Essential Items for New Watch Collectors
Here at The MALESTROM we’re very fortunate to have a whole host of wonderful contributors from car lovers to style seekers, movie buffs to political punctuators. And we’re now delighted to welcome a man who has a penchant for the finer things in life and in particular a good timepiece. Ed Phelan is a watch collector and fount of knowledge par excellence so it’s great to welcome him to the team. Take it away Ed…
“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” – C.S. Lewis
If our recent Time for an Upgrade watch guide inspired you to reassess your collection, then this New Watch Collectors 101 is for you. Gone are the days of having one timepiece for every occasion, by the end of this article you’ll know the difference between a beater, dress and dive watch, why you need them and how to care for all three in style.
Start with a ‘Beater’
Just as those who live in climates with harsh winters will buy a “winter beater” vehicle to survive the hostile weather, so will you need a trusty day watch that you don’t mind enduring a little wear and tear.
If this is your watch rodeo, two rules of thumb: first, never choose a watch by a brand that’s also an aftershave; second, remember there are lots of great, affordable brands out that that will give a Rolex a run for its money.
By nature, your beater will be a less expensive purchase, yet sturdy enough to take the daily bumps and knocks that come with inhabiting a gentleman’s wrist. There are tonnes of good quality beaters out there, but Hamilton combine a great US heritage story with Swiss parts to offer a wide range of styles that suit both professional and more relaxed environments. Attractive models start from around £300 and £500 will get you access to good selection from the range included quartz and automatic movements.
‘Dress’ for the occasion
In keeping with the car analogy, you wouldn’t want to pull up at a five-star hotel in a beaten-up Ford and the same goes for your wristwear. Weddings and fancy events are the time not only to step into your Jaguar, but also to don a sleek and stylish dress watch to match.
This is going to be your investment piece and as such comes with a higher price tag. Look for thinner faces with a lower profile to fit neatly under your shirt cuff, such as Frederique Constant’s slimline range, which will set you back between £1-3k, depending on your choice of model. A much younger brand than Hamilton, established in just 1994, Frederique Constant provide exceptional value for money with classic, gentlemanly designs as well as earning you watch snob points by using their own in-house movements.
Stand out in a ‘Dive’ bar
We’ve covered the every day and the super fancy, but what about a night on the town? Enter your dive watch; smart, cool and ready for anything.
As the name suggests, a dive watch is intended for swimming, diving and other sports involving water, but they’re also the perfect finishing piece for your out-out outfit. If just want to look good throwing shapes you can get away with spending £400 on something like a Tissot SeaStar, however, if you’ve got up to £1k to spend, check out Christopher Ward’s dive watches. The original online-only micro watch brand, Christopher Ward’s design language gives you that Rolex style without the price tag as well as an impeccably made timepiece with a five-year guarantee.
Put on a classy display
Now that you have your essential timepieces ready for any outing, it’s time to think about how you are going to store them. With this large an investment, you can’t just drop your precious watch on the nearest available surface or shove it away in a drawer until the next time you need it.
Your collection will benefit from a dedicated watch box to keep it safe, free from dust and on display. You can find boxes to suit any size collection, from 5 to 50, so consider your collection now – and how many it may contain in future. Keep in mind that a good watch box will always include cuffs or pillows around which to wrap your watch as this will preserve the natural curve in leather straps.
Keep it all wound up
If your new collection contains one or more automatic watches – that is, one that must be worn to stay wound, rather than powered by quartz battery – a watch winder is not only essential but also one of the classiest gadgets a gentleman can own.
A winder ensures that when you’re not wearing your automatic watch, it keeps its power reserve so the watch doesn’t stop and is ready to go when you are. For watches with more complex features such as a perpetual calendar or lunar tracker that are fiddly to reset, storing them in a winder will also ensure that these functions keep ticking over.
While Scatola del Tempo are the original (and crazily expensive) winders, WOLF watch winders come in a huge range of styles and configurations at sensible price points. Established in 1834, WOLF use patented technology to accurately count every revolution, making them reliable for maintaining watches of all weights and sizes.
Polish it up
Unfortunately, if you are wearing your watches regularly, even your dress watch will not be exempt from the odd scuff marks here and there. For timepieces with acrylic glass faces, be they high-end or more inexpensive brands, Poly Watch is considered the most trustworthy brand for buffing out blemishes and polish cloths from Cape Cod are the horologist’s go-to to give metal straps and cases back their smooth shine.
Most contemporary watches do not feature acrylic glass faces and will instead sport a sapphire glass face. Unlike acrylic, these must not be buffed at home and in the event of a scratch must be taken to the experts for a service. The good news is that these are recommended every five years anyway, and whilst they are not cheap the attention given by these watch wizards is well worth it as they’ll fix any damaged or ailing elements that you might not even have noticed.
You now have the knowledge to start your collection with three watches ready for any occasion. Armed with these and your watch care must-haves – a watch box, winder and regular servicing – you’ll be stylish, put together and on time whatever the event.
Find out more about Ed and follow all his tweets @Edward Phelan1