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The Noble Art of Possessing a Watch

Anna Wu-Chauvineau
Le 5 July 2017

The reasons as to what first attracted us to the wide world of watches are as varied as they are personal. This being said however, certain types of behaviour prove to be more noble and elegant than others. Here’s a quick focus on a pathological condition which none of us is stranger to…

The desire to possess, where does it come from?

Vintage watch collection

The desire of possession is a part of human nature and is clearly not limited to timepieces. The famous “It’s mine” appears very quickly during a child’s education, and often well before the notions of giving or sharing. Nothing unhealthy here, just as long as we keep ourselves at a safe distance and not end up possessed by our possessions

Accumulating isn’t the same as acquiring

Some friends are great collectors and, with time, have collections that would make watch sellers pale in comparison. A wide variety of walks of life are among them, with just as many different sources of motivation.

Their motivation spans from a pathological need to accumulate, a “to have it all” syndrome if you will (without ever wearing them), to a collector’s passion, and an investor’s aim to build an inheritance that he may one day pass down to future generations. These different sources of motivation aren’t contradictory, and even often complimentary.

Let’s go back to the first profile for a moment. One who accumulates and never wears them, or who possesses so many pieces that each watch gets only a few days of wrist time a year.

Patek Philippe - Calatrava

Personally, I find this rather sad, even if I do understand the inheritance and financial value of this type of collection. This is where watches lose their souls and stop telling stories. Think of a plane that’s kept in a museum, or a lion that turns in circles in his cage, with an empty look in his eyes. I don’t know about you, but it’s always sad for me to see an old dive watch, preserved in it’s original condition, never able to see the light, or even the ocean, for which it was created.

Acquiring to bring back to life

Acquiring a watch is also a way to save it, paying tribute by offering it a new life. We must know how to listen, observe, understand and learn to be able to fully appreciate its true value. I’m not only talking about its financial value…of course.

This is true whether we’re dealing with a new or vintage watch, even more so when it’s a historical piece that has lived many lives. A watch that has been loved, worn and respected will naturally bloom and relive.

There are dull and lifeless watches, and there are those which tell stories. I believe that objects, like humans, have a memory and keep the marks that life has shown them.

Collectors know exactly what I’m talking about. Sometimes something special happens, sometimes nothing, an enormous difference undetectable by neophytes.

Vintage Omega watch

Acquiring a watch is to engage oneself in writing the future pages of its story, not trapping it inside a cold safe, without ever allowing it to see the light of day. It’s taking the watch on trips, or offering it to someone who will cherish and wear it with love.

When we separate ourselves from a piece we’ve worn, we all desire the same thing: that the next owner will treat it well and welcome it with the same joy and tenderness. We hope that the individual will learn it’s history and the fine details of the caliber that makes it heart beat, and that he’ll have a grin when looking the patina develop on the markers.

I’ll even go so far as to say that when we separate ourselves from a piece, it is our duty to find the “right” new home for the one with which we shared so many memorable moments.

Like with human relations, there are ones who collect conquests, and those who want to grow old with the one they’ve chosen. No accusations, no judgements, only observations here.

If we dare continue with this analogy, you’ll notice that this passion for watches uniting us has a real advantage. To associate love and polygamy, encouraging us to remain true gentlemen…don’t you think?

Rolex 16750 - Joseph Bonnie NATO strap