Do you like the idea more than the reality?

Is there anything more thrilling than unboxing a new watch; hunting for years and then finding a particular piece; paying a lower price than you expected to; or getting a call from your authorised dealer at the most unexpected time?

You feel a surge of excitement as you lift open the lid for the first time; figuring out how you will pay for that once-seemingly unattainable watch ; being excited to tell your friends what a good deal you struck; excitedly yet nervously going to inform your partner that you will be spending 4-6 figures that day. This is going to be the thing that satisfies you. This is going to be awesome!

However, before you know it, that new watch becomes just another one of the many watches you own; the long-hunted grail also joins the rest of them; the money saved from your superb deal has been spent elsewhere; and you’re waiting for the next call from your authorised dealer again.

What [the f*ck] happened?

When we dream up all these scenarios about the future of our collecting journey, we see a vision in which all the aftermath has been edited out, and only the montage of happiness and excitement is left behind. This might be the part where you expect me to talk about having loftier goals and putting in harder work in order to achieve them… but what if your goal-setting isn’t in need of greater discipline, but in need of greater discernment?

As I’ve said before, people usually fail to achieve their aims because they fail to understand what they really want, or what they truly enjoy… in other words, the unique genre or style of pieces from which they derive pleasure, maybe even an area which other collectors consider a pain, or even hate.

So the point is this… definitely create your bucket list; As you figure out what goes on the list, think carefully about whether you like the idea of something more than its reality. Not everyone who likes the look of an Octo Finissimo will enjoy wearing one. You can appreciate F.P. Journe’s work and still not feel it is worth owning. Sure, every ‘serious’ collector you know seems to think that the Patek Philippe 3970 is the most undervalued and underrated watch of the remaining ‘attainable’ references form the brand… so what? Is it for you? Do you wish to be seen as ‘serious’ by other who you admire, and therefore feel obliged to take their advice?

I confess this train of thought might seem like the antithesis of a previous post urging you to try new things… but in my mind, both angles hold true simultaneously. Only you can ever truly know why you like or dislike something; All I am saying is, be clear about your “why”, and make sure it is focused entirely on your own needs and beliefs.


Header image: Eric Clapton’s 3970.  (Courtesy of Phillips)

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Greypilgrim says:

    Totally agree – only problem is most if not everyone don’t truly know who they are and what they like in any given day😃

    Thanks for continuing to explore the underbelly of the watch collecting psyche – you’re easily my favourite commentator on the industry. 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. kingflum says:

      😂 too true.

      Really appreciate your kind words; My day is only just beginning, and you’ve already made it! 🙏🙏


  2. MarkedForTime says:

    I have two types of watches in my collection. Spontaneous purchases and attainable grails that are on the list..ticked off one by one. Perhaps a third..unplanned great deals.

    I have no regrets on any of them, but I’ve made a conscious effort to minimize the spontaneous pick-ups. Fewer is better and being more deliberate is my new path forward. I feel like I’m curating a collection. Strange it took me decades to come to this conclusion! I still firmly believe in attainable grails.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. kingflum says:

      And so you should! I love that you’re only buying “random” stuff or “your determined grails” 😂 – what a man! That’s a fantastic spectrum.


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