Opinion Unvarnished: Why I Don't Recommend Collecting Entry-Level Watches

Opinions Unvarnished is a brand-new segment on the Britix blog which features 100% unvarnished opinions on watches, designed to be controversial and foster vibrant debate. It is my opinion that the more ideas are spread in the watch community, the better a new enthusiast can gauge the direction of their collection.

If you have read any number of my articles, you know that I’m hesitant to recommend the vast majority of “affordable” timepieces. Instead, I’ve been proud to recommend iconic luxury timepieces from iconic brands and high-end independents. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great entry-level timepieces. For example, Seiko, Hamilton, and Longines make great first watches. They serve the purpose of getting you into the hobby and fueling your passion for watches.

Public Domain

Public Domain

However, many new enthusiasts are misled into believing that they can build an impressive collection of Orients, Seikos, and Chinese-Made watches. This is unequivocally false. Going about collecting this way is doing yourself a disservice because many of these watches are not worth servicing/repairing, selling, or passing down to future generations. You can enter the watch hobby on a budget, but do not expect to build a collection on a budget. There is nothing wrong with an inexpensive timepiece, but I beg you to not build a collection full of these. In my experience, it is much more fulfilling to own one really nice watch than 20 cheap ones. After all, unless your name is Norman Schwarzkopf, you can only wear one watch at a time.

I also find that the prevalence of gushing and overhyped reviews of cheap watches negates ones natural progression into luxury timepieces. It seems people take everything way too literally when it comes to watch reviews. Just because someone says a Seiko is a great watch, and another says the same thing about a Rolex, it will never make them equal. It is all relevant to the money and purpose of the watch.

Public Domain

Public Domain

Furthermore, a quantity of inexpensive timepieces will never scratch that itch. The excitement produced from the instant gratification of “getting it now” quickly fades into buyers remorse or a hunger to buy another. Moreover, it is more satisfactory to acquire a watch that one knows will stand the test of time, will always be worth maintaining, and that (if bought right) will hold its value. If you take away anything from this article, it is to resist the instant-gratification urge and save up for a high-end timepiece.