Saturday, 10 February 2007

Raphmeisters Watch Buying Advice

The Great Commandment is "Buy what you love". This comes about because some folks post questions like "which watch should I get?" or "which is better between X vs Y?"... "help me choose between A, B and C" etc etc etc

What is the preferred watch for someone else has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on what would be the preferred or optimal watch for you. This extends to all other areas where taste or subjectivity comes into play yuh not just watches :) So the following advice is purely

to aid you in coming to the right decision for yourself. From time to time I will add to this when I attain greater enlightenment or when i do get down to it...

So what is the right watch for you?

What do you normally get up to during the week and weekends? Do you intend to buy multiple watches or are you looking for one that can cover it all?

Assess these factors:
- Do you want to wear the watch for your typical work days or is it for the weekend or specific activity or is it the one watch for everything?
- During your workdays what kind of attire are you in and how active do you get?

- If you're getting the watch more for weekend or other activities, then the question is what are these activities? Pulling at the pub, clubbing, diving, swimming, jogging, skiing etc
Does the watch you wanna get suit and hold up to all of this?

What is your necessary or preferred features, characteristics of a watch? Must be theres, can live withouts, dislikes...

- External beauty...the look: overall design, the case shape, dial layout and intricacies(guilloche, wordings and whatever is on its face), the type, marriage and quality of its different finishings, look of its numerals(arabics,romans,art deco-ish,) color and look of the hands
- Size: tiny, medium, large or a clock on the wrist
- Refined or rugged or swings both ways
- Certain key functions you are looking for (see appendix at
the end of this post)
- Prestige or beauty or uniqueness in its inner workings
- Story, romanticism, classicism, history
- Exclusivity (you want to be the only one you see with it or you like being part of a community or somewhere imbetween)
- Hearts desire (Due to seeing it on the wrist of someone you admire or whose opinions you value or very sadly because your hero in some sports, arts or whatever field wears it. Due to being enchanted with the ads and marketing of the watch house. The spell being cast may be strong but this is where it gets most tricky
- Fancy things about it, gadgety stuff about it
- Price range

Price almost didn't come into play :) Because my advice here is if you want to get a certain watch and you've set your sights on it as the one for you (noting all my proposed assessment factors to prevent you from ending up with a mistake) then price may be a secondary factor. Of course, don't be eyeing watches that are totally out of your means.

Do consider the family expenses, mortgage, car payments etc before even setting your sights on a potential next acquisition. Don't spend above your means. When they say its an addiction they’re not joking.

If price is the key factor though, the suggestion is
do not buy a cheaper watch instead of the one you would really like to get. Saving it up is best, credit can be bad if abused.

And resale price is a consideration only if you think you may be making a mistake on your purchase(which no one does at the time they make the purchase decision) and may sell it further down
the road or you know you are definitely selling it down the road or may want to liquidate it for a rainy day.

Try not to believe the hype (well not all of it anyways :)
The game is luxury. Watch houses push
- exclusivity: limited editions, limited productions, prohibitive prices
- innovation: new materials, new combinations of different materials, new escapements, new in-house movements with X amount of power reserve and special features and the list goes on, technical superiority
- uniqueness: uniqueniss of the design, of the movement (inhouse or rare) or uniqueness of any part of the movement related to the watch. Uniqueness of the brand and of the watch history which can't be made up in a flash

Beware marketing ploys

With limited editions, ask yourself this. Is it made out of a
material that’s so scarce that they can't source for it anymore and therefore hv 2 limit it? Does it house a movement that will no longer be supplied and they have to limit it? Does it contain special parts that the watch company can't make any of without incurring ridiculous costs?

Never buy a watch without seeing it in the metal
... unless you have or handled similar examples and know what exactly to expect; from heft to
how it feels and looks on your wrist, to how you look with it on. No ad pics or beautifully taken pictures on some forum will be able to give that to you.

If it doesn't feel like you need to have it, then you probably don’t. If you’re not sure, step away. You can always reconsider and get it another day (except if its a problematic limited edition then its buy or potentially not have the watch or get it later at a possibly higher price or for limited production pieces you could possibly have to wait a few months.

Note, some watch houses do this so that this opportunity to pause and
contemplate further before a purchase decision is taken away from you. You feel that if you don’t make the decision now, what you hold in your hand might escape from you. Some sellers are also guilty of doing this, saying that if you don’t get it they have a ready buyer.

Get what is a classic beauty to you
If you intend to buy and keep your watches, then buy what is a classic beauty for you. Look at it and ask yourself if you think you will like it 5, 10, 50
years from now. You can’t see the future and what the watch trends may be but some designs can go the distance. So ask yourself if this next acquisition is a classic beauty for me that I find beautiful today, will find beautiful 10 years from now and still beautiful 50 years from now.

Timing it. Don’t rush if possible. Don’t buy on impulse.

Post purchase – when the hunt is over. Enjoy your acquisition. Post pictures on various forums as well if thats your thing. As with all purchases, don't go around seeing if you got it at the best possible price. Just make sure you did your research beforehand and you got it at a sensible price at that point in time. If its reasonable and you were fine paying so much for it at the time, don’t sour it by looking at the grey market piece that pops up a week later going for 10% less than what you paid.

My advice to watch makers and watch houses and conglomerates – Treat your customers with respect. Don’t forego the loyalty built up with the current stable to get new ones. Don’t abuse them. The relationship should be one based on mutual respect or its not going to work now is it.

Eg. Don’t tell me an outsourced movement is in-house. Don’t tell me its limited edition and then issue another watch that’s only slightly different. Don't tell me its Swiss made and house a russian movement inside ;) Don’t make fools of your buyers. Hopefully the advice here will aid in the watch buyer out there in making a better choice.

I hope you have found this advice to be of value to you in your hunt or search for the next piece.

APPENDIX: FUNCTIONS (Not all of it but most of it...)
Time keeping

Chronograph/Retrograph/rattrapante/double split/doppelchrono/regatta timer
Minute repeater/alarm/chiming

Perpetual calendar/annual calendar

Moon phase/equation of time


Automatic or handwound
Tourbillon (single / multi-axis)

Note: Watch pics on the right are of my own watches or from timezone, kronos and are pictures of watches that some I like and some I lurve :)

[Top to Bottom:
- Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Themes Black
- Richard Mille 010 RG
- IWC Antoine de Saint Exupery
- AP Royal Oak Jumbo
- AP End of Days
- Patek Philippe Nautilus
5712G & R
- Lange & Sohne
Datograph movement
- AP RO Offshore Rose Gold Rubberclad
- Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Squadra Hometime
- Lange 1
- IWC Portuguese Perpetual Calendar WG
- Panerai 233 and 111]


Anonymous said...

Thanks! Was looking at at watch and I needed some tips.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking to buy high end, but I've considered a replica, or if you prefer "fake" Paneria or IWC until I can get the money for a real one.

Raphael Too said...

dude! step away from the replicas...

Raphael Too said...

sorry to add a bit more... buy cheaper real watches as a start. look for seikos g-shocks etc. than look to move up to omegas, rolexes etc. progress the right way :) some recommendations here...

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I came across your blog Raphael. I am in the market for another watch and was looking a the lower end of the scale like Hamiltons.

I currently have a IWC Pilot Chrono, but am looking for a simple non chrono watch on a steel bracelet. So, taking your advice, its better to save that money to put into something I really want.

Well done, and keep up the good articles.

Raphael Too said...

you're welcome... may do an update to this end of year :)


Anonymous said...

Great advice - thank you. Any specific tips for a lady looking for an all purpose statement timepiece?

Many thanks in anticipation,

Raphael Too said...

Hi C, thanks for your kind words... this was written so long back that sometimes i am not sure if i got it right :) but i think a fair amount of it still holds...

ok going with what u provided 'lady looking for an all purpose statement timepiece' is a bit tough as i dunno what kind of budget u r lookin at and what are important factors to you eg. is resale value a consideration as i know most women don't typically resell their watches so this may be low on your list of criteria...

as i am not so familiar with the ladies watches, i think its only safe for me to recommend the ones i like... watches from Rolex(common but nice), JLC Reverso(a lot of nice ladies versions) or JLC divers lady ceramic(black and beautiful), Lange 1815(the older and smaller sized ones i think are perfect for ladies wrists), gerald genta mickey fantasy aviator or sailor(but not so sure about the support of the bvlgari group for this moving forward), corum golden bridge, patek 24 and dual time, AP millenary night sky and royal oak designs... these are the ones that come to mind for now... sorry that i cant think of more to recommend. best is go into a good watch shop and see what catches your eye and agrees with your pocket.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this great article (and others).
trying to save some $ for a pam i like, just bought a pam104 for my gf.


Raphael Too said...

Hi Wen Lieh, thanks for the compliment.

great that you got a nice watch for your gf as a present. u definitely deserve getting a nice one for yourself as well :)


vanessa p said...

I was seeking for this particular info since a long time and gone through a website which gave me much knowledge.Hope everyone will be benefited from this one.
Learn How to buy

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