out what you don’t like, or don’t want, than it is to articulate what you do.
Destructive tendencies are almost instinctual… after all, even my toddler can smash a TV or ruin a perfectly clean floor with ease. Acts of affirmation are a lot more challenging, and require active creativity, vision and above all… intent.
Clearly there is always work to be done for collectors finding their path and honing their tastes over time. You’ll come to try on many different watches over time… some large, some small… you’ll experience what it feels like to live with certain complications… how they fit into your daily lives… perhaps you will grow to prefer automatic watches because you tend to forget to wind your watch quite often… or you’ll prefer having no complications, because you never use them, but having set incorrectly triggers your OCD. The truth is, you can’t possibly know a lot of this in advance… you need to experience it firsthand.
Through these experiences… you can quickly gather the data you require to define yourself accurately, and positively. What do you like, and why do you like it? This older post might help too, since we often get our ‘likes’ and ‘wants’ confused. Here’s another old post which advocates for collectors actively finding out what they like by taking themselves through the process of figuring it out, using data they have gathered themselves… rather than simply asking someone on Instagram or watching a YouTube review.
Lastly, remember that the only constant is change. You might like steel watches today, and as time passes you might develop an appreciation for gold watches. Perhaps you enjoy complicated pieces and spend a lot of time staring through open case backs at beautiful movements today… and then, as you get older and your eyesight fails you, you find yourself gravitating towards simple time-only pieces with an emotional back-story. All of this is natural… just remember to focus on the positive aspects; Pay attention to what you DO like…and WHY. None of this is groundbreaking stuff, but realise there are a bunch of new readers here and I thought this was a useful, positive message to share nonetheless.