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5 Tips for Budget-Minded Watch Lovers

We watch enthusiasts are a different breed—the feel of a vintage Rolex on our wrists, the smell of leather watch straps, and the sight of a luxury timepiece worn by a character in a movie are what make us tick (pun intended).

Collecting watches is a favorite pastime, but what about when you’re on a budget? Financial constraints can seem to make life difficult for watch lovers, but you can indulge your passion in several ways without breaking the bank.

Tips for Budget Minded Watch Lovers
(Tima Miroshnichenko/pexels)

1. Purchase from Smaller or Newer Brands

Watch purists might shake their heads at this bit of advice, but there are so many incredible brands out there that offer beautiful timepieces. Baltic, Olivia Burton, and Unimatic are just a few of the smaller watch brands that come to mind.

These small watch brands, often called microbrands, don’t have international fame to drive their prices up. This doesn’t make their watches any less valuable in terms of quality and style, though. And who knows—that small brand you buy from today might explode in the years to come, driving up the resale price if you choose to sell it in the future.

2. Keep an Eye on Watch Forums and Auctions

Watch forums are where many watch enthusiasts go to sell their timepieces. After all, they want to see the pieces they sell go to owners who will love the watches the way they do. This is just one reason you may see lower prices on watch forums than you would on general resale sites.

Some watch resellers are in a time crunch, which you can use to your advantage when bargaining. Many high-quality watches have been resold for far below the value price on watch forums.

If you go this route, just be aware of two things: 1) the watch you purchase may not be in like-new condition (though this isn’t necessarily a bad thing), and 2) there are forums out there where scammers run rampant. Make sure your seller is reputable and trustworthy.

3. Sell or Trade Some of Your Collection

We know, we know—handing one of your watches over to a new owner can be painful. But that’s the way the watch world works. If you’re interested in expanding your collection but you’re on a budget, it might be necessary to sell or trade one of your timepieces.

The good news is that if you don’t have any time constraints, you can hold out for a high price or a great trade with a fellow watch enthusiast. Negotiating watch sales or trades is a fun pastime in itself, and it’s an awesome way to find killer deals and unique pieces that the maker is no longer selling.

4. Change Out Your Watch Straps

Sure, this may not be adding to your watch collection in a big way. But you’d be surprised how a simple swap of your watch bands can change the look of the entire watch (and, by extension, your whole outfit).

You can take the stainless steel bands off your watch and replace them with supple leather bands for a more relaxed yet refined look. You can dress up your diving watch by swapping out the silicone bands for metal-looking ceramic bands. And if you want to emulate James Bond, you can add NATO watch straps to your Rolex.

Watch bands, even brand-new from upscale retailers, are often much cheaper than a whole new watch. By adding different kinds of watch bands to your collection, you expand the wearability range of each of your watches.

5. Invest in Reputable Watch Repair

Watch collecting can be tough on the wallet in more ways than one. Collecting isn’t the only thing driving into your budget: maintaining your watches can be costly, too. But you know what’s worse? Not maintaining your watches.

You’d be surprised to learn how many of your daily habits are negatively affecting your watch’s life and overall quality. Even if you’re perfectly careful with your watch, if you’re not taking it in for regular servicing, you’re doing your watch and your wallet a disservice.

Regular watch servicing can prevent problems from occurring and stop malfunctions in their tracks. Even something as simple as leaving your quartz watch with a dead battery for too long can have devastating consequences.

Because of this, it’s vital that you take your watch in for regular servicing, as this will save you money by preventing costly repairs. You should also keep your watch in good condition so that you can fetch the highest price possible if you ever choose to sell or trade it.

Just make sure that you choose a watch repair shop that’s trustworthy (and preferably one that will be willing to hunt for rare replacement parts). Whether you’re taking your beloved Longines or Seiko watch in for repair, you’ll want to make sure that it’s in good hands and will be returned to you promptly and in perfect condition.

Loving Watches Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

You probably don’t realize that you as a watch lover don’t have to be shelling out the big bucks for your passion. While watch collecting can certainly become expensive very quickly, there are many ways around this problem.

If you hunt for deals, invest in accessories, and keep your timepieces well-maintained, you’ll be able to stick to your budget while indulging in your passion for all things watches.

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5 Tips for Budget-Minded Watch Lovers