Justifying buying a nice watch

How do you guys justify buying a nice watch? I'm about 3 years out of school and would like to treat myself sometime this year (maybe if I get a nice bonus/promotion at the end of the year, or if I get my dream job). I'm looking at spending maybe $5-6k. Is this outrageous for someone ~25/26 years old?

My total net worth is around $140k. The way I've been thinking about it, is as a % of net worth...how much of my net worth would be OK to tie up in a material good such as a watch? I'd like to think that it will at least hold most of it's value so not the end of the world if I ended up selling it years later. But let's be honest it is not an investment it's just something I want to buy to flex and make myself feel good. 

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Comments (47)

Apr 29, 2021 - 3:59pm

No idea who those guys are but just buy like 3 seiko 5's and 3 ETH and you'll be more satisfied by owning more watches and an asset that will 3x this year 

Apr 24, 2021 - 10:15am

I think that's fair. I've already spend $4k on 3 watches. My next watch will be a limited edition Omega speedmaster that'll run me about $5k but I don't plan on getting it for a few years. Guess for me the hurdle is making $250k all in per year to justify that expense but tbh that's pretty conservative and at least 3-4yrs away if things go well. 

Then again, I don't have the intense craving for it to make me go get it today or think about it all day. Know a guy who's making $100k or so but just bought himself an $11k Rolex....to me that's crazy but but for him that works. All up to the individual person.

  • VP in PE - Growth
Apr 24, 2021 - 10:18am

Buy it when you get your next bonus and just pretend your bonus was $5k less. You'd be totally justified to just buy it at any point (and with $140K in savings, you wouldn't even feel it...) but you sound like me, and psychologically, that's how I justified it to myself.

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Most Helpful
Apr 24, 2021 - 2:53pm

Watches aren't a huge deal to buy if you're tactical about what you buy. I've made money on my collection for a few years and swap pieces out all the time. The key of course is knowing what you're buying. You can do this with almost anything, including cars, which is what my business partner does, but it's a lot more effort and cars can have a lot more go wrong VS watches.

I stick to hardcore enthusiast brands personally and lately have been getting into independents a lot. They have huge huge room to go up in value too which is nice. 

I recommend using WatchRecon and WatchPatrol to get a feel for used prices! If you're afraid to buy from individuals then go to a reputable used dealer like WatchBox. I've bought a few times from them and had a great experience every time. 

BTW, it's actually easier to make money/retain value on a used watch in the $10k - $20k range than anything sub-10k. I'd recommend spending more and then if you ever need the liquidity or get bored, it's an easy flip without losing money. Until you have a lot of experience stay away from anything above...~$20k as the liquidity falls off pretty hard. Watches above ~$75k - $100k are actually the place where it's really easy to make money but extremely risky if you aren't a seasoned nerd.

  • 7
Apr 24, 2021 - 4:42pm

If you're going to buy a watch, don't buy one that will depreciate and DYOR. The right Rolex is a decent purchase because Rolex controls and manipulates the market so the value increases 

Apr 24, 2021 - 4:53pm

For me, the best argument for it is the confidence.

Hopefully it holds its value... etc, but wearing a nice watch changes the way you carry yourself. You walk and talk with more confidence and respect yourself more, leading to other people viewing you differently. Its a little bit like the saying "dress for success" or "dress for the job you want, not the job you have.." If you are making 200k a year, a one-time $5000 purchase is negalible compared especially considering how it makes you feel and act totally differently. 

  • 2
  • Investment Manager in HF - Other
Apr 24, 2021 - 5:19pm

As you start getting into watches you'll realize that more expensive does not equal more flashy, especially at the top end of the market. 

Patek Philippe, VC, and A Lange Sohne make some of the more understated (and expensive) watches. You'll also see that as you move into independents (Laurent Ferrier, Gronefeld, Voutilainen, etc) and the prices will skyrocket. 

Now, that out of the way, if you want something that will be easy to sell later on (for whatever reason) and will have "brand recognition" then Rolex is a good route. They make solid watches, have a loyal fan following, and will always be recognized as "quality". 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Apr 29, 2021 - 2:02pm

Depends on what you buy. I really enjoy watches so I was willing to buy a Speedmaster with my first bonus. All in I might lose 1-2k on it if I decide to sell. On the other hand, my friend who went into banking 4 years ago bought a batman with his first bonus, and now, even after 4 years, the watch is worth 1.75-2.00x what he bought it for. 

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Equities
Sep 20, 2021 - 12:06pm

If it is a worthwhile watch, you're just turning cash into another asset and IF it is a worthwhile watch there's a decent chance it will only grow in value over time. I have 2 'nice' watches and one was ~$8k when I bought it and now market looks like it is ~$15k....The other I picked up for $22k a few years ago and is now in the $50k range. I was told by a few people that I was stupid at the time but joke is on them :)

EDIT: Just so you know...with the current market a $5k watch probably won't grow in value much. Unfortunately, Rolex/AP/Patek has become legitimately impossible to buy retail and the secondary markets are 2-5x retail. 

  • Analyst 3+ in RE - Comm
Sep 20, 2021 - 12:37pm

What do you think about buying something like a datejust on the grey market? I'm eyeing a 41mm datejust on jubilee and am close to pulling the trigger but tough to swallow the mark up vs MSRP ($10-11k vs. $7.5-8k). 

Would be happy to have it hold value over the years but tbh I don't plan on selling it.

Also would love to know what you bought!

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Equities
Sep 20, 2021 - 3:11pm

I have a Rolex Sub and an AP Royal Oak. As far as your question it's hard to tell but to be honest I've been getting screwed by not just buying what I want. I think Pateks were in the mid 20k range in 2015/2016 and are over 100k now. By using the "too expensive compared to retail" thing you could be missing out on a lot of upside. At the end of the day high quality Swiss watches made in limited or reasonable quantities are not going down in value. AP is running the tables right now with extreme limited quantity and unlimited demand. The store shelves are barren and you can't get one from them.

To answer your question, if you like the watch probably just pull the trigger. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Sep 20, 2021 - 4:24pm

If you plan on wearing it for a while, 3K difference is literally nothing. Your stock portfolio probably moves way more than that. 3K is less than one paycheck and essentially a rounding error in your net worth. If you want the watch and don't want to wait for months / play the AD game, get the watch. 

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Sep 20, 2021 - 4:28pm

Thoughts on the new Omega Speedmaster? Have been eyeing the model for a while and not sure if it's worth the $6-7K

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Equities
Sep 20, 2021 - 4:41pm

It's really to each their own and the whole pricing/value thing is really hard to say when you have stainless watches without complicated movements selling for $100k. I'm personally not a fan of Omega and I don't think the speedmasters have ever seen the Rolex/AP/PP type of growth in value.

Sep 20, 2021 - 5:07pm

moon watch? it's hand wind, are you ok with that? not bad overall though.

its pretty big too. personally my limit is 42mm or so, altho the 6105 is a bit bigger than that since it wears small

The only difference between Asset Management and Investment Research is assets. I generally see somebody I know on TV on Bloomberg/CNBC etc. once or twice a week. This sounds cool, until I remind myself that I see somebody I know on ESPN five days a week.
  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Equities
Sep 21, 2021 - 3:29pm

Yeah can you point me in the right direction to buy a Daytona retail lmao….I'll also take as many PP/AP you can get your hands on at retail. Fuck it get me some RMs too. 

Sep 22, 2021 - 12:05am

Cool kids don't wear Rolex.  That's for posers.  Nerding out with the sneaky brands is the way to go.

The only difference between Asset Management and Investment Research is assets. I generally see somebody I know on TV on Bloomberg/CNBC etc. once or twice a week. This sounds cool, until I remind myself that I see somebody I know on ESPN five days a week.
Sep 21, 2021 - 3:58pm

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