3 mistakes everyone makes when buying a luxury watch

Just getting into watch collecting? Don't make these expensive mistakes

Tudor Pelagos FXD
(Image credit: Tudor)

Mechanical watches are capable of bringing so much joy to their owners, and while some people might think smartwatches or fitness trackers are more useful, true purists know that nothing can beat a traditional watch. They make a statement about your style and show an appreciation for craftsmanship and engineering.

If you've been buying and wearing mechanical watches for years, and when you're just starting to collect watches, there's a long list of common mistakes that one might make.

I've been lucky to review a number of luxury watches for T3 and I have a pretty extensive collection that I keep in rotation too, so over the years, talking to various watch brands and experts, I have picked up a few tricks that I really wish I'd known when I first started collecting watches. 

I'm guessing these simple tricks will be useful for other people too, so, without further ado, here are the mistakes you can easily avoid when buying luxury watches.

1. Falling for the hype

This mistake has been particularly prevalent in recent years – people are buying watches they don't even like just because it's the watch of the season. Everyone wants an AP Royal Oak, Patek Phillipe, Rolex, or even a MoonSwatch, but a lot of that demand is due to hype rather than actual tastes and interests (although don't get me wrong, a lot of people do really like those watches).

It's much better to take some time before any watch purchase and truly consider whether you want to buy it. I'd suggest going to a watch boutique, trying the watch on, and then going away to think about it. Ask yourself whether you'd actually wear it. If you still want it after a few days, then you can buy it.

Don't just buy a watch because everyone else has one, or because you saw a nice picture of it on Instagram.

Breitling x Triumph

(Image credit: Breitling)

2. Buying too many watches

This mistake is easy to make if you're just starting your watch collecting journey. I get it – you're enthusiastic, have some money burning a hold in your pocket, and eager to impress your new hobby buddies – so you start to buy all kinds of watches without really considering what you like and what you'd like your collection include.

This almost always leads to purchases you'll regret.

You should start by getting one watch. Before you buy that watch – try it on first. Then you should wear the watch – day in and day out – enjoy it and don't focus on your next purchase. After a while you should have an idea of what you like and what you dislike about the watch – this is valuable information you can use to inform your next purchase. 

Without this kind of analysis, you'll be buying watches without much thought, which, in turn, could lead to buyer's remorse and watches that gather dust.

Really consider each watch purchase and always take time between buying new watches.

3. Settling for an alternative watch to the one you really want

This is another common mistake and is one that's very easy to make. Maybe the watch you really want is difficult to purchase or maybe you can't afford it yet – so you start to look at alternatives. 

For example, you might really want a Rolex Daytona, but you've waited for months and the Rolex AD won't sell you one, so you go into an Omega boutique and walk out with a Speedmaster.

Alternatively, you might want to buy a watch to celebrate a special occasion. The watch you really want is £5,000, but you've only managed to save up £3,500, so you settle for a more affordable alternative.

This is always a bad idea! After the initial honeymoon period is over, even if the alternative watch you bought is really good, you'll still really want that original watch and you'll be reminded of that every time you scroll through Instagram and see it on the wrist of someone else. It's just a matter of time.

Then you're stuck with a watch you regret buying and depending on the brand, you might have lost money as well, putting that original grail watch even further away.

Just wait for that original dream watch – the wait will make the eventual purchase even more satisfying. 

Spencer Hart
Style and Travel Editor

As the Style and Travel Editor at T3, Spencer covers everything from clothes to cars and watches to hotels. Everything that's cool, stylish, and interesting, basically. He's been a part of T3 for over seven years, and in that time covered every industry event known to man, from CES and MWC to the Geneva Motorshow and Baselworld. When he's driving up and down the country in search of the greatest driving roads, he can be found messing around on an electric scooter, playing with luxury watches, or testing the latest fragrances.