With the holidays right around the corner I thought it was a good time to talk about the things a watch collector like myself would want as a gift for the holidays. Just to be clear I’m not going to talk about all the watches I want, but all the accessories and other things that make watch collecting much more fun.
Watch collecting does not require a ton of “accessories” but there are a few things that are required or at least helpful. The basics include a watch case, watch storage, some basic watch tools and accessories.
The first and most important item would be a watch box. I start and end my day with my watch box, so it a pretty big deal. Watch boxes come in several sizes typically holding from 5-6 (small), to 10-12 (medium), to 20-24 (large). I currently have three cases a 10-slot, 12-slot and 24-slot, each with its own set of watches. Currently they are broken down with my brass watches in one, my dress watches in another and my daily go-to’s in the big box.
The 24-slot box is my favorite with high quality pillows for the watches, good sized spaces so the larger watches fit without issues (even though it is a little tight on the bottom drawer for really thick watches.) Currently its $84.00 on Amazon, here.
When ordering a watch box, you want to make sure the slots are sized right for the collection, especially if the collection focuses on larger watches in the 45mm wide and bigger sizes. I got my 12-slot box especially for some of my larger watches, fits 45-47mm wide watches well, anything bigger than that and it gets tight. It’s a great box for the price being $16.99 on Amazon with prime shipping, here.
Currently one of the best sellers on Amazon is Readaeer’s line of watch boxes, starting at 6-slots and going up to 12-slots with storage for jewelry in a drawer at the bottom.
Another watch case to consider is a travel case. I have a few and the sturdiest by far is the Diplomat “Black Leather” that holds 3 watches. It’s a great tuff case, with one down side, it’s kind of on the heavy side, which isn’t great for traveling. I have several other single or double cases that I received with watches, one of my favorites is the case that came with my Visitor watch, its great for weekend trips or as a back up when I need to bring an extra watch and some bands along.
With a collection as large as mine (65+) I always have some watches in storage that are not in the cases (approximately 20 in storage at any given time.) The unlucky few are in storage anywhere from a few days to several months depending on my rotation and needs. The key is having them accessible but secure and safe. It also depends on how many watches you need to store, if its only a few you can keep them in the cases, if it’s a bunch another solution is necessary. My favorite is the Cosmos Black PU Leather Travel Storage Roll Bag. Have two of the leather ones and one of the velvet bags. DO NOT get the velvet bag, its cheap and does not protect as well as the leather roll. They have a new roll case made of neoprene that I would like to check out.
Anther option depending on your storage is just picking up some watch pillows. I have BCP’s Linen watch pillows in a small tray in drawer that is great for keeping a few watches that I’m working on or that are on standby. Also, my son has taken over a couple for his personal watch collection (eg: the ones he’s commandeered from me.)
A lot of watches come with a basic tool for removing the band. But if you or your partner have a larger collection you probably will want to upgrade to more robust set of tools for working on them. A basic set should include a link remover for metal bands, a watch back remover for screw down backs and pry off backs, and a set of jeweler’s screw drivers. If you’re just starting out a combo set is more than adequate but specific high-quality tools are helpful if you’re dealing with a lot of watches. The EZTool watch repair kit was most everything you would need except for a small pair of needle nose plyers. Its pretty good deal on amazon for $18.87, here.
Watch accessories include everything from extra spring bars (the little bars that hold on the watches band) to extra straps/bands, clasps, batteries and a storage system for all the extra stuff. One of my favorite parts of watch collecting is changing the straps on my watches, a new strap can give a old watch an whole new life. I have literally hundreds of strap/bands for my watches and regularly go through my collection, move watches between cases, change the bands and basically rebuild my collection to whatever my current whims are. Watch bands come in all kinds of sizes but the basic sizes for mens watches are 20mm, 22mm and 24mm. Its great way to give the watch collector in your life a new perspective on his watches. Amazon has a great collection of bands check out, here. A couple of my favorite watch band sites are StrapCo and Crown and Buckle, both with good service, descent collections and at respectable prices. Another off shoot of straps is changing clasps/buckles, if the clap matches the watch it makes for a more cohesive package.
Something that took me a long time to figure out was a place to store all the bands, buckles, tools, pieces and parts for my watches. I used to just throw them all in a drawer, but things quickly got out of hand. I finally found a tool box on amazon that works great for all the little stuff. The Flambeau Tackle box is the perfect size for all my watch paraphernalia. It’s cheap at $4.50, effective and keeps everything where I can find it. The best part is my step father gave me an old leather suitcase that fits four of them as if it was made for it, it’s the perfect solution for our RV life style. Add in my wife’s label maker and all my bands are organized by size and type, so I don’t have to go hunting around looking for anything. My only issue now is that it’s getting full, maybe its time to go and troll the local Salvation Army for a larger old leather case that can hold 6 of the tackle boxes!
Happy Holidays and Keep Watching!