You may have a collection yourself or you probably know at least one guy who does. They come in every imaginable style and size. Some guys just can’t have enough of them. Their prices can run into the hundreds of thousands of Dollars. But what is the big craze all about? Why is it that some guys that are considered macho in every way, will stop and notice the watch some other guy is wearing and tell his wife or buddies, “Hey that guy has a Panerai Luminor on” ?
Well the truth is it is about the only thing most men can get away with accessorizing. In most cases a guy will not own a ‘Marco’s” size shoe collection. Obviously we do not collect handbags and we usually do not collect jewelry, even though we may own a few pieces, but it is not uncommon for a true collector to have 20-50 watches or more.
What kind of watch a guy wears has come to say a lot about that guy. It is no longer just the old watch our dads wore. Some guys will only wear large watches (48+ mm across the face). While some guys only like the rectangular style or Tonnaeu shape. Some guys will only collect vintage watches that are at least 40 years old.
There are so many factors that can contribute to the uniqueness of a watch collection. There are watches in gold, silver, titanium, platinum, carbon fiber, and there is even one company that produces watches from materials salvaged from the Titanic. Some watches are electronic while most watches collected are either mechanical or automatic. There are also specialty movements called Tourbillon’s that are very delicate movements.
Another device that is part of any aficionado’s collection is a watch winder. This device usually is made of such as exotic materials as Madroni Burled Walnut and Ebony Makassar. Winders are available in single watch units and can run all the way up to huge units that wind 6 or more watches at the same time. There are also single watch mini-winders that are meant for traveling. These portable units can be found covered in exotic leathers.
Most collections will consist of a certain type of watch. Some collections may consist of moderately priced manufacturers such as Invicta, Croton, and Jacques Lemans. While some collections may be dedicated to strictly high end watches, such as Girard-peregaux, Cartier, and Jeager-Lecoultre and others may consist strictly diving watches or oversized models, while others may be centered on unique features such as Tourbillions. A Tourbillion is a type of escapement that centers on the effects of gravity and are very difficult to manufacturer. Watches that contain these devices tend to run well over $100,000.00.
If you are planning to start a collection and are not sure where to start it is a good idea to purchase a magazine on the subject such as “WatchTime”. They have great articles on different watch companies and also contain some educational material on the different part of a watch. You can read product comparisons and gain knowledge about different movements such as what the difference is between an Eta 2285 and a Valjoux 7750.
Our local jewelers are also a great place to learn about different types of watches. Canadian watch imports, at 233 Spaldina Drive in Toronto are a great source of watches for every budget and taste. They offer brands such as Choppard, Rolex, Tissot, Cartier and Audemar Piquet. Another good source in our area is Birk Jewlers, who manufacture their own lines of watches including luxury and sport models. The Birk Jewlery location in the new Victory center in Toronto also carry world renown names such as Baume + Mercier and Tag Huer.
A great local place to find some lesser expensive but still equally as nice watches is Simcoe Fine Jewelry, who is an authorized distributor for Seiko. A local jeweler will always be happy to spend time with you to explain the different types of movements and the benefits of a watch winder, particularly if they think you are going to be buying from them.
When purchasing a fine watch it is probably a good idea to stay away from EBay, since there are so many knock-off or “replicas” on the market trying to be passed off as the real thing. There are some good sources of authentic watches on line where you can actually bid on the items. Bidz.com and Portero.com are both auction sites that guarantee the authenticity of their watches.
Should you purchase a watch and you are uncertain of the authenticity of it there are websites dedicated to teaching you how to distinguish between an authentic and a replica. Finewatchbuyer.com has some educational material that will teach you to identify a fake. Your local jeweler will also be willing to assist you in identifying the authenticity of a watch. However you may want to ask if they plan to confiscate it. In some places knockoffs or “replica’s”, are illegal. Your jeweler is also a great place to get an antique or vintage watch appraised. Even some pawn shops offer good quality authentic time pieces, and they should have someone on the premises that can appraise and validate a watch.
No matter what type of watch your collection consists of you will take great pride in the ownership of a handcrafted watch. You will get hours of enjoyment out of learning about, admiring and purchasing watches. If the idea of purchasing a device to tell the time that costs tens of thousands of dollars is hard for your loved one to accept purchase her one the next time you get yourself one and she is less likely to complain.