The Playbook For The Modern Man

Why I Prefer To Boycott The Big Boys & Buy Affordable Watches

It’s not how much it costs, it’s how you use it.

A wristwatch is a must-have accessory for any guy. They come in many shapes and sizes, have various extra features and can be powered by a range of movements. They can command all manner of prices, too, from basic US$30 models right up to the most expensive model ever sold at auction, the Patek Phillipe Henry Graves Supercomplication, which fetched US$24 million in 2014.

Unless I’m going for a swim in the ocean, I can usually be found with a watch on my wrist. I feel naked if I ever forget to put one on in the morning, even if I’m just walking to my local café to get a coffee. But despite having an interest in all things horology, I don’t believe you need to spend thousands on a timepiece. In fact, I prefer to buy more affordable models by choice.

Here’s why.

The more the merrier

The main reason being I can buy more of them. Rather than save up for one standout timepiece, I can buy more affordable watches instead. This means I can have models of different sizes, colours, and materials so I can easily switch things up depending on the occasion or the clothes I’m wearing.

I understand spending big bucks on one piece can mark an occasion or an achievement, or simply just be an aspirational goal for someone. There are plenty of watches out there that I would love to own one day: a Tag Heuer Monaco featuring at the top of that list, but I know that unless I come into a large sum of money, it will never happen. And I’m one of the lucky ones with no University debt.

They can take a hit

Spending as little as possible on a new time-teller also means I don’t need to be so careful when it comes to daily wear and tear. Obviously I want to keep them in as good condition as possible; I’m no tyrant. But if they succumb to the odd bump or scratch, I don’t have a heart attack like I would if something happened to a Rolex.

They all do the same thing, right?

I know people will disagree with me here, and I’m aware that more expensive models have more accurate movements, but ultimately, all watches tell the time. Whether it’s a $100 Casio or a $10,000 Rolex, they both perform the same function.

Sure, you can have your perpetual calendars, moon-phase complications or tourbillions, but ultimately, I just want to know when it’s acceptable to have a beer, and a budget timepiece does this for me just fine.

So why do I need to spend one hundred times the amount to get the same result?


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I ain’t got no loyalties

By being able to afford multiple timepieces, I also don’t feel the necessity to be loyal to one brand. Some aficionados will only buy Rolex, or IWC for example, but I don’t face that same issue. I can happily flaunt a multitude of brands on my wrist. It’s even better when people ask me who I’m wearing because they don’t recognise the styling, and are often taken aback when they find out just how little it cost.

They don’t need servicing

Aside from the odd battery change every once in a while, my budget horological hour keepers don’t need regular maintenance, something that can’t be said of their more expensive cousins. Even ‘entry-level’ high-end watches need services to ensure they remain running smoothly. I’m likely to forget to have these services carried out if I were to ever invest in such a piece, luckily even I can tell when a battery has died.

You can actually find some bargains

Just because I’m talking about ‘affordable’ watches, doesn’t necessarily mean I have to scrimp on quality or brand. Some of the biggest names in the game produce timekeepers that are perfectly acceptable among the horological elite. Take the Timex Q for example or the Seiko 5 Sports. Both great watches that give newbies like me, a perfect first step into the big wide world of wristwear.

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