You have too many watches! I don’t blame you… I do too!
It’s easy to get caught up in accumulating a lot of timepieces. Especially at the beginning of your watch enthusiast journey. I’ve been there and done that, and still am currently.
The problem is: there are issues with having a large watch collection. Not life-threatening issues – after all, this is just a passion and hobby – but still.
Consolidating your collection – getting rid of some (or most) of your watches – could really be beneficial in the long run. It just might not seem that obvious when you’re getting started.
So how many watches do you need in your collection? I can’t answer that question for you. I try to go for 12 or less, and I would love to be disciplined enough to have only 6 pieces. Why 6? Because they nicely fit into a small watch box!
So if you still need to make up your mind about how many watches you should have, here are the drawbacks of a (too) large watch collection!
1. You don’t create a meaningful connection with your watches
Picture this: you have a 20 watches collection.
Let’s assume you wear them equally throughout the year: you can only wear them for 18 days out of 365. That’s not so bad, right? It’s more than half a month each! So what is the fuss all about?
When you wear a watch for so little time, you don’t get a create a meaningful connection with it the way you can with a watch that you wear 2 months or more per year.
Why? Because wearing a watch for longer periods of time means that you’ll be wearing the same watch more often during important events. And you will associate it with powerful memories, good and bad.
I love the idea of a watch living the same experiences as me. The only way to do that is to (dramatically) reduce your watch collection.
2. You get disposable watches
If you own too many watches, chances are you’re not serious about keeping them when you get them in the first place.
Of course, flipping watches every now and then is perfectly fine. Your taste changes, and your comfort standards as well. That’s normal.
But because you get so many watches, I bet you try to keep to cost of each down. Nothing wrong with affordable watches per se, but then you create a habit of getting a watch, wearing it for a few weeks, and flipping it at a loss. Rinse and repeat.
Watches are useful little gems. Don’t treat them like a disposable item; they can use some love too. And you’ll be a more responsible consumer by having a buying behavior that is more sustainable for the environment.
3. You don’t actually wear something you are proud of
Are you proud the watch you’re wearing today?
When you shrink your watch collection, you have to make choices. Hard choices. You have to decide to pick only one chronograph or one GTM watch. There is some kind of sacrifice here.
But because you can only have so many watches, you’ll want to wear something that you’re proud of. And one great way to do that is to buy a watch for a very important life event or decision.
What do you think will make you proud? A throw-away piece that you get in a hurry because it looks cool, or a piece that you’ve been waiting to get as a reward for a personal project that has finally come to fruition?
I bet that the second answer struck a chord. And note that I didn’t mention price once… you don’t need to buy expensive to be proud!
4. Unboxing a new watch doesn’t feel great anymore
The more watches you get, the less it feels great to unbox a new one.
Let’s think of it this way: when you get yourself a watch every other year (like most non-watch enthusiast people do, I guess), every time you open that brand new box, it feels great!
There’s the period where you lust after a piece. And then you’ll have to locate it somewhere. Then you finally get it (online or at a brick and mortar store, it doesn’t matter).
Putting a brand new watch on your wrist for the first time should feel awesome! It’s a feeling that you just can’t get if you buy a watch every 2 months. I talk from experience 😉
5. You rush to get your fix
This one is a direct consequence of the previous point
If getting a new watch doesn’t fulfill you with excitement, what can? Oh, maybe getting another watch quickly is the way to go, right?
I don’t want to be judgemental, because I’m guilty as charged of this one. But here is the thing: you try to get to back to the time when unboxing a watch felt great. Because we all strive to feel great in general, and about watches in particular. After all, we are watch enthusiasts, right?
So maybe you just got a watch that, all things considered, doesn’t appeal to you all that much in the metal. Even worse, maybe you regret getting a watch for the wrong reason and want to “make it right” by buying another watch as a fix.
It doesn’t matter what your experience is: rushing to buy new watches to have a rush of dopamine just doesn’t work. Pretty much the opposite! So please, let’s stop buying so many watches.
6. You don’t appreciate the history of your watches
How on earth can you amass a lot of watches and know the history behind all of them?
So of course, not all watches have a history. Nor not all of them should have one. But I tend to love watches that have some kind of history, story, achievement or meaning to it.
- The Seiko SKX007 is a direct descendent of decades of Seiko building a reliable, affordable diver watch.
- The Omega Speedmaster was the only watch to survive a 4+ months torture test to be declared operational for space exploration.
- The Rolex Submariner emerged (long) after a discussion between Rolex founder and one of his board members that had the idea of building a watch that was both a dive watch *and* a beautiful, elegant everyday watch.
Even if I’m only scratching the surface here (and even this sentence is an understatement), you get the idea.
Watches are, first and foremost, functional tools built for a purpose. That purpose is built upon or has built history. With so many watches in your collection, is there any room left for their history and heritage?
7. It makes choosing the watch you’ll wear for the day very difficult
Some mornings, it takes me 15 minutes to decide which watch I want to wear. Want to make fun of me for this one? Go ahead!
But here is the deal: when you have too many watches, sure enough, you’ll have 2 or more watches that fulfill the exact same spot, both from a design or a feature point of view.
- If you’re into Rolex divers: will you wear the Submariner or the Sea Dweller today?
- If you’re into affordable Japanese sports watches: will you go for the Seiko SARB or the Orient Star Classic?
They are basically the same watches!
So how do you actually choose? I have a hard time deciding to go for my Seiko SKX013 or my Orient Ray II, just because they are so similar (read my full review of the Seiko SKX013).
Sure, details about the design, the movement or the comfort might be different, but all in all, we’re looking at watches that fulfill the exact same purpose in your collection.
Make your life easier by sticking to only one watch type in your collection, and it will make pairing your watch with your outfit or your activity way easier.
Less time in your watch box and more time in your life. Isn’t that ironic?
8. You won’t enjoy looking at your watch as much as you could
This is a weird one, but it all started with the previous point: having a hard time picking a watch for the day.
So, you made your choice, and off you go for the day. Only to look at your watch on your way to work, and ask yourself: “huh… shouldn’t I have worn the other one?”
This might sound very stupid, but I’m sure I’m not the only one. Buyer’s remorse is a thing. I’m sure chooser’s remorse a thing too. “What if I didn’t choose the right watch to wear today?”
I have to confess that I asked myself this question this quite a few times. And I’m sure that you have, too.
Again, having a smaller collection will help you nail exactly the watch that you want to wear.
- Do you have a business meeting? Sure the dress watch and the beater are out.
- Do you have some gardening to do? That precious chronograph or luxury sports watch won’t cut it.
Helping yourself to choose is also helping yourself enjoying your watch throughout the whole day.
9. You won’t give your offspring a meaningful piece
Okay, maybe you don’t buy watches to give them straight away to your children.
But at some point, you will.
As time goes by and you start to appreciate owning fewer things (or no things at all), you’ll consider giving your most precious watch to your offspring. It’s a great way for them to get into watches, and keep a tangible memory of you.
But in order for that piece to have any meaning or value, shouldn’t it be unique? Or one of few?
It’s one thing to give your adult child a watch that was part of a 24-watches collection. It’s another to give the watch that your kid will remember you wearing when he graduated, bought a house or married his or her spouse. But also when washing your car.
Do you want your child to say: “my dad gave me one of his numerous watches”? Or rather, “this is my dad’s watch”?
10. You’ll forget that you have some watches
Because I try to keep my collection to a minimum – even if I fail miserably – there are only so many watches that I can (and want to) actually wear on a regular basis.
These most-worn watches end up being stored in my 6-watches watch box. The other ones end up being stored in a watch roll. The thing is: I can see my watches when the box is closed. That’s not true with the watch roll.
So what should have happened, happened: I forgot some of my watches.
When I open my roll, I know where is the watch that I want to wear. So much so that I even don’t take the time to check the other pockets.
And over time, I forgot about some watches that I don’t like that much anymore. Cheap watches yea, but watches that would make other people happy still!
I’ve since sold those watches. But don’t be that guy who forgets about what he has… watches don’t deserve that!
11. It takes up space and looks messy
That’s a quick and dirty one: having fewer watches means it’s easier to store them. Get a 6-watch box (or a 12-watch box if you want a more extensive collection) and you’re done.
Why is it so bad to have so many watches that it becomes a hassle to store them?
First, it takes up space. Even with a box and a roll, I don’t have enough space to put all my watches away. So they end up on my desk, on shelves, on my bed table… you name it. I don’t want my home to look like a store or a museum!
Second, when you need to move them, it becomes messy, too. It’s one thing to move a neat watch box. It’s another to have a watch box, a roll, a watch in its original box and 2 G-Shocks that just won’t fit into the roll (and the box is reserved for the most precious pieces).
So maybe that only a problem because I’m a YouTuber and I need to move my watches when I record videos (because my studio is not at home). But still, not the most streamlined experience out there.
12. It’s expensive to buy
More watches and less time between purchases leads to more money being spent. That’s for sure!
And that may be true even if you buy affordable watches.
I actually like affordable watches a lot, because some offer great value for the money. But costs can really add up if you don’t keep things under control.
Now, you might be disciplined enough to stop buying 10 $200 watches (many people on watch forums report having this behavior!) and only get 1 $2000 watch that you really, really like. That will make your life easier (easier to choose in the morning, only one more watch to store, …)
But also, if you choose the right model and brand, that single $2000 watch will retain its value more than those poorly researched $100 watches. Should you flip it, chances are you’ll be able to resell it for a lesser loss than your affordable watches that are a lot tougher to get rid of.
13. It’s expensive to service, too
More watches means more service and maintenance costs, it’s that simple.
Of course, you may think: “Come on, I may have a lot of watches, but they are cheap! The day one doesn’t work anymore, I’ll just throw it away and get a new one instead.”
Well, not only is not super sustainable and respectful of the environment but thoughtlessly buying watches will cost you more in the long run, too.
- Option 1: you buy a $200 Casio quartz watch in 2010. In 2020 it’s dead, and you buy a new one for $250 that works until 2030. Assuming you only have one watch, it’s 20 years of wrist time for $450.
- Option 2: you buy a $200 Seiko 5 watch in 2010. In 2020 it stops keeping proper time and you need to service it. Cost of service: $125. 20 years of wrist time for $325.
Of course, this will not apply to super high-end luxury stuff. I’m still talking about every day, man on the street watches here. And not that in my example, both watches are affordable Japanese pieces. So no price or origin distinction here!
Option 1 is just more money on the table and more watches. Again!
Go for fewer watches: with option 2, not only is it cheaper in the long run. But you can keep your watch for your entire life, meaning you can enjoy a design that you love for decades. And you can hand it off to your offspring who will be able to service it for decades, also.
14. You’ll argue with your partner all the time
You’d be surprised at just how many people confess having to convince their partner to get a new watch. Because yes, watches are an expensive hobby. Yet, we just can’t stop buying… and when we don’t, we long for them!
My partner is cool enough that she doesn’t tell me whether I can or cannot buy a watch. I’m that lucky.
But on watch enthusiasts forums like WatchUSeek, not a single week passes by without a forum member reporting having to discuss a purchase, lie about a watch price or straight up hide a watch that they got delivered at the office, just to avoid any trouble with their partner.
If money is an important topic in your couple – and there’s nothing wrong with that! – save yourself the hassle and go for fewer watches.
You may end up buying fewer pieces. But because purchases are that much more spaced apart, you’ll definitely have an easier time arguing about getting something a little bit (or a lot more) expensive. If that’s your wish, of course.
15. You just don’t need them
Now, let’s be real for a second.
Because telling the time is not a good reason to wear a watch anymore, we have to admit that we don’t need them. Need is the important word here. We just don’t need a watch when a computer or smartphone can tell us the time no problem.
So why have a large collection? Why have a collection at all?
Because. Because we find them intricate, incredibly ingenious or just plain beautiful pieces of mechanical prowess and design perfection. And this is why we love them so much, we research about them and we want them.
And besides telling the time, there are so many reasons to wear a watch and own a collection.
If this sounds like a point in favor of having a collection… well, it is. Because after all, even if we don’t need watches, this passion fulfills us to an extent that is difficult to explain with words.
So why don’t you treat yourself with a great looking watch? But only after taking all the previous points into consideration!