Along the path of becoming a watch collector, one meets many different types of Patek Philippe collectors. This post will look at one type of character that many of us will recognise – “the watch expert.” This blog will look at three different variations of “expert” that one will typically meet…..
Just for the record….”All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.”
Well, that’s the legal covered!
One of the things that puts so many people off collecting vintage watches is that the homework required can be considerable. Some people love this homework. Others just don’t. However, those in this latter camp may still find themselves heavily attracted to vintage watches and still need to find a way of buying vintage without being taken for a ride. In the course of meeting people, one will come across “the watch expert.”
When considering a vintage watch, taking advice from a genuine expert is invaluable.
The term “expert” covers may different types of individual. I will define just three examples. I will start with the “genuine expert.” I have some friends who I would class as genuine watch experts. “Blomman.” He searches for the truth behind a watch. He wants, genuinely, to know how original a watch is and he wants to be accurately informed about a watch so that he knows and understands a watch. If i wanted to be informed accurately about Jaeger LeCoultre, there is only one place I would go – Blomman. “Crown Comfort” is another individual who I would classify in the same bracket. A true student of watch knowledge with a long-term desire to educate himself about the watches he focuses upon. If I wanted to know anything about Girard Perregaux, I know who I would use. I know that if I ask either of these true experts a question, I can expect a full and honest answer.
Within Patek Philippe, a number of others also come to my mind when I think of genuine experts. “Watchguydotcom”. “Patekova”. “Miranda”. I know quite a few more. All of them are what I would consider humble yet experienced experts in their fields. If they don’t know the answer, they will do the research and find out. There is essentially no ulterior motive to their answers. Such guys are rare and they are what I call “genuine experts”. I think it is also true that none of them go around shouting or boasting about their expertise. That is another key sign of the genuine article. “Genuine experts” are invaluable. Seek out their opinions and views. Even for experienced collectors, the opinions of such “genuine experts” are priceless. Honesty. Humility. Integrity. And knowledge. Yes, along the collecting path one will meet such people.
Unfortunately, such people are rare. The second type of watch expert is one I will label the “half-baked expert”. They have a certain amount of knowledge but it is usually only enough to achieve a certain aim – profit. Ultimately, their aim is to somehow lead you to buy (or indeed sell) something that ends up putting money in their pocket. For example, I know one collector who will regularly use their watch forum position in order to show/advertise watches that are for sale with their dealer friends. There is nothing illegal here, but it is relatively unscrupulous.
Such half-baked experts appear, superficially, to give you their time and expertise. But ultimately, the aim is to somehow benefit themselves. In the end, collectors realise the game and these half-baked experts move on to new victims. It is often difficult to spot the “half-baked expert” as they appear so friendly and helpful. Yet, these so-called experts can turn on a dime. Like the French expression – “l’heure entre chien et loup”, there comes a moment when genuine collectors see through the “half-baked expert” and show him for what he is. The half-baked expert is dangerous. He costs genuine collectors a lot of money. Avoid them.
The third type of watch expert is one that is perhaps the most obvious to spot – I will call him the “ego expert”. For a start, they will often be very overt in referring to themselves as as an expert. Genuine experts never need to do this.
Quite often, they will make stupid claims as to how long they have been collecting watches – as if that makes them qualified to dictate opinion. Spending a long time doing something does not qualify anyone as an expert! These “ego experts” spend a great deal of time boasting about their watches and their expertise. A lot of the time, they don’t actually own that many watches at all. They will also be highly critical of watches that they do not own. Differentiating between fact and opinion is something these “ego experts” just cannot understand.
Oh yes, there is another very easy way to spot this type of “expert.” Typically, they will pretend to own a lot of Patek Philippe watches. They will post plenty of pictures of their collection on Instagram. Maybe, they may once have owned the watches that they post, but they now own hardly any as they will have been sold. Yet they will create an illusion that they still own plenty. It is a sham.
These type of “ego experts” are actually not doing it to make money but rather to boost their fragile egos. These type of collectors need to be seen “looking” like they are successful. I can certainly think of a Patek collector or two who do this. Pictures taken next to flashy red cars and swimming pools all aimed to create an image. They tend to like watches that would look good on a second hand car salesman. They like bling. They like show. Often tasteless without realising it. And they are usually not the smartest cookie. Avoid them as their opinion is worthless and misleading.
Are there other types of experts out there? For sure. Many good and helpful. Many with best intentions. My advice is find the “true expert”. Avoid the “half-baked expert”. And laugh at the “ego expert.”