Best you can afford or Best bang for buck?

I read, hear, and watch a lot of watch commentary and I find it often 'jars' in that the presenter/commentator just looks at watches in a completely different way to me. One of the most common of these bifurcations of view is around buying the best you can afford vs bang for buck. In a best-I-can-afford model you start with a budget - say 5K and then find the watch you want the most for that 5k, all that matters is that its the watch you love the most (for whatever reasons), and its under budget - the price doesn't factor into how much you love it, its a simple ceiling. Sure, you can get more watch (or as much watch) for less but big deal, you can afford it, it's the ONE you want, buy it. In a bang-for-buck model, you may have a budget but you really start with a bunch of requirements, and its all about meeting those requirements and liking the watch enough for the least money. So for our 5k budget, you might "love" an Omega 300M but it is right on your 5k budget and you really like (but don't love) a Tudor BB (for example - please dont feel the need to tell me how much you love your Tudors - I had to pick something) BUT its a full 1k cheaper and is the difference between really like and love worth 1K? So you go with the Tudor. Im a 'best you can afford' guy - so when I see people say 'hey I love that watch but I can get X for less' when X clearly wasnt their first choice Im left scratching my head. However I accept that a lot of bang-for-buck guys see my Breitlings with their sellita based movements costing omega/tudor money and are equally mystified. Now, none of us are ever one thing or the other, rather a bit of a blend and our position shifts with how big the difference is between love or really like and 5% or 50% price differences but the polls here dont really support nuanced distinctions so I'll make it a stark, binary choice; What is your predominant purchasing strategy?
297 votes

C. Both.

First watch waaaay back in '07, Orient Mako Gen I. Budget was under $150, but I liked the style of the SKX, which was running around $200 at the time. So it was the best I could afford AND it was bang for buck.

It's now been on 4 continents, disposed of more ordnance than an episode of Danger UXB, and BIP'd more IEDs than COD4 combined. 馃憖馃槤馃馃徎 HAHAHAHAHAHA 馃ぃ


Or take my '17 Helm Vanuatu.* With available funds, heard about these "microbrands" reading up on watches late one evening after (pre)marriage counseling and jumped in with both feet. It fit the budget AND was the best tool I could afford.


*After getting refused yet again after a deployment at an AD, I went out and bought a killer engagement ring/custom set diamond, a sweet honeymoon in SF/Lake Tahoe, and various sound mitigation devices, some IWI goodness, some hand cannons, a Jeep, a motorcycle, and a fixie bike. (Just sayin..... that AD missed out on a lifelong buyer, and this was in '16/'17 long before the so-called spikes. So, the current trends of AD games isn't new to some)


I think most people鈥檚 answer is going to be 鈥渂oth.鈥

If you're chasing bang for buck, chances are you won't be buying what you really want. There'll be a short cut somewhere on some aspect of the watch and while you'll get 'bang for buck' you generally won't get the right colour, or case, or movement, or hands, or texture, or something that you'd prefer. There's usually trade-off somewhere to get it.

The one I like.

I have a foolproof strategy. I start with $0 so all watches are equally unobtainable, and then balance how long I am prepared to wait and save for my next hit....

I'm more likely to get a bang-for-buck watch when I'm shopping in the lower price ranges. Example... My Steeldive SD1970 was C$90 on sale from Ali X. Did I really want to have a name brand Seiko turtle instead? Sure... It's Seiko's design and it has a Seiko badge etc... But, the SD has the same Seiko movement, better crystal, equivalent bracelet, and was 1/5th the cost. In this case it was more about trying a turtle-style watch than having an actual turtle.

There are some higher-end watches I'd like to get. I won't be picking a Pagani design as a bang-for-buck replacement for a Seamaster, if you know what I mean. I want the heritage and warranty and the knowledge I saved for something I 'really' wanted.

Most people live in a world where a $5K watch is well out of reach, so I think we are starting from a badly skewed perspective.

I just had a chat with a new watch guy who thought a $300 CAD Seiko was a huge investment.

I didn't realize this when I opened with a compliment for his Casio A158, and a self depreciating comoment about my $1200 CAD Christopher Ward.... Now I'm the asshole for making a $1200 CAD watch seem like a "nothing".

All this to say, all of us are out to lunch, and need to keep this in mind.

Best for money, all day.

I have a general ceiling for what I will pay for a watch. I can certainly afford more, but over a certain price point there start to be things I would enjoy more than any watch.

For example, I would love to own a reduced Omega Speedmaster. I could handily buy one today. But I won't because it costs more than any watch is worth to me.

To wit, I'm a musician. Once the price of a watch goes over $1000 dollars, we're talking guitar money. We're talking synthesizer money. We're talking groove boxes and drum machines. And I get more pleasure from music than watches.

I also ride motorcycles and other motorbikes. Once the price goes over $3k, that's small-displacement dirt bike and street bike territory. That's the bad-ass e-bike for exploring single track realm. That's souped up, kitted and out e-moped for bombing around town kind of cash. And I enjoy motorbikes more than I enjoy watches.

I also love to travel. Very quickly, a watch could be an amazing vacation instead. I enjoy traveling more than I enjoy watches.

At a certain point a watch is as good as you could ever need it to be. And that point is honestly around or under $100. After that, it's just adding costly materials, extra features or complications, labor-intensive processes, and the almighty brand name to justify the price.

I like watches a lot. But they're not my primary interest or the hobby that means the most to me. So there's a tipping point where the price of a watch can outstrip my interest in watches.

I tend to start with the watch, that said my budget is obviously a factor in that choice.

Then I hit the brick and mortar stores and it all goes to shit! - most times I do the rounds I end up being really impressed with something I've not previously considered.

Then I wait and let the watch come to me in terms of what I'm still thinking about in the days after I've left the AD / boutique, I might need to save some money or I might not be ready to buy. It's normally ~ 3 months between decision and purchase for me 鈥 gotta make sure it's love not lust.

Then I wait for a deal, and there always seems to be one if you're patient.

Buying at the right price is really important I reckon, if you have $10 - $20K tied up in your watch box it makes sense to keep it 'liquid' if possible.