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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was thinking about the recent thread by Dr.Fu Manchu, trying to slow his watch addiction. I mentioned a list of criteria that helps keep me from buying. It's not a rigid thing. Here's my list. What does your list look like? It's probably quite different.


I Don't Buy It if:

1) Too small or too large (<36, >42). For me this means less than 36mm looks a bit small on my 7" wrist, greater than 42mm gets clownish. Weight, height and dial design do play a role. I made a photo thread last year (here) that shows how dial design can affect size perception, but for me it also affects comfort.

2) Too thick (>13mm.) I love thin watches, and I have some watches that go up to 15mm thick (the WUS Chinese Mechanical Moonphase for example.) But I tend to bump thick watches against things more often, and they also tend to weigh more.

3) Too heavy (>120g). This isn't a big deal for me, but it's one reason I prefer leather straps to steel bracelets. I recently had the pleasure of trying on an Omega PO and I immediately disliked the ton of weight it imposed on me, saving me many thousands of dollars.

4) Too expensive. Well, duh, we're in /f71 right? I must be able to pay with cash or Paypal, or pay off my credit card in full next month without causing stress. Cash mentality. It must be affordable enough that I'm not afraid to wear the watch in everyday settings, and I won't be devastated if something bad happens.

5) Duplicates. I prefer variety over completeness. I try to create variation among movement types, manufacturers, dial designs, and such. I try to avoid variations on a theme. I have broken this rule with my fondness for Vympel 2209 vintage movements, for example, as they were cheap enough to suck me into a collecting mindset. This rule helps me avoid that in the future.

6) Clone-like homage. I like original design and I really don't want to make excuses with owner of XX brand that mine isn't a "fake" because it doesn't have the logo. It should look like itself, not like something else (within reason at least.)

7) Expensive maintenance. Certain movement complications are more finicky and can cost a lot down the road, for cleaning or repair. For this reason I avoid mechanical chronographs and tourbillions. Certain high-end brands charge $500-1000+ for routine factory maintenance. Some obscure collectibles might simply be hard to repair at all. If it's too precious or rare to take to my local watchmaker to clean for $65-85, then I know I should pass on it.

8) Integrated bracelets. For example, I like the Bernhardt BA but I won't buy one because the integrated lugs look odd with a leather strap. I have furry arms, so metal bracelets slip around and pull hairs, even the best of them. I always swap for a strap, so the watch should let me to swap easily.

9) Design clutter. I don't like designs that have a lot of detail that serves no purpose. Too many logos and words, big wavy numerals, cartoons of airplanes or parachutes (even scuba-dudes, sorry), or busy 3-dimensional layering. In fact this last item is the main reason (other than size) that I have NOT bought a Bulova Precisionist, whose designs look too fussy to me.

10) Bad Date placement. Now I'm getting more finicky. I like dates placed on the dial so they don't hurt the design. I don't like when the 3 "eats" the date, so I prefer when the numeral is omitted at the date location. I don't like cock-eyed dates at the 4 (although Sinn and Damasko get it right by orienting the date vertically.) Well, you know, we're trying to find reasons NOT to buy, right?

11) Low contrast. I'm getting to the age where I have trouble reading certain dials, especially with polished stainless hands/numbers or black on black. Stealth watches are really not my thing.

12) Tiny print and slide-rules. I'm nerdy enough to like those busy math dials on Citizen Nighthawks or Breitlings; but I really can't read them without taking off my glasses, and I know I'll never use them, so I avoid them.

12) Black PVD. I prefer a simple stainless finish, brushed or bead blasted even better. PVD shows every scratch, and will never looks as good as when it was new. It's true, I tolerate gold plate on vintage watches, but I try to avoid it when possible.

13) Lumpy cases. This includes "Bolts" on the front. With due respect to Reno, I'm not of fan of toolish Royal-Oak style bezels, just not my thing. Russian divers or Panerai style crown covers… not for me.

14) Hand-wind with screw-down crown. I just don't understand, if it's not automatic, why would I tolerate unscrewing the crown every morning to wind the watch? Invitation to strip the threads. I sold my Alpha Newman because of this, and I have a Vostok on the block soon.

I could probably think of many more, and of course this doesn't cover what I LOVE about watches… which is almost everything! It's a list that keeps me sane and helps me fight the urge to buy every cool watch I see. With this list, I actually find myself saying "meh" to about 90% of the watches I might consider buying.
 

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You... You watch hater... How could you... I'm hurt.
 
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I'll give it a go, using yours as a template:

1) Too small or too large (<34, >42). My wrists are an absolutely tiny 5.2 inches, even though I am a 20 year old male. They are rather flat though, so I can usually pull off divers up to 42, but 39mm is the sweet spot. I tend to prefer vintage sizes, around 36 mm, for my dress watches.

2) Too thick (>13mm.) I'm with you here. Thick and bulky is a big no for me.

3) Funky case shape. If it doesn't have a normal case shape, and sits oddly on my wrist, no way in hell i'll buy it. Oris diver is the best example I can think of as a violator here.

4) Digital watches. I have nothing really to say about this, except that I find Analog-digitals just as ugly and blasphemous as pure digitals.

5) Printed dials. I can't stand to see cheap, boring, printed dials on my watches. There's no excuse for not using indices, unless it is on a finely textured dial, in which case it is allowable. I'm not a fan of pilot watches because of this.

6) Clone-like homage (of watches that are currently in production.) I'm all for homages of watches that are no longer available on the market, but I don't really like pure-bred homages of currently available pieces.

7) Hair-pinching bracelets. Enough said.

8) Integrated bracelets. Again, pointing at the Oris divers as the most notable offender.

9) Design clutter, in the form of useless markings. The style of the Breitling navitimer stands out like a sore thumb here. I'm all for a complicated watch, but those sort of dials are just over done.

10) Half-eaten numbers. Some watches successfully pull this off with some level of consistency, notably those from IWC and Longines, but most do not.

11) Stealth watches or white-out watches. If I can't read it, and there is nothing that visually stand out on the dial, what's the bloody point?

12) Tiny print and slide-rules. Again at the Breitling Navitimer. I'm not a big fan of Tachymetres either.

12) Gold plating. Solid gold or Gold filled are acceptable, and often very appealing, but gold plating is an unforgivable sin.

13) Tool-style watches. Dress divers are fine, but I find the sort of tool watches (think Doxa) that most micro brands put out are very bland and uninspired.

14) For one reason or another, apart from the usual suspects these brands have also hit my naughty list: Tissot, Bell and Ross, TAG Heuer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
10) Half-eaten numbers. Some watches successfully pull this off with some level of consistency, notably those from IWC and Longines, but most do not.

Ahh, you found one that I forgot about! Thank you - I'll add that to my list (offline). That's actually one of the other reasons I tend to avoid chronographs. I usually prefer that a number is omitted rather than sliced. Of course I wouldn't mind if somebody gave me an IWC, but it certainly helps to have another reason NOT to buy a watch that I don't need! :-!
 

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I like watches that are light weight, very easy to read with functional utilitarian design.

Preferences:
Quartz over mechanical
Flat over domed crystals
Printed markings over indices
Simple over busy dials

My "no" list (which I break occasionaly):
No watches which are overpriced for their name (IWC, Omega, Sinn, etc)
No mechanical chronos - too expensive to maintain
Nothing thicker than 13mm
Nothing heavier than 90g. I prefer even lighter
Edit 7/23/12 Make that 80g max. My wrist is tired!
No metallic markings or hands (reflections often render them invisible)
No sunray dials (the rays mimic hands)
No white hands on white dial (can't read them)
No watches that can't accept a leather strap
 

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The only things I hate are...

-Too thick (over 13-16mm)
-Tiger eye bracelets (ew...)
-Cluttered dial
-Crappy lume
-Quality watch, cheap bracelet
-Ugly bezels
-Stationary bezels that look rotatable

That's all I can think up right now, but yeah other than that, most watches are game for me!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
In fact I should mention that Alan (Precise) and I often talk about tricks to prevent us from buying. We try to help each other with these issues, as we are both inclined to buy watches we don't need. I love the fact that his "Don't Buy" list is quite different from mine, yet we can sympathize with each other's yearnings.


I like watches that are light weight, very easy to read with functional utilitarian design.

Preferences:
Quartz over mechanical
Flat over domed crystals
Printed markings over indices
Simple over busy dials

My "no" list (which I break occasionaly):
No watches which are overpriced for their name (IWC, Omega, Sinn, etc)
No mechanical chronos - too expensive to maintain
Nothing thicker than 13mm
Nothing heavier than 90g. I prefer even lighter
No metallic markings or hands (reflections often render them invisible)
No sunray dials (the rays mimic hands)
No white hands on white dial (can't read them)
No watches that can't accept a leather strap
 

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I haven't really sat down and thought of a "do not buy" list, rather my avoid list swims nebulously in my mind. No doubt, that has contributed to some buying mistakes. But if I had to draft a dealbreaker list it would have the following.

1) No dive watches rated over 300m (perhaps even 200m) since I'll never need the extra depth rating and the higher the depth means a thicker case.
(*cough* Polprof *cough cough* Aquatimer. My body will turn into meat jelly before I could push the limits of your WR) --Yes, I've broken this rule, but never again.

2) Watches with reasonable diameter sizes (e.g. 40-42) but for some reason sports a really long (proportionally speaking) lug-to-lug length, especially if the lugs just stick straight out and aren't curved.
(I'm looking at you, Helson Skindiver and Smiths Everest.)

3) Must be able to wear comfortably throughout the entire day, for me that's 8am to ~1am.
Sadly, I can't really get a good gauge with this unless I buy the watch and actually wear it around. So yes, I've broken this rule. Main offender, the 8500 PO. It's comfortable when I put it on the morning but can be a bear of watch come primetime.

4) Watches on bracelets with no micro-adjust settings and no half-links.

5) Dress watches on bracelets with a fold-over diver's style buckle instead of hidden deployment clasp.
*Can you tell I'm a bracelet guy?*

6) Date window at the "9" position. Huge pet peeve for me.

7) No watch that costs more than a new car, or a house, regardless of the horological virtuosity housed within it's platinum/gold case.
I haven't broken this rule yet, although a watch that costs as much as a new Vespa is do-able.

8) I'll also use Skywatch's #1, 2, 5, 6, 8, and 11.
 

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I know in my experience there will always be something I buy too much of, whether it be Zippos, watches, stereo equipment, pocket knives etc. Varying it up and going between hobbies keeps me from buying too much of one thing, and also keeps me from getting burned out on any particular one.

There are some points above (too big/too small/too thick) that I follow, and others that I don't. I like busy mechanical chronographs with slide rules and half eaten numbers for instance :-d My main avoidance in any hobby is an impulse buy. I have too many of them that will eventually be sold, and they are invariably very inexpensive models that sounded like a good idea at the time but are never worn or used.

Good idea for a thread!

Cheers,
Griff
 

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Okay, here is my short but complete "No-Fly" list.

1. Size. My scale looks a bit like this: 34<Perfect<40. Though in reality its more like this: Lug to lug < 48mm. Curved lugs can change that a bit though.

2. Price. This is mostly a future requirement as I'm absolutely poor right now. But I have decided, due to being a small collection guy, that I demand solid parts, sapphire, and essentially place my starting line around $500. Diminishing returns (for me) start kicking in around $500. By $1000 I just fail to see any added value for cost. Not trying to start an argument, this is just how it looks for me.

3. Useless features that clog up the dial. I've sold a number of chronographs (quartz and mechanical) because I couldn't get over this. On the other hand, my Alpinist has the totally useless inner compass bezel. It just happens to be nearly invisible from a foot away so it isn't an issue.

4. Integrated bracelet. I used to require anything I bought to come with a bracelet, but the Stowa Antea KS cured me of that. It would just look silly on one. But I still want to be able to swap straps around so integrated is a no-go.

5?. I suppose maintenance cost factors in somewhere. But by limiting myself to watches under $1000 I've eliminated brands like Rolex and Omega with absurd repair costs. Pretty much anything in my range will have a Seiko 6r15 (or whatever their other one, starts with a 4, is) or an ETA of some form or another. Either way, they are some of the most common movements in the world so repair cost shouldn't be a huge issue.
 

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I too have a sort of "don't buy" list, and it's not much different from Skywatch's one. To cut short I'll say it's enough to be very picky so that I only consider buying nearly-perfect watches. I don't mind adding some great unexpensive watch (i.e. HMT Pilot or Timex Weekender) but they come so cheap I'll be spending twice or more for dinner so I don't really care. Watches from $100 up are subject to the list...
 

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Things I've come to dislike:

1) Plated brass cases made to look like stainless steel was my first no-no.

2) Crown at 4 is no good for me.

3) I've noticed recently that mineral glass annoys me when I see it in spec. I love the warmth and polishing ability of an acrylic crystal and, although I've yet to own own, I like the idea of sapphire.

4) I'm not mad about bracelets, especially if a premium is charged. As above, integrated is a deal-breaker.

5) Chrono second hand must not be resigned to an insignificant subdial.

6) Date wheel is different colour to dial. This kills me - especially when I see it on $1,000 watches.

7) Dauphine hands on a sports watch. I don't know why, but just doesn't work for me.


Things I've come to like or live with:

1) Snap-on case back. I admire their simplicity.

2) No date.

3) Poor strap or lume: These can be changed.

4) A simple dial.
 

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Interesting concept, especially since it illustrates how differently we approach watches. :)

1) Too small or too large (<36, >42). ...
Too small is a problem. I don't quite understand how this happened but a watch that I wore 24/7 for about 15 years now looks too small and I never wear it. :(

2) Too thick (>13mm.) ...
In theory I agree, but a couple of my favorite watches are >13mm.

3) Too heavy (>120g).
To me, heavy isn't about the grams, it's about how the watch carries on the strap/bracelet. I have a fairly heavy watch (~160g) that wears beautifully on a cheap (but thick) leather strap I found. I have lighter watches that I just can't get comfortable with because any strap or band that can control them looks out of scale with the watch.


4) Too expensive.
:)

5) Duplicates. ...
6) Clone-like homage. ...
Agree 100%

7) Expensive maintenance. ...
I should probably think more about this.

8) Integrated bracelets.
This is a big one for me. Integrated or proprietary. This is one of the reasons I don't do the whole G-Shock thing, and am cautious about some brands (e.g. Citizen). Yeah, they have adapters for some models, but the fact that the watch and band/bracelet are so tightly coupled just seems unnecessary.

9) Design clutter.
Agreed. I like sterile dials.

10) Bad Date placement.
Honestly not a big deal to me, though I would prefer my mechanical watches without a date at all.

11) Low contrast.
This wouldn't make my list.

12) Tiny print and slide-rules.
I have laser-enhanced vision and the fine lines don't bother me. Tiny controls can be a problem.

12) Black PVD. I prefer a simple stainless finish, brushed or bead blasted even better. PVD shows every scratch, and will never looks as good as when it was new. It's true, I tolerate gold plate on vintage watches, but I try to avoid it when possible.
I LOVE PVD and think it looks fine as it ages.

Here's a picture of my first "nice" watch, after 15ish years of daily wear:



I don't like gold plate (and am ambivalent about gold overall).

13) Lumpy cases. This includes "Bolts" on the front.
I'm fine with any lumps and bolts that actually serve a purpose. If they are just there to be there, then NO.

14) Hand-wind with screw-down crown. I just don't understand, if it's not automatic, why would I tolerate unscrewing the crown every morning to wind the watch? Invitation to strip the threads. I sold my Alpha Newman because of this, and I have a Vostok on the block soon.
Shrug.

My add-ons to the list:

The big one: Bracelets/bands that won't fold double at every link. Citizen seems to love these. The ideal bracelet can be doubled over in either direction at every link. An acceptable bracelet can be doubled inwards at any link. Some bracelets don't allow the links to move that far. They always form a hoop. The problem isn't just that the watches are harder to store or put in a pocket...the tighter clearance between links means those bracelets tend to grab arm hair.

Also important:
Anything that is just tacked on or "styled" instead of serving a purpose or fitting the aesthetic whole. E.g. all of the "styled to look like an aviation cockpit instrument" lines.

Easily scratched crystals. If you want a convex crystal, make it sapphire.

Marks that wear off. I have a Citizen that shows this clearly. After about 6 months of use all of the paint on the bezel markings is gone, rendering the slide rule all but unusable.

Brands where the value is in the name.
 

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I don't think I have a rigid list. Life seems better and much easier the less rules you have I've found. Plus having 4 kids, having too many rules would drive me bonkers.

I've definitely become more cautious about pulling the trigger compared to when I first started. I do my best to not get caught up the initial excitement of seeing a new one that sings to me. I'll wait on it for quite awhile, staring at pictures and videos to figure out if I'll get tired of a specific piece before pulling the trigger. So I guess I have a different system of "what not to buy".

I only have 2 real rules:

1) I WON'T buy anything smaller than 41.5mm. I like larger watches.

2) I WILL buy watches that have designs that "SING" to me. If I like it and it DOESN'T "SING" to me. It's off the list.

The rest of my system is prioritizing by looking at what I already have and figuring out what I can wait on and what I would like to have now as long as the 2 rules above are met, and I know I won't get bored of the piece. I'm not a big flipper, although I have sold a decent amount of watches up to this point. Just that I don't have an endless supply of funds to support this terrible yet OH SO satisfying habit. LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Interesting concept, especially since it illustrates how differently we approach watches. :)
Thanks! I am very interested to see examples of people's differing tastes. I like your differences. For me, the value of this exercise is for each of us to get a better focus on what we personally like, to help steer our addictions... errr, I mean purchase decisions. ;-) For example, Griff mentions up above how he loves slide rules and chopped numbers on multi-dialed watches. Part of me loves that too... but knowing I'll never use those tiny numbers helps give me a reason to restrain my purchase impulse. All of those *beautiful* Strela chronos people own here... I *so badly* want one, but it fails several of my criteria (mech chrono, tiny slide rule, etc.) so my list helps to restrain me from spending more money on yet another watch. :roll: Since my collection topped 40 watches, this restraint is necessary! Now I can also sell some watches without regret.
 

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I don't have a typical taste, so that solves a lot for me. When I have to list it, it would boil down to this (for the moment)


  1. Something special.
    1 hand, 24 hour, 3 retrograde second hands (20 sec. each),... the weirder the better.
  2. Mechanical
    Quartz doesn't agree with me (hopefully temporary, as I own 6 of them)
  3. Size < 46 mm
    After I bought a 46 mm and it's just to big. (my latest addition is 47 mm, but that was a freebee)
  4. Weight max 100 gram (daily) to 160 gram (dress)
    Dailies get pocketed when over 100 gram, dress can be handled with a max of 155 till now.
  5. Budget
    Very limited, prob max 100 euro per year. (birthday)

The last addition was a replica (gift), but I changed it. It's now according to my taste, but not yet finished. (Dial is a print)
 

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This is one of my all time favorites:



and it obviously shows that I like some features that others don't. Complicated, mechanical chronograph (ETA 2824 with Dubois-Depraz piggyback chronograph module, I shudder to think of repair cost), numbers chopped off by subdials, a tachymeter bezel and a deeply sunken date at 12 o'clock. As far as expensive, it's the most 'valuable' cost wise of my entire collection. When my wife happened to see the price hang tag she wasn't happy :-d That I paid well less than half of retail didn't matter, she thought that north of 1K was ridiculous.

The only thing I don't like about it is the screw down crown. Even though it's an automatic, I think screw down crowns on a chronograph are silly. Like I'm going to go diving with it or something?!? Anyway, the best part of this hobby for me is sharing our watches and thoughts here on this forum. That's why you'll always see Timex next to Rolex, JLC and HMT etc. If we all liked the same thing it would be very boring indeed.

Cheers,
Griff
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
If we all liked the same thing it would be very boring indeed.

Exactly! That's why I love to see other people's likes and unlikes, because they are quite different from mine. Oh, and for a person who claims I don't like tiny slide rule dials, I guess I got that one covered as well... :roll: :-d

AstroWr1.jpg
 

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There are a lot of reasons I won't buy certain watches. But, generically, I would say don't buy watches you won't wear. I bought a Louis Erard one time. Nice chrono with Panda style face. As I drove away I thought "this looks really cool, but when will I wear it?" I took it back the next day. Fortunately the gave me full refund, but only in store credit. Which is okay, cuz I can use that.
 
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