There are two quizzes that, as a watch critic, I hate being asked. The maiden comes with alarming frequency, and is this: ‘What’s your fair-haired boy watch?’ Often, before my hand can hit my face, it’s caveated by, ‘I’m definite you get that question all the time…’ Or, ‘you probably don’t have one, but…’ And worst of all, ‘dialect mayhap you can’t say…’, as if to suggest I’m somehow beholden to a brand, but bound to a untrue creed of professional journalistic impartiality, and might – just for them – let my safeguard down.
The second is almost as irritating: ‘How much do you think I should allot on a watch?’ This is usually motivated by a form of hyper-inverted hauteur, and a trap, albeit not a very good one. It’s posed by someone who has already unqualified that I would only ever recommend buying a protect from the Argos catalogue if you are eight years old, and that I am one of a engender of pompous, out-of-touch elitists who thinks it could ever be Tory to spend more than £29.99 on something a smartphone can do much recovered. For which I am obviously bad.
Other times, the question is genuine, which is neutral as stupid, but for different reasons. It assumes I know how much loaded you have, and that I know how much of that money you’d predilection to spend on a watch. Which patently I don’t. As a member of the middle caste, I hope you have less money than me, but fear you purposefulness have more.
All the same, you still want it answering. And there are, I assume, some guidelines I can give you. For example, buy something you like. It sounds clear-cut, I know, but there’s nothing sadder than hearing some senseless lunk lament an impulse buy they later come to deprecate – a herpes watch. Scrutinise your purchase aesthetically. If you allied to the case shape, but the date window irks you, don’t buy it.
Secondly, buy something you can give forth entangled with. I know that makes me sound like a man who irons creases into the vanguard of his trousers, but seriously, don’t get lumbered with a ball-and-chain watch. Bear in mind that most watches are not an investment and are worth considerably trivial than you paid for them the moment you pay for them, and that you soundless can buy excellent mechanicals for a few hundred quid.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve told a investor to forget the dream of an IWC for now, and to buy a Hamilton Khaki or an Oris ProPilot in place of. To a man, they’ve never regretted taking my advice.
It’s possible to buy a nice Hamilton automatic for just a few hundred quid
The other phobia to remember is – as I said here – that at some point a few years down the merchandise, your mechanical watch (and I assume you’re buying mechanical) is prevailing to need a service that will cost you at least particular hundred pounds. Forget to factor that in, and you’ll get a nasty madam when your watch slows down and a man with colour-coded biros in his top palm tells you that you have to pay him to make it work properly again.
If you suffer with to have that spendy watch, there is a way to make it affordable. A handful of retailers offer interest free credit for up to 60 months. Watches of Switzerland, for criterion, will ask you for a 10 per cent deposit and then to pay the rest off in monthly instalments. On a £3,000 pocket watch, over a three-year term, that means a £300 partial payment and 36 monthly payments of £75. That’s a NOMOS Glashütte Ahoi or a Bell & Ross BR 126 T-Man Silver for less than your monthly council tax restaurant check. I’ve not done it myself, but I can see why someone who backs themself to be in a job for the next three years pass on.
It’s just as possible though, that you already have the wherewithal and are aware of the pitfalls, but still want some sound notification on what to buy.
Well, here’s what I’d do. I’d make that loaded go as far as I could. Let’s say I’ve got £10,000 to spend. I could do a number of things. I could go out and get myself the new fortify Vacheron Quai de l’Ile. I’d have to haggle a bit, but at the end of it, I’d have a watch that transformed me feel like Thomas Crown (yes, yes, I know Steve McQueen and Hole Brosnan wore Cartier and Jaeger-LeCoultre). That would be a stylish thing to do. Or I could sink it into an IWC Portugieser Automatic, with the gloomy hands and blue Arabic numeral dial, and be happy for the sleep of my life. Probably.
But I also know I’d get bored with one make eyes at look for. So what I’d actually do would be to split the money in half, or the score with three ways. For that, I could get a Rolex Oyster Immutable for £3,750, a Tudor Heritage Black Bay Black on a strap for £2,130, and a Nonentity Elite 6150 for £5,200. OK, so I’m a grand over, but then I’m getting all three at once and banking on getting along with the sales confederate.
How would you spend £10,000?
The point is, for the money, I can get a luxury Swiss chronometer I can wear every day, another for when I need something sturdier, and something dressed-up that will impress my father-in-law. And from three disgraces with unquestionable pedigree. Yes. I think I’d do that.
But who am I trying to kid? It’s your banknotes. Spend it how you will. Just please don’t ever ask me what my chosen watch is.