The Watch G-T-G

The Get-Together is one of the best aspects of watch collecting. All watch collectors need to try it.

Over the years, I must have attended many dozens of different GTGs. Ranging from small 2-3 gatherings all the way to maybe 100 or so people. There is no question in my mind that GTGs are a great aspect of the watch collecting process. Having said that, every silver lining has a cloud. This article takes a glimpse at five things I love about GTGs and five things I do not like.

Five great things about GTGs

  1. One gets the opportunity to meet a broad range of different people with vastly different interests. As a result, one makes friendships that last a lifetime. As a direct result of GTGs, I have developed friendships with some incredible people. Top of the list for me are the friendships that emerge from GTGs.
  2. One gets to see a vast range of different types of watches. From my perspective, my watch collection is based largely around Patek Philippe and some Rolex with a few sentimental JLCs in there. Yet, at GTGs, one gets to see an enormous range of different manufacturers and also different complications. It broadens one’s perspective on watch collecting.
  3. One gets to establish great networks of knowledge. Some guys just have incredibly deep knowledge about certain aspects of watch collecting. Through GTGs, one learns not only new things but also one develops networks that allow expertise in different areas to be accessed.
  4. I like to see how a watch looks on my wrist before buying. GTGs offer an incredible “shop window” experience with the option to see how a watch actually looks on the wrist. Of course, one can do this for many new models. However, when it comes to something a little more rare and in vintage zone, finding opportunities to try something on can be hard. GTGs solve this issue.
  5. The GTG itself can often turn into a party. In fact, the most recent 6 or so GTGs that I have been to were more party than GTG. Great venues. Great food. Sumptuous wine. Great company. It is a party.

Five things to beware of from GTGs

  1. Security is becoming a bigger and bigger issue. I remember once sitting at a Paris Brasserie with around 10 different collectors. There were probably 100 watches on the tables. This attracted the attention of a couple of locals who fancied their chances at a run-by-and-swipe. They never managed to get any, but it was a risk. Security is, regrettably, something that needs very careful consideration now.
  2. Inevitably, when one attends GTGs where one meets new people, standards can differ on how to treat watches. Once, when I returned from a GTG, I found that one of the pushers on a world time had been broken. Basically, it had been played with too aggressively. Someone who I had never met spent the evening with my watch and obviously played too hard. I have also seen pristine and untouched watches scratched and damaged by guys who just treat their watches in a different way.
  3. The “Watch Bore”. While there can be some really interesting watch collectors, there is also the risk of running into the “Watch Bore.” This is a guy who likes to boast a lot about his collection, how long he has been collecting, and will tell you he knows more about watches than anyone. He will often claim that what he has is “the best”. One will often see selfies of them set against some supercar or yacht. It is all about the image with these guys. Underneath the surface, there is a vacuum. Avoid these collectors. They are superficial and oddly always a bit blingy. Invariably in mid-life crisis! I have met several. They are unable to tell the difference between an opinion and a fact.
  4. “Getting hooked” is one of the biggest dangers of GTGs. At GTGs one gets to see watches that one never knew one needed. I know of several collectors who ended up re-shaping their entire collections after seeing a watch at a GTG that they “needed” to have. GTGs can be dangerous shop windows.
  5. Finally, one needs to be aware what probability there is that a GTG turns into point 5 above – the party. Inevitably, this leads to higher risk of; falling, losing watches, damaging watches, damaging heads, and generally not remembering what watches one started the evening with. It is always a good idea to recognise the risk of which GTGs will become like this!