Condition is King – or is that only for safe Queens!?
(An appeal to appreciate the beaters of the world)
All of this recent spin about the importance of condition of watches has been causing me to scratch my head lately.
You may not even have noticed anything – it’s probably just me 🙂
Anyway, I noticed it creeping in a few years back when I was more actively buying and selling my vintage Heuers.
Watches that dared to show evidence of a previous life were now deemed less desirable, or even undesirable.
Watches that previously excited the heart were now dismissed by the head.
Everything now had to be either ‘mint’ or ‘New Old Stock’.
To me, this is a bit of an alien concept.
How can a 50-odd year old timepiece get to be a 50-odd year old timepiece and yet exhibit no life scars whatsoever?
Ok, I accept, there are those that have sat in the back of an old watch shop since the 60’s and have only come to light when the shopkeeper decides to sell up.
Or the ones that get unearthed from the ubiquitous sock drawer after all this time since the watch stopped or the strap broke years ago.
These discoveries are getting fewer and farther between.
Anyway, say you do turn up a minty fresh 1969 Autavia – what on earth do you do with it?
Do you wear it and risk scratching or denting it?
Starting afresh as if you are the first owner and putting some life scars of your own on it?
But hey, because it’s from 1969, and it’s minty fresh, it cost an awful lot of money.
Are you sure you want to do that to your prize find?
Or, do you put it on display or stash it in a safe, only to get it out now and again for those all-important Instagram shots?
Tricky one indeed.
Far better in my opinion to start out with something that’s had a life and isn’t afraid to show it.
These are after all tool watches.
I like to wear my watches and not get too hung about the external condition.
Sure, I keep them regularly serviced and maintained.
Don’t worry, I don’t ignore the watches and I’m not totally stupid about where I wear them but I have no qualms about wearing my beat up old Rolex sub when I’m changing the starter motor on Madame’s ’72 Fiat 500.
Jings! that’s what it’s for 🙂
And I certainly wouldn’t do the washing up in my rough and ready Tranny Monaco.
But, there’s something special about sharing life’s experiences with an old Autavia GMT for example.
I also have 2 10 year old boys.
In today’s world of hi technology, I really encourage them to play with and experience the more mechanical side of things.
I love it when they play with LEGO, Meccano, cars and yes, MY WATCHES!
I have to confess that I do have some guilt and shamefully admit that I own 2 watches in particular that hardly ever see daylight.
And I do often think what is the point in having them?
Am I being cruel in denying them a life outside in the real world?
Am I being cruel in denying some potential new owner the pleasure in having such beautiful timing instruments?
Actually no, I take comfort in the thought that if I did sell them on, they’d likely only be moving to someone else’s safe.
To me, the beater is king! Long live the King!