Wrist time: How to determine when to consolidate your watch collection

After a recent Instagram message exchange with a fellow watch guy, inevitably we get to the point where there’s a declaration of “Yeah, I need to sell some watches because some aren’t getting any wrist time.”

If you are saying that in your head, it’s time to make that hard edit but also understand that trying out different watches is part of the journey. Also recognize that your potential cast-offs will be another collector’s treasure, at least for the initial period of discovery.

Watch size, features, looks, wearability, value are just some of the qualities one can use to determine if a particular watch is a keeper vs. one that could be expendable. When making these cuts, be sure to use your heart and not your head. Watch collecting is already an irrational hobby, so most often snap judgements of the gut will go a long way. What watches do you naturally gravitate towards? Do certain attributes make you happy every time you strap it on? Here are some considerations:

  1. Wearability: Does the watch feel like an extension of your body or does it feel forced? Case size alone won’t be the only factor. How does it feel on? Do the lugs hug your wrist? Do the proportions suit your body type (honestly)? Look at the watch on in front of a full-length mirror (privately, of course).
  2. Features: I love the sandwich dial (cut-out markers on top of a disc of lume) on my PAM112. Does a watch have certain characteristics that make you smile? It could be a super comfortable bracelet or the smooth crown action. Everyone has their thing in watch collecting.
  3. Like or loooooove? You do know the answer. If you like something vs. love it is not hard to determine. Does the watch make you feel like a million bucks or do you merely wear it because it hasn’t gotten much wrist time? Make that hard cut,.
  4. Personal style: Are you preppie, a punk, a cubicle jockey? Watches should be an expression of your personal style in a natural watch. Some great watches are very versatile and adapt well to range of styles. Again, be true to yourself and get rid of any watches that feel forced.
  5. Role within a collection: As much as I like the Planet Ocean series, I know if I got one I’d prefer my Submariner when I want to wear a dive watch. So it’s relatively easy to ward off that itch to add a PO to my collection. Of course, some guys will rotate between dive watches and are comfortable with one that has a blue dial, has a titanium case and a larger size as well as a smaller, black dial diver. I personally like to have a diver, a weekend casual watch and dressier watch for my life. But do decide to trim if you feel there is overlap in categories.
  6. Throw out any rules: Ralph Lauren’s personal collection consists mostly of Panerai and Cartier watches that are pretty similar. He likes what he likes. Like what you like too. Just be honest with yourself. Sell or trade any watches that you don’t love and add watches you do love. Have fun.

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