This post is about something I made up, called “The Enjoyment Gap” which arises as a result of watches being released too often. Collectors keep buying them as a result of the need for dopamine or to fuel the status drive, and the releases keep coming, likely a result of watch companies trying to take advantage of the buoyant market we’re in right now. So how does that play out?
Social status is formally defined as “a person’s standing or importance in relation to other people within a society” and yet, people often think of status exclusively in terms of wealth. The truth is, the concept of social status is at play everywhere; In every situation where we get the feeling that we are of value to other people, or where where we feel even an iota of elevation in our relative social position. The universal human desire for status greatly influences our culture, as well as our own behaviour and the ups and downs of our mood… turns out, this probably has a lot to do with our hobby as watch collectors too!
Anyone who has been collecting watches for more than a couple of years will recall a time when they were able to buy today’s most desirable watches right out an authorised dealer’s display cabinet. Today you might be labelled a “flipper” and blacklisted by a brand for selling something you rightfully own and should be able to do with as you please. Is that right?
I watched two seemingly unrelated TED talks, but I thought they were interestingly connected; One tackles how to get rid of things you already have, and the other offers advice around minimising the acquisition of new things. As watch collectors, this seems to summarise a conundrum we face daily!
I recently had a fascinating conversation with “D” @doobooloo about his new Furlan Marri watches, contrasting them (perhaps surprisingly) with his new R. W. Smith “micro architectural wonderland” which he recently took delivery of, after a 5 year wait! We then got onto the topic of how depreciation has changed the collecting mindset… and this post gives us a glimpse into collecting in what I call the “endgame league” – I’m sure D will disagree! I hope you enjoy the perspectives.
In an attempt to understand “collecting”, I fell into a rabbit hole and found myself reading academic papers on the subject, trying to make sense of it all. What you will read below is a collection of ideas from the papers referenced below, as well as several other publications which are linked in the text. Even after all that reading, the topic is so abstract that it was challenging to reach any universally applicable conclusion. Instead, I offer a universal truth about people who are passionate about collecting. I hope you enjoy it, and look forward to your thoughts.