The 4 tiers of watch collectors: which one are you?

SeikoForum

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I have been interested in watches since 1999 and started building a collection in earnest in 2014. I interact with fellow watch collectors and dealers on a daily basis. Over the years, I have arrived at the conclusion that there basically exists 4 tiers watch collectors fall into. I have personally made the leap between more than 1 of these levels myself and am still continuing to do so. The evolution process is an ongoing one.

The Rookie: low budget, low knowledge
The Rich Fool: high budget, low knowledge
The Discerning Connoisseur: low budget, high knowledge
The Renaissance Man: high budget, high knowledge

The Rookie: low budget, low knowledge
-- Most of us begin our watch collecting journeys here. There's nothing wrong with being a newbie or rookie, but one must be able to first recognize one's flaws in order to evolve and progress into the higher tiers. Most watch collectors fall into this category. Some may have a fleeting interest in a particular watch reference or wish to dabble in "affordable" collecting such as homages. This type of collector is laser focused on finding perceived "value" in low-cost watches with an inability to take other important horological criteria into purchase consideration.

The Rich Fool: high budget, low knowledge
-- Some of us are fortunate enough to begin our watch journey at this stage. However, I have seen collectors stagnate at this level for decades, never evolving beyond this point. This type of collector oftentimes very much believes in the "new is best" mantra and loves trendy and shiny things. These types of folks are usually well-to-do doctors or attorneys that simply want a big name brand watch on their wrist with very little understanding or appreciation of horology and history. As long as one has the means and budget to keep the collecting and interest level going, maintaining this tier is sustainable. However, more often than not, I have seen the lack of knowledge aspect eventually catch up to the Rich Fool, which ultimately impacts his (once-high) budget.

The Discerning Connoisseur: low budget, high knowledge
-- I enjoy interacting and working with this type of collector because they have the ability to feel appreciation and gratitude, unlike the aforementioned tiers. They are generally pleasant and easy to work with, as well as eager to share their enthusiasm and knowledge with others. This person is wonderful to have a drink or dinner with. This level of watch collector gets along very well with the final tier, the Renaissance Man. I have seen Discerning Connoisseurs who started out with limited financial means who now own tier1 collections in the present day. They had foresight, discipline, passion, and knowledge, and began collecting watches 30 years ago. These types of connoisseurs are usually able to make the leap into the final and ultimate tier.

The Renaissance Man: high budget, high knowledge
-- The highest level of watch collector. These types of folks are usually "Discerning Connoisseurs" who have found success in business or other ventures in order to fund their watch collecting spending habits. Ultimately, our hobby costs money, for which knowledge oftentimes compensates. Having access to financial resources while being equipped with deep horological knowledge is a very potent combination to be armed with. The Renaissance Man's favorite companions are other Renaissance Men or Discerning Connoisseurs. They relish in making deals with the Rich Fool and gaining the upper hand as a result of their vast knowledge.
 

BloominCookie

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I have been interested in watches since 1999 and started building a collection in earnest in 2014. I interact with fellow watch collectors and dealers on a daily basis. Over the years, I have arrived at the conclusion that there basically exists 4 tiers watch collectors fall into. I have personally made the leap between more than 1 of these levels myself and am still continuing to do so. The evolution process is an ongoing one.

The Rookie: low budget, low knowledge
The Rich Fool: high budget, low knowledge
The Discerning Connoisseur: low budget, high knowledge
The Renaissance Man: high budget, high knowledge

The Rookie: low budget, low knowledge
-- Most of us begin our watch collecting journeys here. There's nothing wrong with being a newbie or rookie, but one must be able to first recognize one's flaws in order to evolve and progress into the higher tiers. Most watch collectors fall into this category. Some may have a fleeting interest in a particular watch reference or wish to dabble in "affordable" collecting such as homages. This type of collector is laser focused on finding perceived "value" in low-cost watches with an inability to discern other criteria of horological substance.

The Rich Fool: high budget, low knowledge
-- Some of us are fortunate enough to begin our watch journey at this stage. However, I have seen collectors stagnate at this level for decades, never evolving beyond this point. This type of collector oftentimes very much believes in the "new is best" mantra and loves trendy and shiny things. These types of folks are usually well-to-do doctors or attorneys that simply want a big name brand watch on their wrist with very little understanding or appreciation of horology and history. As long as one has the means and budget to keep the collecting and interest level going, maintaining this tier is sustainable. However, more often than not, I have seen the lack of knowledge aspect eventually catch up to a collector, which ultimately impacts his (once-high) budget.

The Discerning Connoisseur: low budget, high knowledge
-- I enjoy interacting and working with this type of collector because they have the ability to feel appreciation and gratitude, unlike the aforementioned tiers. They are generally pleasant and easy to work with, as well as eager to share their enthusiasm and knowledge with others. This person is wonderful to have a drink or dinner with. This level of watch collector gets along very well with the final tier, the Renaissance Man. I have seen Discerning Connoisseurs who started out with limited financial means who now own tier1 collections in the present day. They had foresight, discipline, passion, and knowledge, and began collecting watches 30 years ago. These types of connoisseurs are usually able to make the leap into the final and ultimate tier.

The Renaissance Man: high budget, high knowledge
-- The highest level of watch collector. These types of folks are usually "Discerning Connoisseurs" who have found success in business or other ventures in order to fund their watch collecting spending habits. Ultimately, our hobby costs money, for which knowledge oftentimes compensates. Having access to financial resources while being equipped with deep horological knowledge is a very potent combination to be armed with. The Renaissance Man's favorite companions are other Renaissance Men or Discerning Connoisseurs. They relish in making deals and gaining the upper hand as a result of their vast knowledge with the Rich Fool.
I'd already seen this in your signature and made comment to you, this is pretty good;)
 

SeikoForum

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I'd already seen this in your signature and made comment to you, this is pretty good;)
Thanks. 😉👍 Obviously I’ve painted the descriptions with very broad strokes, but I’ve found these characterizations to be true. After our earlier conversation, I felt it was necessary to make a thread to expound my ideas in greater clarity.
 

BloominCookie

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Thanks. 😉👍 Obviously I’ve painted the descriptions with very broad strokes, but I’ve found these characterizations to be true. After our earlier conversation, I felt it was necessary to make a thread to expound my ideas in greater clarity.
That works, you didn't cross the line adding the additional background to this.(y)
 

SeikoForum

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you missed 'need permission from wife regardless of budget' category :)
I already covered that. That collector type would fall under the “Rookie” tier. 😉😏
 

ChronoCat

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I’ll give you two guesses for the kind I am.
Is there a tier for “mechanical engineer who likes picking apart and understanding unique solutions from early tech developments”?

On that note I’d kill to get my tweezers into a spring drive.
 

Jameswombleporter

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planteria

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you missed 'need permission from wife regardless of budget' category :)

the trick to that is approached in one of two ways. don’t tell her. or, arguably far more wisely, don’t have a wife.
i can’t imagine categorising myself as per the above parameters. perhaps you want to pigeon hole us all SF. but, if you don’t think I’ll like the hole you put me in, don’t tell me 🙉
 

prajaofetra

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the trick to that is approached in one of two ways. don’t tell her. or, arguably far more wisely, don’t have a wife.
i can’t imagine categorising myself as per the above parameters. perhaps you want to pigeon hole us all SF. but, if you don’t think I’ll like the hole you put me in, don’t tell me 🙉
the don't have a wife is too late for me. The don't tell her doesn't work. She knows that I am a watch freak. She looks at my left wrist every day. The other day; after I received the Grand Seiko SBGH001, she jumped on it and said:" another Rolex, how many do you need. Then she realized and said, oh, it's a Seiko." She didn't know that this GS cost me quite a bit and I am going to keep it that way. :cool::cool::cool:
 

prajaofetra

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the don't have a wife is too late for me. The don't tell her doesn't work. She knows that I am a watch freak. She looks at my left wrist every day. The other day; after I received the Grand Seiko SBGH001, she jumped on it and said:" another Rolex, how many do you need. Then she realized and said, oh, it's a Seiko." She didn't know that this GS cost me quite a bit and I am going to keep it that way. :cool::cool::cool:
so now I am going after the Omega Speedmaster that I posted about yesterday. She doesn't know how much it costs. As long as I stay away from Rolex, Patek, and Vacheron, she is cool. :p
 

Grindaur

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I find the my wife is much more tolerant of my expenditures since I agreed to invest in the first of 3 CNC embroidery machines. She looks at what I have bought and says, you are still $10,000 or more behind me on your toys.
 

prajaofetra

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I find the my wife is much more tolerant of my expenditures since I agreed to invest in the first of 3 CNC embroidery machines. She looks at what I have bought and says, you are still $10,000 or more behind me on your toys.
My wife is not tolerant so I just don't tell her about "my investments." :cool:
 
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