How I realized I have no self control...
An Article By Katlen Schmidt
Remember when you and your best watch friend had this great idea to make a pact? “No more watches for 2019”! We were determined that no matter what was released, we were not going to buy any more watches for the year. Well, minus the fact that one of us (*coughs, Kat) was already going to be buying her Monta in December. This was supposed to be a few months of financial responsibility which our bank accounts would have greatly appreciated!
As someone who tries to be practical, my love for watches really throws a wrench in my frugal nature. I purchased my first home in the summer of 2018 and told myself that I would not buy one single watch for an entire year. And y’all, I actually did it. I went over a year without adding anything to the collection and it was easier than I thought. In summer of 2019 I added my first new piece in over a year. I remember sitting at a gas station in Ohio, about to head home from visiting family and seeing an Instagram story from someone selling their Nodus Retrospect that I had been eyeing for some time. Seven hours later, I was pulling into my driveway and pulling out my credit card for PayPal.
A couple of weeks after that I purchased my first vintage watch, the Omega Sapphette while on vacation (note to self, maybe I shouldn’t be allowed on the internet during vacations as it seems to lead to watch purchases). If I remember correctly a few days after getting home from that trip, Nodus reached out about the blue Contrail that had been sold out and I had been eyeing for some time. The guys found one for me and it was mine if I wanted it, so of course, I got it. Add one more vintage Omega Dynamic purchase and I had added four watches to my collection in just two months. I think most of us can agree that’s a bit excessive. I had gone from famine to feast. And even though the four watches together weren’t overly expensive, I realized that I had a problem and needed to stop.
Social Media Woes
Here’s the thing about a watch buying fast, social media does not help! You get on Instagram and it’s post after post of these absolutely stunning watches. Then you have the watch releases which are unbelievably tempting. Add to that the “for sale’ postings and it’s impossible! There’s no avoiding watches! You see them all day, talk about them on the podcast, text about them, and I deal with watches for a real living…the struggle was real! But I held strong, There was a lot of temptation, and a lot of having people talk me off the ledge of giving in. I was determined! We talked about it on the podcast. We made it known to the world. We asked y’all to hold us
Just a few short months into this watch fast and Worn & Wound announces a watch that both of us ladies obsess over, their Stowa “Verus Grau” collaboration. This thing was absolute perfection. I’m sure many of you will remember us gushing about this watch on the podcast right after it was announced. Well, James from Worn & Wound also heard how obsessed we were with it and offered to send us his own personal watch to check out for a bit, to which we quickly responded “yes”. I’ll never forget the first picture Kat sent me of it on her wrist after the watch was dropped off. It was love at first sight and I hadn’t even seen it in person yet (is that even possible?…apparently). A few days later and it was finally Friday which meant we were getting together to record and I was going to see the watch in person for the first time myself. It was everything that I had hoped for. The grey dial was perfection! And the fact that the date wheel matched exactly was one of those subtle details that is so often missed in the watch world. Usually I love a bit of polishing to a case, but something about this blasted steel that just worked so perfectly with the dial. It was clean, sexy, and different than anything else I had in the collection as I had actually never owned or even considered a flieger watch.
“Ok. So I’ll just take the watch for a week, take some pics, and bring it back next Friday to Kat”. I really had the best of intentions, and in my defense, I’m pretty sure I brought it back the next Friday on my wrist, and the Friday after that, and a few more Fridays later. This watch was occupying my wrist like nothing else and I just couldn’t get it off. Every week I offered to let Kat take it back, secretly hoping she wouldn’t say yes because I just wanted to wear it. The Stowa looked good and felt even better.
It wasn’t long before I realized that I needed this watch and I just had to have it. I agonized for weeks over the Stowa (which you all most definitely picked up on by listening to our countless conversations on the podcast about it). I had to have it, but wait, I’m not supposed to be buying watches right? Right. Hold strong. It was November and before I knew the year was going to be over soon. I would buy the watch on January first of the new year, stick to the watch buying fast and ride off into the sunset living happily ever after, just the Stowa and I (and all my other watches of course). Then that painful reality set in, the watch is limited to only 100 pieces. Y’all, when I say that I was in love with this watch, I mean it. Head over heels in love with it. The way it sits on the wrist, those 20mm lugs that look perfect paired with any strap imaginable, that textured grey dial, the lume (oh, the lume), there’s not one thing I would have changed about it.
The more I had this watch on my wrist, the more I knew I couldn’t miss out on it. I dreaded looking at the emails everyday expevting James to ask for his watch back because I just knew I couldn’t let it go. So I did a thing. I reached out to Worn & Wound and broke the fast. James being possibly one of the most stand up guys around offered for me to keep his until mine delivered as they were waiting on the next batch from Germany. Then a few weeks before Christmas, I got that email confirming delivery and my heart skipped a beat, it was here. I rushed home from work and did the unthinkable, I gift wrapped it and stuck that handsome watch under the tree without even opening it first (which wasn’t the sacrifice that it sounds because I still had James’ watch to keep my wrist company). Que Christmas day, and it was the first box that I searched for which had been buried and pushed to the back by my parents stuffing the tree with as much as possible for their grandson. Alas, here it was, my own personal Verus Grau. Yes I had been wearing one for months, but this one was mine and sliding it on my wrist for the first time was more satisfying than any of the watch purchases that I had just made on a whim. There was a pride that I just can’t explain in finally having this watch for myself.
Happily Ever After
So, here I am. Hi, my name is Katlen and I’m a watchaholic. Ok, that may be a bit dramatic, but I defeinitely have a bit of an addiction addiction to this hobby and to watches. I couldn’t last four months without giving in and buying a new watch at the first serious temptation. And you know what? I’m okay with that. But also, I “punished myself” by agonizing for months over buying a watch which in hindsight is just absolutely ridiculous. If there’s one thing this experience showed me, it’s that collecting shouldn’t be a matter of feast or famine. You don’t have to deprive yourself of buying watches because you think you have too many. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, you don’t have to jump in and purchase every new thing that gets your attention. It’s ok to wait and really put thought into a new watch purchase. In fact, I would greatly encourage it. Honestly, this sort if ideology is something that I wish I had during the entirety of my collecting as I probably wouldn’t be sitting here looking at a watch box with pieces that barely get worn.
There is a joy to collecting and planning things out. I’ve often wondered about the phrase “curate a collection” and I feel like I am getting closer to being at that kind of level. To me, a curator is someone who looks at a current collection, thinks about the overall goal, and hunts down new pieces or eliminates old ones in order to get the collection closer to that goal. Will there be an occasional impulse buy? Sure, I am only human after all. But, I want to focus my efforts in planning out what I want my watch collection to represent and say. 2020 watch goals? I’m definitely not going to commit to another watch buying fast, but I am going to commit to more intentional way of watch buying, being more deliberate in how and what I purchase.
For now, I am more than happy with where my collection is at (famous last words). And all this time later, the Stowa still occupies my wrist more than anything else. It seems only fitting that a love story like ours end with that old fairy tale phrase…”and they lived Happily Ever After”.
For more information about the Verus Grau Stowa, head over to the Worn & Wound website.