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 (17)

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.

  • 2
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. 

  • 1
  • Analyst 3+ in RE - Comm
Apr 24, 2021 - 4:59pm

Thanks for the advices here guys. While I definitely want to buy something that will at least relatively hold it's value, I don't want to do so at the cost of buying the watch I actually want. I'm a pretty simple guy and want something that isn't too flashy. I've been eying the Oyster Perpetual with an understated dial color...I'll keep doing my research!

  • 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". 

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