When you visit any watch enthusiast comment section or forum discussion, you get all sorts of peculiarities from a range of people who love watches. From the outside looking in it appears that these comments about very specific details—numeral font, hand length, crystal curvature, case shape, a frame on a date window—are very nitpicky. In my perspective, it’s this obsessiveness with the details that makes you an enthusiast.
Photo by Rolex
For instance, adding the 0 before the 5 in the new 2022 version of the Rolex Air-King makes all the difference. To me that added detail balances out the dial and is far more important to me than the lumed numerals, added crown guards and thinner case. To many, those other details are far more important, but that’s why our hobby is so interesting.
Photo from Rolex Forums
I love that the flat four, a tiny flatter section on the top of the numeral 4 in the Rolex Kermit Submariner is even a thing (as opposed to a pointy 4). How cool is that? Watch geeks really care about a very slight difference in one numeral on a very specific watch.
Photo by Omega
I didn’t buy an Omega Speedmaster Professional until they came out with this new version with a tapered bracelet and hacking movement. Those were the two key elements that mattered to me, while others cared more about a stepped dial and a dot over the 90 on the bezel. Hesalite vs. sapphire? Yes, that really, really makes a difference on this particular watch.
It’s really important to know your own criteria for watch purchasing so that you can form a collection that is distinctly yours. The journey, buying and selling, is what gets us to discovering our personal tastes, which can and probably will continually evolve. Some of us may reach the perfect collection, while some of us will always be striving to reach that peak. The beauty of it all is that there is no right or wrong way to interact with watches.
Photo by Gear Patrol
There is one tenant that I do recommend for everyone: use your gut. What is your most immediate reaction to seeing a particular watch? Freeze that reaction. It will help you formulate every decision about that watch moving forward. Once you’ve set that initial reaction to a watch, then it can bear further scrutiny. Be very picky when it comes to making bigger watch purchases. Of course, I also don’t believe in overthinking anything to the point of inaction. It’s only a material object after all so you can have fun. It’s OK to make mistakes and that’s how people learn, but understanding the difference between liking and loving a watch can greatly help reduce your mistakes.
Don’t get caught up on the specifications listed on paper. A 40mm case on one watch can wear completely different from another 40mm case. Try it on if you can. Be a hard critic. Only take out the credit card when you have that unmistakable feeling that you have to have a certain watch.