Friday, August 10, 2018

An investment portfolio that doesn't cost a thing

Yes, there is a such a thing as free money. But wait - this is not really just about making money out of thin air, the deal is far more rewarding than money itself.
You see, a number of watch enthusiasts constantly complain how watch prices have reached crazy levels where 'all the good stuff is now beyond the reach of small or young collectors". I do agree, of course.  However, watch collecting is much more and far beyond just piling up watches. It still is, as it always was, about knowledge and sophistication. The mere act of collecting, cataloguing, researching, documenting, trading, swapping and preserving is much more important, and much more rewarding, than ownership itself.

To the point: if you have no means to invest in watches then do the second best thing: start collecting watch catalogues! Yearly catalogues are highly collectable and some of them sell for anything from $10 to many thousands.  And here is the good news: they are available from authorised dealers for free!

Of course, the older rarer the catalogue, the more money it will fetch on the collectors’ market.  And, no, you cannot travel back in time. But you can start now and in 10 short years you will amass an amazing collection which will be worth more than a Rolex watch.

Watch catalogues are a priceless source of accurate information and an invaluable tool to a smart, dedicated researcher. Surely, you have to be smart about getting them from watch dealers. Catalogues are intended for buyers, not tyre kickers, so here are a few tips which would not only help you get your hands on one, but secure an endless supply in years to come:

- Be honest. Nothing beats honesty so don’t pretend you are in store to buy a watch. Just tell the truth, ask politely and if rejected say “thank you, that’s fine”.

- Don’t waste  their time! If the shop is full of customers, don’t even try.  Rather, visit some other time.

- If the dealer senses that you are not a potential customer, he will want you out as soon as possible. And if that costs him a catalogue, it’s a small price to pay. But don’t ever try to be intimidating to a dealer or take advantage of his generosity.

- Smile, smile, smile! Say “thank you” at least a few times. If in doubt, be as polite as a Japanese geisha. It works!

- Don’t be too picky; take any catalogue, even if it is a duplicate.

- One catalogue only per visit, but do take as many as you can, if offered!

- Develop a relationship with sales personnel; know them by name.

- Once a personal relationship is established, have a 'thank you' present ready. A simple card or a pen is always appreciated.

- Show genuine interest in the brand "that new Basel xyz piece is so xyz". But that is enough of chat - unless the salesman is in a chatty mood. Even then, leave fast.

- Authorised dealers understand the power of social media . Being a watch blogger would open doors !

- Appearance is everything! Suit and tie are an absolute MUST.  Actually, unless you are impeccably presented you won’t even pass the security door.

- Here is my platinum tip:  once you get your first free catalogue, leave 5 star Google feedback for the store service. Mention it casually after you receive your second catalogue. From then on, assuming you continue to nourish that relationship in a genuine way, your supply of catalogues would be a mutually joyful transaction

- A couple visits per brand/store yearly is considered polite, beyond that: absolutely rude.

- Start low, with realistic expectations. The best stuff - like Patek, AP and Lange - are reserved for the best in the game. It will happen!
Happy Collecting!

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