Short answer is No. Watches come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and costs and a person with 3 affordable watches is just as much as a collector as one with 3 expressive ones. Collecting is really just about appreciation for the watches in general and you don’t need to spend thousands to get a nice watch you can be proud of. There are plenty of watches in the couple hundred dollar range or less that are amazing value and by buying extra straps, you can have fun and always change up the look of your watch.
Rolex Oyster on Vario Harris Tweed Strap (Photo by Wing Yip)
I want to start if by saying there is a different between cheap and affordable. A cheap watch is one that looks like it was assembled for a dollar, with poor design, and will most likely not last, or at least not last in good shape, for any long period of time. On the other hand an affordable watch is one which has attention to detail, a good design, quality of materials, and will last you as long as you take care of it. There are so many good affordable watches out there and you don’t need to spend too much to have a variety of watches to cover most occasions.
Seiko 5 vintage watch on Vario Ballistic Nylon watch strap
From personal experience of the best deals is any Seiko 5 Snk 800 series watch. They go for around 50-80 dollars, have an automatic movement, and are just a nice classic field watch/aviation watch aesthetic. They are also on the smaller side at 37mm so they wear well on a small wrist and look classier on larger ones, but if 37 is too small they make a similar styled watch in 42mm under the SNZG name. If your looking for a cool chronograph check out the Dan Henry 1964. Again this is a watch I have owned and for around 200 used and 250 new, it’s a great watch. A nice classic aesthetic, again at a smaller size, and it looks more classy then the seiko 5. If you need a dress watch look no further than the Vario eclipse sweeping quartz. For about 200 dollars, or about 300 if you want a mechanical movement, you get a classic looking dress watch, a domed sapphire crystal, a unique sweeping quartz movement which gives you the convenience of quartz but the sweep of a mechanical watch, and a range of colors to chose from. And if you looking for a dive watch, although I have never owned any of these pieces they are highly recommended, you can probably go for a Dan Henry 1970 at 270 dollars, a Seiko Skx for somewhere around 200-250 dollars, a Casio Duro at around 50 dollars, a G-Shock DW5600 for around 50 dollars, or a Casio mrw200h series watch which go between 18-30 dollars . The first four watches are all water resistant to 200m while the last is water resistant to 100m.
G-Shock DW5600BB on Vario Seat Belt Nato
If you get one or each of these watches you have a dress watch, a dive watch, a chronograph, and a field watch all for around 500 dollars. Of course not everyone needs more than one watch or not everyone needs all types of watches so realistically you can pick only one or two of the above options and a couple straps to change up the look of the watch now and then and you got your own collection for a very affordable amount. The G-Shock and Vario dress watch would cover literally any occasion imaginable and that is a total of around 250 dollars spent. Sure luxury watches are nice but sometimes the cost isn’t justified. Why buy a 10,000 dollar watch if you’ll be scared to wear it? Or why buy a 1000 dollar dress watch if you rarely wear dressier clothing. You can get away with a 100 dollar watch and it will be something you won’t be as afraid to hit against a door. If it’s battery operated it will practically last forever as long as it’s a decent quality watch and you keep up with changing out the battery.
Vario Empire Dress Watch (Photo by Xavier)
In the end you don’t really need money to appreciate or collect watches you just need a passion. If you love a watch and you enjoy wearing it it then it doesn’t really matter what the price tag is of what name is on the dial. Wear your watch proudly and buy what you like. Sometimes we have to humble ourselves and remember a watch is just something we put on our wrist to tell the time. And more often than not an affordable quartz watch will do that job better than an expensive Rolex.
Written by Xavier Sanchez
Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the author and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated.
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