By J. Heffner | @pinaplwtchs
The current state of my revolving door of a watch box - personal collecting interests and watch-buying philosophy
Truthfully, I used to flip watches a lot more than I do now. While nothing beats the thrill of a vintage hunt, I feel I’ve reached a place of relative bliss with my collecting journey.
Gone are the days when my entire collection had a price. You used to be able to swipe up on my Instagram story and ask the price of my watches, yet now I find satisfaction in denying the sale of a personal piece.
While I’ve always had collecting goals in terms of specific pieces, I feel my subtle goal was to be contempt after the dust settles. I’ve found real beauty in just experiencing everyday life with my keepers.
Nights with friends, job interviews, graduations, and time with family - these memories seemingly become more tangible when experienced with a timepiece on wrist. Simply checking the time on any dull workday provides a reminder that my carefully curated Seiko (for example) has been along for the ride, both good and bad.
Now today, I’ve wanted to do this article for a while. Not that I feel my readers should care about my illogical collection - but to create a ‘collection review’ series where I highlight some of the personal choices for those in the community.
Before I get into my obvious first pick, I’d like to first explain that a large collection is superfluous in my eyes, yet easier to justify in some instances.
A much younger version of myself wanted a different watch for every day of the week. I liked the idea of having a ‘Tuesday watch’ and I’d adhere to this schedule without trouble. This eliminated the daily watch decision, yet I quickly saw how my collection grew full of cheap undesirables.
Honestly, I believe that the larger a collection is, the less meaning each individual piece has. The cure to this observation is a piece that checks many boxes, and for me, that’s the Seiko 6105.
This Seiko is a vintage diver with modern proportions and solid construction. The historical significance for this piece in both pop culture and the Seiko brand truly is the cherry on top.
The condition on this example is so sharp, it’s hard to believe it’s nearly 50 years old
For me, the beauty in a black steel diver lies within its versatility. Much of the Submariners unwavering popularity is due to this fact alone. While this Seiko is no Submariner, there’s a case to be made that it’s still within the same general league of vintage divers. In fact, when I bought this piece, I had this idea in mind - why get the same Sub everyone seems to have, and go for something different. Simply put, this Seiko is a true vintage enthusiast’s watch with more niche provenance, and exactly what I expect from a vintage diver.
I have written countless articles on the vintage Seamaster. Both alone and in collaboration with those in the community, just take a look through our archives and you’ll quickly realize my love for the 1950s Seamasters.
As you’d expect, my Seamaster is both unique in its own right, and the most sentimental piece in my collection. It’s been there with me through the most memories, and was bought to commemorate a special occasion.
Easy to get lost in that dial - this piece is best photographed in natural light
Truthfully, I have owned too many (*cough* *cough* not enough) Seamasters. From jumbos to solid gold ‘chronometres’ I always was drawn to those with patina. Because of this, it was satisfying to finally settle with one of my own.
I have no doubt that this piece has had some work done throughout its nearly 70-year life. A polish here and there, perhaps a hand replacement, and aftermarket bracelet - all of these aspects don’t bother me one bit for two reasons. One, the watch just feels so good on wrist - it’s casually dressy, and delicately tough. Two, the dial is an absolute work of natural beauty. It tells a story of wear and love, a true testament of time on wrist. From seemingly burgundy tones to the even tan hue, this dial is nearly psychedelic in nature. While some collectors steer away from this degree of patina, for me, it’s just a blast on wrist.
My love for vintage Seiko is prevalent throughout my collection. There’s a level of satisfaction only guaranteed by a vintage Seiko. They’re real “IYKYK” pieces, and part of the fun for me is due to these Seikos being the complete opposite of the Swiss Watch Establishment.
Going along with this Seiko theme, one cannot debate that modern Grand Seiko carries an ethos of innovation. I believe this vintage model 5717 was the beginning of that tradition.
This chrono is simple in design, yet powered by an impressive Seiko caliber
While not a GS, this piece is a sort of ‘flex’ watch for me (not because of its monetary value, but history and beauty). A polar white sunburst dial is crisp with a sharp minimalist design language. This contrasts the solid link jubilee style bracelet that looks straight from the future. All solid steel throughout, this piece is the first mechanical column wheel chronograph produced by the brand. Interestingly, this piece saw its debut in 1964 marking the Tokyo Olympics. While examples with the Olympic caseback inscription typically fetch higher numbers, my specific watch is in LNOS condition with the tags and caseback sticker still attached.
Honestly, I don’t wear this watch often, but when I do, it’s instantly a favorite.
What it Means to Collect
Each collector is unique in what they enjoy. Some may love my humble collection, others may hate it. At the end of the day, though, this hobby is so rewarding because of these differences in interests.
Most watches out there can have a case made for their beauty or collectability. I could easily talk for hours about why I love vintage Seiko or what feels most at home on my wrist. The most important theme, however, is to collect what you enjoy, and build memories with those pieces.
There have been times where a more expensive piece came into my possession, and I ‘babied’ it so to speak. It wasn’t until years into this collecting journey that I learned to knock around my watches and embrace the scratches of everyday life. To me, this is what it means to get the most from your collection, and truly make it yours.
So, without pondering this too much, let me know what you think! Is there a particular piece you think my watch box is missing? Do you agree/disagree with my collecting ideology? Would you sell any of these pieces to buy another? I look forward to hearing your thoughts as a reader and observer of my collection!
P.S. - Give this article a like if you’d like to see more collection reviews from those in the community! I think this could be a cool start to a casual series.