Face Value: How to Start a Watch Collection
Whether you opt for vintage or new, starting a new watch collection is a great way to invest in a passion.
Wear It or Store It?
You should wear all of your watches at some point, even if you’re buying them as investments. Why buy a watch if you can’t show it off and enjoy it on your wrist?
Watch collector Robert Bryan, former men’s fashion editor of The New York Times Magazine, has hundreds of vintage watches from the 1930s and 1940s. “I wear a beautiful watch every day,” he shares. “I’m just interested in the look and style of these solid, quality devices.”
Care and Storage
If you’re going to wear your watches, you have to keep them in running order. Most modern watches use batteries that last for three to five years. If you are adept at using the special tool needed to open the back of most watches, then by all means, replace the batteries yourself. But most of us prefer to bring our watches to an expert. This also gives you the chance to have the watch and band checked and professionally cleaned.
If you’re not going to regularly wear your watches, you can safely store them—preferably in their original cases—in a cool, dry, dark environment like a chest of drawers or a box built especially for storing watches. Keep them neatly arranged and do not let the watches touch. If you don’t have the original box, and want to go to somewhat extreme measures, store your watch in a cigar humidor box. The humidity and temperature can be set up optimally for the preservation of your watch. It’s worth it if you have some fine, fine timepieces.
If the watch runs on batteries, follow the watchmaker’s instructions for stopping it. For most watches, you can stop the movement by carefully pulling out the time/date stem of the watch as far as it can safely go.
If you plan on displaying your watches— after all, they are little works of art—purchase a watch display box or vitrine to show off one or many of your prized possessions.