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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.

How to Start, Maintain, and Grow a Collection

Research is key. Learn as much as you can about watches by researching shopping sites and watch-centric blogs like hodinkee.com or watchreport.com. Reading posts by some of these knowledgeable and sometimes-obsessive collectors will increase your expertise almost immediately.

Keep your collection in top shape. Replace batteries and have your watches serviced and cleaned regularly.

Be ready to divest when the time is right. What you loved yesterday may not fit the bill tomorrow. Investing in quality pieces with good resale value will help you the most in the future when you want to add something to your collection that’s potentially pricier.

Time for a New Watch? >>>

If you’ve followed these rules, reselling your watches for cost or profit to raise funds for your next coveted item should be easy. This simple buy-and-sell strategy is how most great collections were created.

As for me, I have one watch that I regularly wear—a Swiss watch by Mougin & Piquard with a weathered brown leather band. My wife gave it to me as a celebratory gift. It’s become a staple of my look and I love it.

That’s not to say I’m off the market: I figure I’ll have a new watch every two or three years as my aesthetic evolves. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll even have a great collection.

Did You Know: The Most Expensive Watch Ever Sold

Watch collectors have been known to be super competitive about getting what they want. And in recent years, there have been some absolutely insane prices paid for really beautiful timepieces. 

The undisputed winner in this category is the Patek Philippe Supercomplication pocket watch from the Henry Graves Jr. collection, which sold at Sotheby’s for $11,002,500 in 1999. The watch (which was created between 1928 and 1933) is engraved with the Graves coat of arms and was designed by Graves to best his watch-collecting rival, auto manufacturer James Ward Packard. 

Until recently, the watch was also considered the world’s most complicated timepiece, with 24 “complications,” or special features. Most watches have just three.

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