Taming the "Formula" for Watch Collecting | Feldmar
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The Formula

Unless you are a “one watch man” like King Harald of Norway, legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus, or award-winning actor Tom Selleck, most watch aficionados are ruled by the “formula.”

For watch collectors, the “formula” calculates the upper limit of the number of watches a person is permitted to have in his watch collection at any one time. This upper limit number is expressed by the following formula:

n + 1 = the allowable number of watches in your collection (n being defined as the current number of watches in your collection)

As a dedicated watch enthusiast, I readily admit to be ruled by the “formula,” and I know that many other collectors are bedeviled by it, as well. The challenge for collectors and other watch lovers is how to tame the “formula” so that one doesn’t need to hire a bankruptcy attorney.

For many of us, the fun and challenge of acquiring a new watch is the hunt. First, deciding what watch we really “need,” then further research and investigations and finally the acquisition. Sometimes the hunt is short; sometimes it spans years.

For me, the solution for taming the formula is to find several price-friendly genres of watches that require research, learning and exploration. If you don’t develop an interest in a particular price-friendly genre of watches to keep you busy between your “big” purchases, you will probably fall victim to purchasing way too many “in-between” watches. An in-between watch is a watch that is not quite what you are really aiming for but costs less money, and you believe it will scratch that itch. The problem with in-between watches is that they have their own special formula. Before you know it, you have spent money on several in-between watches and realize that if you had just tamed the reality of n+1, you would already possess the watch you really dreamed about and wanted.

For those of you who think you can defy the formula, Jeff Kinston, an esteemed collector and watch authority, probably said it best when he noted that there is an interesting dimension to watch collecting: “The human mind can always come up with an excuse for another watch.” In accepting this bit of wisdom, one must create a niche to focus on and use to assuage the constant desire to hunt for and obtain that next horological prize. The trick is to find a particular manufacturer or type of watch that allows you to rationalize why you need something new so you can proceed with the fun of buying it.

For many of us who have been in the collecting game for a long time, we all remember those reflective moments when we say, “What in the world was I thinking? Was I really that stupid?” It happens. For me, the solution is to always have two hunts in progress: the bigger, more expensive hunt, and the easier, more practical hunt that can be accomplished with little risk, a small dent to the pocketbook and very little chance for long-term regrets. The small hunt provides ample opportunity to have fun, keep busy and ease the ever-present desire to finish the big hunt.

For me, one of the watch brands that fills my days with research, analysis and acquisitions is the Casio G-Shock line. The G-Shock line offers endless possibilities and is one my all-time favorites. If you immerse yourself in the engineering details, the depth of research required to pick a particular model to accomplish your special needs can be quite complex. Many of my best hunts are for family and friends, who always seem delighted with a watch carefully selected for their personality and color preference.

The Rangeman series, which has been a big hit with G-Shock fans, is a prime example of Casio’s deep commitment to advanced engineering. Making the Rangeman series even more fun is Casio’s Love the Sea and The Earth limited editions that add color and pizazz to the collecting landscape. A few examples of some of my favorites in this series are pictured below.

1 G-Shock-Love-The-Sea-And-The-Earth-2015-Rangeman-GW-9401KJ-3JR-1 (green)
G-Shock Love The Sea And The Earth 2015 Rangeman

 

2 Rangeman GW-9402KJ-2JR Earthwatch Limited Edition (baby blue)
Rangeman GW-9402KJ-2JR Earthwatch Limited Edition

 

3 Rangeman GW-9402KJ-2JR Earthwatch Limited Edition (baby blue) (band colors) copy
Rangeman GW-9402KJ-2JR Earthwatch Limited Edition

 

Whatever color you might imagine, there is always a Casio G-Shock to fill your desire.

 

4 G-Shock Rangeman GW-9403KJ-9JR Jelly Yellow Bezel
G-Shock Rangeman GW-9403KJ-9JR

 

Each year Casio introduces new Love the Sea and The Earth models, which refreshes the hunting landscape. One colorful G-Shock model that masters the moon and the tides is pictured below. Adding to the fun is that many exciting and colorful models remain available long after their official introduction. The Casio G-Lide Limited 25th Anniversary GWX-8903K-7JR Love The Sea And The Earth 2016, pictured below, comes with tough solar charging and multiband atomic time setting and is still generally available.

 

5 GWX-8903K-7JR Dolphin Whale ICERC Limited
GWX-8903K-7JR Dolphin Whale ICERC Limited

 

Keeping track of the ocean tides is no easy feat, and in recent years Casio gave their tide watches the ability to easily adjust and synchronize the readings for your local tide conditions. Each year, I take great delight in being able to use my G-Shock tide watches to stake our family gathering in just the right location at the Jersey Shore to avoid being overrun by the rising tide. The G-Shock tide watches even calculate the height of high and low tide. Despite this marvelous technology, there is always that one rogue wave that causes the family to make a mad scramble to avoid disaster. Science will only take you so far.

Mastering the Rangeman’s complications is challenging to say the least. One series of YouTube videos on the Rangeman comes in two parts, spanning more than one hour of instructions and helpful tips. Notable is the feature that allows you to customize your location by latitude and longitude to provide accurate, to-the-minute information on the sunrise and sunset. G-Shocks are certainly not mechanical horology. Nonetheless, they represent electronic horology at its best.

The G-Shock Frogman series, which feature moon phase and tide complications, are very distinctive in looks, and the many models provide endless collecting challenges and great hunting for rewarding fun. Best of all, even the pricier models do not break the bank.

6 Casio Frogman GF-8250ER-2JF Men in Military Colors 2
Casio Frogman GF-8250ER-2JF Men in Military Colors

 

7 Casio Frogman GF-8250ER-2JF Men in Military Colors
Casio Frogman GF-8250ER-2JF Men in Military Colors

 

8 Casio G-Shock MEN IN NAVY Frogman GWF-1000NV-2JF
Casio G-Shock MEN IN NAVY Frogman GWF-1000NV-2JF

 

9 Casio G-Shock MEN IN NAVY Frogman GWF-1000NV-2JF (close up)
Casio G-Shock MEN IN NAVY Frogman GWF-1000NV-2JF

 

Back Frogman GWF-1000NV-2JF

 

Casio never lets you get bored. Recently, they added a temperature sensor, compass and depth gauge to their Frogman series, providing even more complexity and intrigue to this classic series. It’s a monster, but the big display and temperature sensor add great functionally for those ocean activities.

11 Frogman GWF-D1000B-1JF Depth Meter
Frogman GWF-D1000B-1JF Depth Meter

 

The older style Riseman—Men in Smoky Gray, pictured below—required diligent tracking and one of my longest hunts. The Riseman is, for the most part, a discontinued model and has been overtaken by many of the three sensor G-Shock lines. Nonetheless, its altitude tracking features are still unique and quite complex for those of us nerds that care about such things.

12 GW-9200GYJ-1JF Riseman - Men In Smoky Gray
GW-9200GYJ-1JF Riseman Men In Smoky Gray

 

In closing the discussion on Casio G-Shocks, a few pictures of one of my favorite highly colorful, old-style Mudman watches should suffice.

13 G-Shock GW-9301K-6JR Mudman Earthwatch 2013
G-Shock GW-9301K-6JR Mudman Earthwatch 2013
14 G-Shock GW-9301K-6JR Mudman Earthwatch 2013 (side view0
G-Shock GW-9301K-6JR Mudman Earthwatch 2013
15 Mudman - Love The Sea and The Earth GW-9301k [Back view]
Mudman – Love The Sea and The Earth GW-9301k

One of my best hunts was a search for something entirely different: a vintage circa 1966 Accutron Spaceview watch, a watch I always wished I could buy as a young man. Learning about the history of Accutron watches and their innovative, electromechanical movement took a very long time. All told, the research and long hunt eventually spanned more than two years.

The story of how the original Spaceview models came to be available to the ordinary customer is fascinating. Despite Accutron’s unique approach to accuracy, they didn’t achieve cult status until the law of unintended consequences was applied.

Accutron’s usual line up sported unassuming gold dials. In an attempt to show their customers the modern science behind Accutron’s amazing accuracy, the company made display models with the dials removed, allowing people to view the watch’s unique electronic parts, including the signature tuning fork. Customers who thought the display model was a regularly offered model asked to buy the watch in the window. In many instances, the dealer accommodated the customer and sold the display model. Bulova got smart quickly, and very soon the Spaceview model was offered for sale to customers as a regular production model. Thereafter, many, many Spaceview models were born, creating a rich landscape for collectors and aficionados. Best of all, my fully restored and excellent condition Spaceview watch was very affordable.

16 Accutron Spaceview
Accutron Spaceview

 

So there you have it—my solution for taming the “formula.” There is no single correct way, so be creative, find your own solution, and happy hunting.

About The Author: John Graham

John Graham is a refugee from New Jersey, having transplanted himself in Southern California in 1973. Married for 46 years, with two married sons and a granddaughter, life in Southern California is always fast moving–except when commuting on the 405 Freeway. As a person who admittedly has too many hobbies, John counts watch collecting as one of his favorites.  GMT complications are always a must. Other hobbies include landscape photography and travel, and cycling has always been his favorite sport.

Read more from John Graham

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