Watch Etiquette - Is there such a thing?  3 Comments


I certainly hope so. This question has been with me for sometime and I was reminded of it again recently. It was a question that had been put to me many times and this time from a watch industry professional. It is very difficult to reply regardless whether one intends to tell the truth or to lie - for both will have negative consequences.

So what is that question? It is simply -- "How many watches do you own?" For all intents and purposes, especially for some this question is as polite as asking, "How much do you earn?" It is probably an innocent enough question for the uninitiated. But for the collector it can be embarrassing number (either too many or  too few - because there is no such thing as just the right number).

For me personally, unfortunately - there is no number that would not be embarrassing. There were times when I decided to be honest, I got responses of incredulity that I was giving an unbelievably small number and others that I was out of control and have too many to be rational. Worse still, the two dreaded follow on questions - "What are your watches you own" and "How much are they worth?"

In aid of good social graces and for proper conduct of conversation with watch collectors, non collectors please be aware of the boundaries and realise such questions put collectors into a difficult position. Avoid the faux pas of asking such questions if you do not intend to put your foot in it. Unless of course that is your intent.

For the collectors, here is my suggestion which I shall share - learnt from years of having been asked this and similar questions. Simply reply with a polite smile and say, "I hope you will not be offended if I did not answer that question." or if the moment and questioner warrants it, "Even my wife does not know, why should you?" Hopefully, that should give you enough pause to make a quick exit - or change the subject.

- HT



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  • This is a personal blog of Harry SK Tan on all things pertaining to Horology - from watch collecting, horolography, news and developments from all over the world particularly Singapore.
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