Many collectors focus simply on watches they like — regardless of price and brand — while others opt for more significant historical pieces, while still others focus on one particular brand. Certain collectors only want limited-edition or bespoke timepieces, and others don't shy away from popular models.
Some watch aficionados hold on to the watches they buy. Others buy and sell their timepieces, using the proceeds to buy even more watches.
Chances are you already have a few watches, so in essence you already have a collection. Some collectors begin by buying watches that they expect will appreciate in value, but like gambling, it's no sure thing. Many retailers advise their customers to buy watches they fall in love with. If they go up in value, great. If not, they still have a watch they can enjoy.
In general, the more limited and exclusive the timepiece, the more collectible it is. Rolex Daytonas are highly prized, as are any Patek Philippe watches, because of the quality and iconic style, but also because they are produced in extremely limited numbers.
Once you know what you want, go out and find the pieces that fit your collection. Half the fun of acquiring watches is the chase — finding the perfect watch at the perfect price.
Buying New: To Wear or Not to Wear?
You may need one particular model to round out your collection, or perhaps you are looking for pieces with historical significance, like Gandhi’s Zenith pocket watch. If so, auctions are for you. The most prominent auction houses with offices in Los Angeles are Christie’s (www.christies.com) and Sotheby’s (www.sothebys.com). But also be sure to check out the websites of top New York City watch auctioneers Patrizzi & Co. (www.patrizziauctioneers.com) and Antiquorum (www.antiquorum.com).
Retailers who offer trade-ins will refurbish the watches they take in trade, offer their own warranties (typically two years) and provide verification of authenticity, so you can buy with confidence. Check out the retailers in your area to see which have such a trade-in program.