For those who are already enamoured with horology, justifying a sizeable purchase of a fine mechanical wristwatch is an easy task. For those looking in at the watch-obsessed from the outside, it’s a puzzling proposition. While there’s no denying the admittedly indulgent nature of collecting mechanical watches, it’s a far more logical pastime than one might expect. Moreover, it is one rooted in heritage, tradition, craftsmanship, and community. By looking at the reasoning of many collectors, let’s explore the merits of mechanical watches, and why it is that we love them oh so much.
First off, let’s address one of the biggest reasons why many choose to opt for a higher-end timepiece: the unparalleled craftsmanship that’s reflected in a fine watch. Unlike many battery-powered offerings, a handmade mechanical watch is an intricate system comprised of hundreds of parts, which in some instances can be compared to an exceptional work of art.
These are not mere shiny toys, but notable feats of modern engineering that demand years of training and practice to be made both properly and beautifully.
It’s also worth noting that unlike similar big-ticket items, top-tier mechanical wristwatches are known to hold their value quite well, and some even appreciate in value. One brand that has managed to satisfy the financial interests of their buyers rather well is Rolex, who through the constant strengthening of their brand and concurrent gradual raising of retail prices, has essentially guaranteed the value of their watches to hold. This not only speaks to the quality and icon status of Rolex watches, but the fact that a well-made mechanical watch is a life-long investment.
The main reason to buy a watch should always be that you really like it, but it’s also good to know that you could always get a decent amount back if you choose to sell the watch. If you buy one of the true icons, you’ll probably get more than you originally paid.
In a time when consumer products are continually rolled out according to technological life cycles, a mechanical wristwatch can provide a breath of fresh air, as watchmaking is an age-old craft that’s largely impervious to the allures of new technology. This gives collectors confidence in their purchases, as they know that their prized possession won’t be made obsolete by the next best thing to come to market. Furthermore, with regular service and care, a mechanical watch will easily last for generations and remain an object of admiration and desire within one’s family.
The eternal quality of a mechanical watch is also supported substantially by the recent surge of interest in the vintage watches of yesteryear, and the astonishing price tags they’re often accompanied by.
Last, but most certainly not least, is the human aspect of mechanical watches. Since the dawn of the industry, watches have been crafted with the specific needs of their owners in mind. As a result, they are ultimately a reflection of those who wear them. Purpose-built sports watches like the Heuer Autavia and Rolex Explorer are fine examples of this notion, as the stories of human achievement connected to their development and use serve as inspiration for collectors across the globe. Stories like these have the potential to pique one’s interest in watchmaking, eventually leading them to share their passion for mechanical watches with others at collectors events and gatherings.
At the end of the day, a mechanical wristwatch can give you many things, no matter if you are just looking for a reliable tool, a good investment, or something that inspires passion. Though the reason why one collects mechanical wristwatches may be a highly individual matter, understanding their appeal can be quite simple. If you’re still not convinced, get out there and see for yourself what a mechanical watch feels like on your wrist. Go on. We’ll wait.
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