w&w Round-Table #16: What Watch Do You Most Regret Selling?

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Flipping a watch is a fundamental right of passage for a WIS. Buying and selling is integral to watch collecting–tastes change, grails materialize, and sometimes life simply takes priority over this great, but expensive, passion of ours.

Whatever the reason, there comes a time in every watch lover’s journey when he or she comes to regret the flip. Maybe the departed watch was rare, or maybe it had some sort of sentimental value attached to it. Or maybe what replaced it was ill-advised, and eventually had to go, too.  Whatever the reason, regret can be part and parcel of watch collecting, and so this week we ask our team, “What watch do you most regret selling?”

We’ve all got stories to share, and we’d love to hear yours below.

James Enloe

The answer to this question can frequently change, depending on which way my buying habits are leaning. After 16 years of buying and selling watches in the sub-$1000 price range, I have quite a long list of those dearly departed. When I really consider the question, however, I find myself missing one particular watch more than others: the Omega Speedmaster Day-Date, ref. 3820.53.26.

OmegaSpeedmaster3820.53.26It was a little rough around the edges (a couple dings on the bezel) and it could have used a new crystal (the AR coating was fading), but it was an unexpected eBay find at $440, and I just couldn’t pass it up at that price. It was an incredibly solid watch, and one of the quirkier members of the Speedmaster family. Thinking back now (it’s been gone since 2009) I couldn’t tell you why I sold it, but I honestly wish I hadn’t. Mostly likely whatever I bought in its stead is also now gone, so that certainly doesn’t help with the regret. But if I have the funds again one day and I come across the right one, I would love to get another example in my possession.

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Mark McArthur-Christie

It was December 1986.  I was at university and broke. Not just ‘short of the price of a pint’ broke, but properly, stony, flat broke. With overdue rent to pay, something had to go. So I sold my Omega Chronostop. It’s possibly Omega’s most pointless model; the stop-second chronograph runs for a single minute and resets as soon as you release the start/stop button.

OmegaChronostop
via Analog/Shift

Chronostops aren’t rare, but this one was irreplaceable. It had been my father’s. Possibly the only kind thing he’d ever done was give me his watch when I was 15 and critically ill in hospital.

I sold it to an antique watch dealer in Bath and walked away with a fuller wallet and an emptier heart. I’ve bought another identical Chronostop since. It’s there to remind me never to be so stupid again.

Jon Gaffney

The watch I most regret selling is my Seiko 6105-8000–one of the brand’s early dive watches. It’s the watch that Captain Willard should have actually worn in Apocalypse Now given the time period, but I digress. I loved the look and feel of this watch, but an opportunity to set it free in pursuit of a grail felt like the right choice at the time. Though I regret flipping it, I am very happy with what it eventually replaced, so it was ultimately the right call. Nevertheless, I miss the clear simplicity of the design and the history it carried with it. Hopefully some day I’ll get another example. Such is the path a watch collector must walk.

Seiko6105-8000
via klocksnack.se

Christoph McNeill

Since I’ve sold lots of watches over the years, there have been many opportunities for seller’s regret. That said, I haven’t regretted many sales. I mostly sell to fund another purchase, so the incoming usually offsets the outgoing. But along the way there have been a few that, in retrospect, I probably should have kept. The first that comes to mind is a 1960s Zodiac SeaWolf with a black no-date dial and a beautiful acrylic bezel, on the correct JB Champion bracelet. I love divers with acrylic (often confused with Bakelite) bezel inserts, and this one was a real beauty–absolutely mint. I sold it because I already owned an earlier model with a metal bezel/insert, and I figured I could live with just the one. And I did, albeit with some regret.

ZodiacSeaWolf

Ilya Ryvin

I’ve sold a decent number of watches since I began collecting, though none of them have been rare or irreplaceable. That said, I do regret flipping one–a Seiko 6309. We’ve written about the 6309 before, as well as the SRP77x series, the 6309’s spiritual successor. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of handling a 6309, then you know just how great of a watch it is. Alas, an opportunity for a trade materialized that I could not say no to, and so away went my 6309. I’m happy with what I received in the exchange, though I do miss wearing the 6309.

seiko_6309_dial3If I wanted to, I could likely satisfy my 6309 itch with one of the reissues. But the 6309 I sold was somewhat special. It was largely intact, with the only after market part being a beautiful domed sapphire crystal with internal AR. It gave the watch a great profile, and it made the dial supremely legible. Unfortunately, a lot of the 6309s I see on the market today have been too tampered with, and it seems that most collectors are hanging on to the more pristine examples. Maybe one day I’ll find the right one.

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Li Wang

I’ve gone through most of the Seiko dive watch lineup in one form or another, but the one I miss the most is the SBBN015 quartz “Tuna.” Fortunately they are easy to pick up used and the new models, in spite of the new crown etching and hand style, still maintain the charm of the classic.

SeikoSBBN015
via uhrforum.de

The SBBN015 is one of those watches that doesn’t really make sense. At 49mm, it’s a big watch, and it’s quartz, which is a no-no for some, but there is no other watch out there that looks like a Tuna. It basically screams Seiko, and it’s just so unique looking and strange that you can’t help but warm up to it. I prefer the basic models, rather than the Spring Drive or automatic 8L35 versions, as the simplicity and relative affordability of the 300m-rated quartz models (on rubber or nylon) make them more desirable for my ownership terms. Plus, I absolutely love the kanji day option.

Zach Weiss

I’ve flipped quite a few pieces in the last couple of years, but only one haunts me in the dark watches of the night: the Mühle Glashütte SAR. A strange beast I reviewed a couple of years ago, it’s really unlike any other watch. Weird, unique and oddly charming, it’s not sexy, per say, but it is an awesome piece. Featuring a bold and purposeful dial, an odd hooded lug case with a rubber bumper bezel (yes, really), an internal cylcops, killer lume, and the build quality of a bunker, the SAR is the kind of watch you could wear with no fear of damaging, in any environment, day or night.

MUHLE_SAR_RESCUETIMER_DIMODELL_2Alas, in a period of feverish buying, flipping and selling, I deemed that I could live without it. Being that they are still made, should I want to get another one in the future, they’ll be around, but I didn’t account for how much I’d miss it.

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