AboutTime Fall 2020 - Page 24



By Laurent Martinez


Over the years , I have noticed a recurring pattern

with collectors that are new to the vintage watch market . There seems to be a tendency to compulsively buy too many watches at once without clear motivation as to why .
However , it appears that many new collectors that have taken this approach are ready to part with at least half of their new collection only a few months after building it . Perhaps they were attracted to a certain style . Maybe they enjoyed the mystery of discovering something special .
Or maybe they purchased a watch thinking they got a good bargain despite never having seen or heard of the watch before .
I remember meeting a young collector in Paris who wanted to sell his watches . He came to me with bags of timepieces , but he did not really know what he had .
I unfortunately had to let him know that most of his watches were worthless . Out of the one hundred or so timepieces , he only had a few interesting pieces from Croton and Lip .
Of course , this type of collecting can have a serious impact on your wallet . Buying a watch without knowing much about its value ends up being a waste of time and money .
It may end up costing you more to fix the watch than it is actually worth . You may not be able to resell the watch for the price you paid for it or worse ; you may be unable to sell it at all — even at a loss .
DO YOUR HOMEWORK So , how do you start a vintage watch collection ? The most important thing to do is to do your homework to build some guidelines . This does not necessarily mean having to spend hundreds of hours researching watches , but at the very least you should invest time into setting some parameters .
For example , define your preferred style . Dressy or sporty ? Simple three-handed dial or a more complex chronograph ? Stainless steel or gold ? Civilian watches or military-issued timepieces ? While you may like all of the above , it is always better to start with some restrictions in mind to avoid getting carried away . This approach will narrow your options and give you more focus .
After you have thoughtfully acquired some pieces that fit your initial criteria , then you can expand the parameters .
ESTIMATE VALUE In terms of estimating the value of a watch , you can always
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