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The 2022 Watch Purchasing Abstinence Club (WPAC).

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The 2022 Watch Purchasing Abstinence Club (WPAC).

Welcome to the 2022 Watch Purchasing Abstinence Club, otherwise known as WPAC. This is the 6th year of WPAC, which was started at the beginning of 2017 to try and get myself and some other addicts out of a crazy buying/flipping cycle with watches, we were buying for the sake of it rather than for the appreciation of the watch itself, constantly chasing the next, new shiny watch or searching endlessly, fixated on some watch; generally, IMHO, a rather unhealthy behaviour.

So, what is the point of WPAC? Well, the aim is to abstain from purchasing watches. But that's a bit blunt really, the abstinence is a tool or a method to break the cycle of buying/flipping and become a discerning consumer of horology. Learning to appreciate what you have, understand what works for you with watches and think rationally about purchases, rather than emotionally. Or the ethos of less is more, as some have suggested the philosophy is here. Yes we still love watches, but as we all know we can be weak, so WPAC is a place to get help; here you can take solace from like minded people and get support and encouragement to stop impulse buying.

With those that stick around and make some commitment WPAC has been successful; for me it's certainly helped me break the buy/flip cycle and stop obsessing, so maybe it can help you.

In previous years we've had some rules, but this year there aren't going to be, there seems little point when we all have subtly (sometimes massively) different goals. If you are in serious horological trouble with buying then look back at the OP in previous WPAC threads, the rules should be a useful starting point if you want to get things under control or just shout out here to get some advice, it's what we're good at. Think of it like a clubhouse or a WUS subforum dedicated to being friendly, chatting about everything and anything and where you can find like minded watch fans.

Having said that, there is one rule I'd like everyone to adhere to; first post should be an intro with a SOTC picture (include everything, don't cheat) and some goals/aims for 2022. Whether you want to abstain completely, want to save for a special watch, just need to take control, slow things down or whatever, we'll be happy to have everyone. Just as long as you're clear on what your aims are.

Please participate in the thread, it's what makes it what it is. Any reasonable topic of conversation is acceptable and in fact welcomed.

Bashing of any potential purchases should still be a mandatory element, but let's keep it funny. Nuclear level bashing is required for any actual purchases.
Expect to be challenged by others if you're suggesting a purchase, whatever your personal goals/aims and expect to need to defend yourself.

.....and one last thing, we do occasionally get some trolls visiting, let's agree to not feed them.

Edit - clarification on enabling: this is a difficult one to deal with as WPAC has evolved such that we discuss watches, post pictures, etc., previously we tried not doing that but it didn't really work and as well despite the temptation provided by this individuals need to develop the control to not be tempted every 5 minutes by something. However, this year we seem to have a mixture of regulars and new participants, and some the latter are wanting to abstain. Hence please don't directly enable by suggesting watches......
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Anyway, some fibers in my body are starting to itch for another Vostok now... Ehh, so, change of subject!

Anyone here bootstrapped their own business in the past? Because that's what I'm about to do, and I'm sh-tting my pants lol. Excited as well, don't get me wrong, but sh-tting my pants. So would love to hear how other people managed it.

First few months to a year I'll probably be living at least partly off my savings. And am now looking for renting a new home... However much financial sense it makes to stay at my parents' a little longer during this time, its just not working - so trying to find an apartment that doesn't eat through my savings too fast, yet at least has some separate space for working/sleeping, which is a challenge in the current Dutch housing market...
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Cool, good luck. Do you mind sharing what business field you're going to be working in? I'm just curious.
Hopefully it can keep you rolling in cheap Vostoks happiness and contentment.
Thanks. I'm a lighting designer, meaning, making lighting plans for architecture and public space etc.
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Never started or run my own business, so can't help you unfortunately. However I do wish you all the best and much success with the venture!

.....I'm presuming that you've been researching and getting as much advice as you possibly can?
Well obviously. I've worked for a few small design studios, so got a sense of the business. The earlier plan was to become partner in the studio I was working for in India - but as shared before that adventure ended for other reasons.. so now giving it a shot on my own here in the Netherlands.
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I started my own engineering firm in 2004 with a partner. We had one client starting out - an architect had told me he'd give me all his business if I started a firm. We were going after architects because so many engineering firms in town didn't like working with them, but I got along with them fine. We did fine - didn't get rich, but enjoyed it immensely. The 2008 financial crisis killed us along with half the civil engineering firms in town. I'm glad I did it.

How we managed - savings, lots of marketing, knowing the market we were going after. Lots of long hours - the firm policy was that if you sealed a drawing after 9 PM, you used purple ink to sign it. Lots of second hand equipment. My partner's dad put up a $50k CD as collateral for a line of credit at a local bank to help with cash flow. We managed not to max out the line of credit and got the collateral released after a year or two. I enjoyed it. I was just shy of 40 when we started. It would probably be scarier now, as I'm closer to "retirement" (if such a thing manages to happen). Our mantra was: Get. Do. Bill. Collect. The "collect" is very important, obviously.

Seems like cash in the first year or so is a big deal for people. My partner was the business half, and the collateral/line of credit thing was his idea. It made a huge difference as we got rolling.

You do lighting design, don't you? Have you been feeling out potential clients? Do you have a target market? Focusing your efforts is pretty important.
What's a CD? I'll google it later I guess lol, but not so familiar with these terms in english.

Potential clients is a bit tricky. I know how the game works from working in smaller design studios here before. But since I've been in India for a while, I am a bit out of touch with the scene here. But I am on very good terms with my pervious employer here, who's willing to help me - his business is running so well he's giving away assignments basically lol, so that's a good starting point to have, and a good indicator the market isn't saturated yet here.
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Certificate of Deposit. It's a deposit in a bank that you can't take out for some set period of time. You get a bit better interest, and they know the money is there for them to use for some set period.

A CAD drafter I knew did contract drafting for several firms. Could you do contract design for your previous employer? Here, I think the contract rate is basically 2x or 2.5x the hourly rate of an in house employee.
Ah right, so the CD is like colatteral for a bank loan. I'm not loaning any money, basically just starting off my own savings (which is what bootstrapping means). My work doesn't require inventory or any of that. I'm basically a one man show to start with, just working from a computer. So the cost of doing business is relatively low - low enough that I should be able to manage with my savings for a while.

I've told myself if I've burned through 40% of my savings and am still not making money, I'll call it quits and look for a normal job again. That would allow me to do one year without collecting a single dime, which is quite the worst case scenario. It would be a though pill to swallow loosing that much money, but I'd not be broke or in debt.

I could do contract work for my previous employer (let's call him Bill), and in fact I have done so for a few small jobs. It's a helpful start, but its not a way to make money. You make more money than in employment of course, but the cost Bill would make for employees, I would now be bearing myself (taxes, insurances, etc.). And on top of that, Bill would be keeping a margin of the project fee himself for it to make any sense to him as well. So in effect the net difference in money I'm making that way isn't really worth it. It's a helpful start, but its not a business model, at least not in my industry and in the Dutch tax/ensurance system.
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Spitballing here:
  • we purposely avoided public (government) projects to start because the big guys went after those pretty aggressively and our former firm did as well. We didn't want to start off looking like we were poaching clients. Also, the government projects had a lot more overhead in them. I don't know how that would compare in the Netherlands. Although, maybe as a specialty designer, you could get hooked up with some of the larger firms that don't have that in house?
  • do they do design/build there? Maybe consult for contractors who do infills and remodels?
As a lighting designer you get into projects via Architects or interior designers the majority of the time. So that means relationships with the architects also to some extent determines what kind of work you get to do.

I'll agree that it's very important to get clients. In the beginning. But as you start out taking every client, be mindful of who are the RIGHT clients. The 80/20 rule applies: 20% of your clients will cause 80% of your troubles. 20% of your clients will be 80% of your revenue. Take everyone in the beginning, but pay attention to which clients fit in each of those categories. As your business matures, weed out the trouble makers and look to duplicate the excellent ones. I've fired a few clients in my time, and my life was immensely better afterwards. Some of the people in my current firm gripe a bit when I give some of our current clients better preference - they're in the good 20%, so I treat them very well so they'll stay around.

But, also pay attention to invoicing and collecting. I suck at that. And I knew it then. My partner was great at it. You have to have all the pieces in place to make it work. Be honest with yourself, and if there's an aspect of Get, Do, Bill, Collect that you suck at, force yourself to get better at it or get help from somewhere. It doesn't have to be a partner or employee. But make sure all those are covered.
That's great advice actually. I've seen this happen in the studios I've worked for. And this is also a bit what I'm weary of. I want to be picky, but I know I probably can't be in the start.
But I'm not making the mistake my last employer made, which is not having a website. He got plenty of work through word of mouth, but he didn't have any "storefront" so to say, communicating who he is and what kind of work he wants to do. So he struggled getting the type of work he wants, because through word of mouth you just get more of the same work you've already done. Finding the right balance there is what I'm going to have to figure out the coming year.
Also something funny I noticed in India is how many clients will just not take no for an answer. There was basically work we did my previous employer simply got bullied into by difficult clients lol, saying no 5 times, then quoting an absurdly high fee to be rid of it, and then still ending up with the assignment πŸ˜‚ Luckily I don't think I've ever seen things like that happen in the Netherlands :p

Networking is my weak point.. I do have a basis to start from, but developing my network is going to be a challenge, because its a bit against my nature. I am confident in my capabilities as a designer, but on the business and commercial side I'm definitely stepping out of my comfort zone.
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I ran a consulting business for a while. Never more than part time, but from my experience I'd say carpoon is spot on. It's all about word of mouth, who you already know that trusts you, and what those people tell their network of colleagues.
Absolutely. My dad is telling me to spend on marketing - and while it makes sense for his business, I don't think I should be sinking money into that in my line of work. Visibility is important, but advertisement isn't the right channel.

I do dread that social media, particularly instagram, is probably something I'll have to consider getting into. I had sworn it off because I hate how easy it is to waste time scrolling, but it does seem to be the platform for designers and artists to create exposure for their work these days. I hope I can avoid it, but we'll see..
A water resistant Speedmaster ! No wonder people think it's expensive ! πŸ˜ƒ
🀣 It's not that water resistant though, just 30 meters for the komandirskie. Though since the construction and seal is fairly similar to the Amphibia, I wouldn't be surprised if its a good bit more than 30 meters in reality, yet at the price I'm not confident to test it :p
Yes. Twice. From 1995 until 2005 I was a partner in a Telecoms consulting firm that I started with a partner. The business basically dried up after the infamous "dot com and telecoms crash."

In 2007 I started a new management consulting firm, and have two partners to this day.

All excellent points. Customer understanding (drawing out what their real needs are by asking a lot of questions), investing your time, and cost control are all very important.

Again, great advice. Our current firm has has great success using this approach. Bigger companies that don't have our expertise in-house are our entire customer base today.

100%. We maintain a web site for credibility purposes, but our entire book of business with 14 active clients is from referrals.

I agree.

Yes! Be as selective as you can, and over time you'll be able to focus on clients who really value your contributions and pay on a timely basis. Always be willing to fire a client if justified.

I also agree with this. I suggest it is important to actually force yourself to have a set of strict priorities financially, and have a good bookkeeper. Be deliberate about your money priorities. For us what works is that a reasonable profit is priority 1 (you cannot lose money and make it up on volume). Cash flow (getting paid timely) is priority 2. Revenue (top line sales) is our lowest priority. Most of the small independent companies I have seen go under were killed by failing to account for their costs, or due to poor cash flow.

Mine too! I had a mentor who helped me with this. A core principle he taught me was to force myself to spend a few hours every week reaching out to trusted colleagues. Schedule the time. It's like eating your vegetables as a kid. πŸ˜‰ Don't ask your trusted colleagues directly for work; rather ask after them, and make them aware of what you are doing. Then ask for advice. Some will give advice. Some will offer referrals. Some will ask if you can take on work, and then you'll have a client.

What you are doing can be frightening, it sure was for me. But the fact is that if you can get 2 or 3 active clients, you'll begin to have more security than a "job" can ever provide.

Best of luck!
Thanks, the last bit is especially helpful. I do have a basis for a network - mainly previous employers I maintain a good relation with, and former clients and suppliers I worked with during that employment. But I struggle with how warm up those connections again, without directly asking for work. I guess just picking up the phone and asking for some business advice is a good way to start, without plainly asking for work.

More difficult is cold calling new connections. I know my assignments will come mostly through architects and interior designers, so I should probably be connecting with architects I may like to work with. On paper no issue in just calling them up and introducing myself, but that's pretty much opposite to my nature lol. I'll somehow need to grow some balls :p
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I'm not a member of WPAC, but I do lurk here in the shadows so as to not go too far off the wagon.

There's been some pretty good advice here so far, and I would add the following:
1. Clearly identify who is likely to be your target client and figure out good referral sources for those target clients. Take those people out to lunch/drinks whatever and ask how you can help THEM. (Not how they can help you.)
2. Figure out something that you can do a little different/better, and then educate everyone you meet, in a gentle educational way what your niche and expertise is.
3. Learn a good elevator speech or two. (How to explain who you are, what you do, what clients you are looking for - within the time it takes an elevator to go up a few floors.)
4. Consider joining a networking group. (Maybe one that includes contractors or other likely referral sources)
5. Answer the phone and return calls. Seriously, it's a little thing, but many just don't do it.
6. Set up a proper business and website. Make yourself look legitimate.
7. Be patient and take a side job until the work starts coming in if you need to.

Good luck.
Point 1 is pretty much the opposite of how I am lol. But I am glad to live in the Netherlands, because inviting ppl for dinner for business is actually a bit frowned upon in the Netherlands - private and business are very much separate in Dutch culture, which I know is very different in other cultures (like southern Europe, where you don't do business without becoming friendly first). It depends a bit on the sector though, its not like it doesn't happen, but its not the usual way of networking here.
This is not to say that I shouldn't be getting out there and connect with potential clients in other ways, which is something that will be a challenge for me as I expressed before.

Point 2 very true, and also fairly easy in my line of work. Most architects and interior designers don't understand light in the way they actually ought to be expected to, with some notable exceptions. Educating is actually part of the job. If they don't understand what you're talking about, you won't accomplish anything. And I enjoy it a lot as well. It is also one of the main challenges in the job, because architects and interior designers don't understand lighting, we often also get asked into a project way too late in the design process, when a lot of design decisions that also impact lighting are already finalized.

3, very good advice thanks. I built a website, which helped a lot in defining my story. But it would definitely be helpful if I manage to summarize that into an elevator pitch as well, so I'll be working on that.
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Well, I was perusing the Christopher Ward sale, half considering a couple of watches, against my better judgment, and they both sold and disappeared. Just as well. I kept my honour and dignity which are more important.
Next time just post them here for bashing ;)
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Hello everyone, I hope 22 is treating everyone well so far. I am quite content and happy with my Citizen Promaster Tough.

Earlier today, Thuraday, my wife tossed an idea at me whilst we were on our way to have dinner with some friends.

"Hey, come next June (2023), when we are out of the situation we're in how about you get that Tudor that you always used to talk about?"

Now, since it was released, I have been obsessed with the Tudor BB41 Blue dial. Here is the issue, I am neither comfortable nor interested in laying down that much cash for a watch. Yes it is beautiful. Yes it fits perfect. BUT, I would not be comfortable wearing it out and about; especially as I am about as graceful as a drunk moose with 2 legs...

I have however continued to ponder her idea. I have no aspirations to purchase any watches here in 2022. I am content and happy. That said, I work 3rd shift and have a fair amount of downtime. I have been doing some slight nosing around.

I have found 1, maybe 2 contenders for next year. The 1st that hits all the marks is the Atticus Pytheas no date. The ONLY thing that would stop me is I have no way to handle one prior to taking the potential plunge next year. The 2nd candidate is the Phoibos Nebula. The only factors with it is I wish it were no date, and no way to try it.

Anyway, I have a year and a half to consider things.

Sent from my SM-G981V using Tapatalk
Bookmarked this post as leverage in case you get tempted before 2023 🧐
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You don't have time to do that first. You have to buy them and return them if you don't like them, or if WPAC says so.
If you don't have time to post for bashing, then you know its the wrong decision. Treat it like buying a house - if the agent tells you you need to pull the trigger on the spot, you know you should walk away.

I bet you the only reason you considered it, is because of FOMO and not because of the actual watch. If you wanted the actual watch, then why did you only just now start considering it?

Hah, I got it first, and the others didn't get a chance! HAH HAH SUCKERS! LUCKY ME!
One week later: this watch sucks. Let the others have it. Sold.
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You’ve already gotten some great advice. All I would add or emphasize is that cash flow is king or is for our business. Don’t be afraid to take some lower margin projects in the beginning to build your portfolio and references, it can make a huge difference down the road.

You’re going to work harder than you’ve ever worked in your life but it’s very rewarding. Determine what you don’t do very well and get some help, leverage those that are experts in their field, book keeping, budgeting, marketing, etc and it will allow you to focus on what you do best. It can be overwhelming so don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

Running a one-man show can also be isolating and lonely. If you can find a business group that meets regularly it’s a good idea to join. These types of groups will help with referrals and business related issues but they can also improve your state of mind. Just the interaction with like-minded people can be a positive.

Good luck, I wish you success.
Yes, cashflow will be a challenge. I know its been challenging for my previous employers from time to time. I'll have to figure out the margins still though. I think other than networking, that's the other main insecurity I feel right now. I don't know yet what amount I can ask. I got a hunch for the hourly rate, but how many hours do I quote? Its something I'll just have to figure out as I go I guess.

There used to be a local lighting designers association here, but sadly it got wrapped up due to disagreements in management. Internationally there is also one, but its a bit harder to physically meet people through that - though its worth looking into. There used to be an international bi annual conference as well, which I've been to a couple of times - but they dissolved... which is a shame, because it was a great inspiring place to be and to meet people in the business (but also kind of a preaching to the choir situation).

But I'm on great terms with my previous employers. And especially my Indian employer, with whom I would have become partners in his company there if life hadn't taken a different turn - but I do still have a great friend and sparring partner in him. So that'll help a bit in the isolated part of it I hope. And who knows, if things go well I might start taking employees - I do enjoy working with people better than on my own. But that's for future consideration.

In any case, thanks everyone for the responses and advice! Its great to be able to bounce this off to a bunch of strangers that don't have any preconceptions about me or my line of work. Sorry for derailing the thread a bit lol :p
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I will say this...

I had a hard time wearing a $1600 Sinn 656L, but I think it was more about condition of a collectible LE, than the outright value, knowing I would only eventually put damage to a nearly mint example of 200 made. Sold it off pretty quick.

Last year, I bought the mrs-ish a very expensive (for us) piece of jewelry. Scrimped, saved, even sold some watches to it. This year, she said she would return the favor, what do you want. Came down to a 90s-era Ducati 900ss, or a watch. As much as I would love one of those Ducs, watch won out.

Just knowing that it was in the offing tempered my usual purchase habits. A bit. And then I received it this Christmas, BB36:

View attachment 16348483

I do not mind wearing this, at all. Maybe a combination of: mrs-ish was in on the purchase; it is not a rare, limited edition; because it was a gift, I feel I have almost an obligation to wear it on a regular basis; and also, since someone else actually paid for it, the value is one degree more abstract? I dunno, but I do like wearing it around...

This has prompted me to ruthlessly purge my collection and plan to curtail any purchases Q2-3 this year. Q1 will see a few purchases paid or pre-ordered in 2020 arrive, and perhaps another Big Purchase watch in Q4.

Return authorization received for one watch - will get more as a return than I had it priced for sale. Another watch sold. Currently, four still outgoing. Two of them (green dots), if I can't get decent money for them, will end up keeping. The other two will probably end up gifted or given away.

View attachment 16348502
View attachment 16348504
Being a gift definitely makes a difference. The union I own is definitely more expensive than I would be comfortable spending on my own - and if I did, wearing it would just remind me of spending an amount of cash I probably shouldn't have. But the fact it was a gift from my parents makes it a completely different experience. Its not the value on the wrist that makes uncomfortable, its about what you value spending your money on.

I bet that if you had bought the BB36 yourself, you would have felt equally bad about it as you felt about the Sinn. And I bet that if your wife was a watch nut, you'd have been totally comfortable spending on that very same BB36 for her as a present instead of the ring you gave her - because that has a totally different emotional value than buying a trinket for yourself.
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I think people approach watches according to some sort of (shall we say) first principles on what aspects of a watch matter most to them. I haven't got my theory all worked out, and probably won't. Maybe it's just a minor thesis at this point. Obviously, some principles overlap:
  • does it sort of tell you what time it is while being durable?
  • does it keep time quite accurately?
  • is the price appropriate to the factors I value?
  • does the workmanship of the various elements reach a level I find satisfactory?
  • does it meet MY aesthetic criteria?
  • can it survive Armageddon so the roaches and rats will know the time while I am a comfortable pile of ash?
  • can it tell time on the bottom of the Marianas Trench? (I'll still take it off to get in the pool.)

People have a grab bag of these criteria that matter to them, then seem to discuss with others as if those others had the same grab bag. I liked the summation @Trias did while trying to understand Tudor (and I like your posts better without spoilers).

Maybe we should compile a comprehensive list of watch attributes that matter, and we could do "state of the criteria" posts. Each one may need a numerical scale.
A list of criteria is like a list of justifications to buy a new watch...
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Interesting and worrying read here folks.....

You mean relief, not worry. Its an old thread (2018), and doc just posted an update that swatch didn't go in appeal, so Vortic won ;)
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It could be but equally it can work the other way in discounting shiny new (FOMO....) trinkets because they don't meet the criteria. In fact I think that if the list of criteria are accurate and true they'd be more like that than a set of justifications.....
I'm with Hornet on this one.

One of the first lessons I learned in WPAC was to develop a list of things I didn't love about watches (case size, thickness, dial colors, complications, etc) and create a fixed list of unacceptable watch criteria, as long as possible, to help me weed out a lot of the new shiny things that were tempting me. Today, it seems silly that I was buying anything from 35mm to 44mm during my crazy buying spree of 2018, but without a little WPAC discipline, I was grabbing anything at a good price with a swiss movement that looked interesting.
That's... impressive. Probably not in a good way.

Yeah, a list of criteria is a list of justifications to NOT buy a watch.

All we have to do is make them narrow enough and then there won't be a watch out there worth buying 😁
Its a bit of a two edged sword.

On one hand yes, having some criteria can help you to constrain your buying, and be more selective. And while that is improvement, it is still a focus on aquiring.

There's been plenty of instances for me personally, where a list of criteria actually lead to buying watches that ticked off all my boxes, exactly because it ticked off all those boxes and not because I liked or needed it. And in the end, ticking those boxes almost never means I actually like the watch in the end, even though it has all the features and qualities I determined I like about other watches.

But more importantly: The act of making a detailed list of criteria makes your focus of attention become more fixated on watches. And that is exactly what you don't want if you want to reduce your buying impulses. You should move your focus away from watches...

...or rather, move your focus to enjoying the watches you already own, instead of to making criteria describing watches you might potentially want to own.
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Sorry, but I disagree with this.....

......You've got to remember that for a lot of us we came to WUS / WPAC already have an addiction to buying watches, without a list of criteria. So the criteria, whilst still focused on buying was aiming to reduce the buying by focusing it. By discounting watches, based on criteria, the act of this leads to reducing buying even more as you realise that so many watches won't satisfy you why bother looking. The act of creating a list of criteria also makes you focus on exactly what you do appreciate about watches and by extension appreciate what you have......
I'm not saying that a criteria list can't help, it surely is an improvement over unbridled aquisition. All I'm saying is that despite the improvement, its ultimately still a focus on aquiring.

Especially in the way Weetabix was proposing it - sitting down to create an actual comprehensive list - is something that actually reenforces your fixation on watches.

Your attention should be moving elsewhere, to something other than watches. Only then will you ultimately get a grip on the buying impulses.

Maybe I should nuance it by saying it depends a bit on your goal in WPAC whether a list is helpful. If your goal is going from 30 watches per year to 10 watches per year, sure, the list will do the trick. But if you want to get to complete abstinence, or maybe 1 carefully considered purchase, then you shouldn't need that list in the first place.

[Edit:] let me personalize this a bit to your specific situation Hornet:

A list of criteria is a purchasing tool - it is something you use when determining what you want to buy, making you stay focused and not be side tracked by all the other shiny stuff out there you could also buy.

In your situation, use that list of criteria to make your purchase. You have more or less settled on the BB58 now, if that's final, buy the watch, and then ditch the list.

Don't be tempted to evaluate your list based on new experiences with the BB58 you just bought. Also don't be tempted to evaluate the BB58 to see if it really matches your list!

Once your purchase is final, the list of criteria becomes a dangerous tool.
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