Green Rambles: If You Don’t Have to Look Twice, You Bought the Wrong Watch

This article is from the WatchTime Archives and was originally published 2022.

Among car enthusiasts, a familiar saying is that if you don’t look back at your car after you parked it, you bought the wrong one. Although slightly different, I feel that the same thing goes for watches. Here, I would say that if you have to look twice to tell the time, you bought the right one. It is a common joke for my girlfriend to ask me the time when she sees me checking my watch. More often than not, I have to look again, as I was admiring everything except the exact position of the hands.

Realizing that the right watches leave you enamored can also lead to some confronting conclusions. Many years ago, I bought an Omega Speedmaster Professional. An impressive watch by all means, and I was very excited to get it. Unfortunately, when on the wrist, there was no magic. When I checked to see the time, that was exactly what I did and nothing more. This doesn’t say anything about the Speedmaster, but more about me, and that this Omega simply wasn’t my watch. Through this experience, I learned that I am more of a Seamaster and Constellation kind of guy, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Antonio Jaramillo watch collection

I even made a deal with myself that whenever I don’t have the look twice experience with a watch in my collection, it has to go. This is quite a thing, as some watches I have admired for years, are considered icons or took a long time to get, only get to enjoy a short stay with me. Despite all this, and while they are great watches in their own right, when they are not great watches on my wrist, it was simply not meant to be. The upside is that you get a collection that makes you smile and where the watches also get worn. The downside is that you might have to look twice at them to know the time.

Which watch makes you have to look twice? Tell us in the comments!

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  1. Ian Salmon

    I to have looked at my watch and did not notice the time. Sometimes you just want to admire it. The sign of a watch ment for you.

  2. Humberto Pacheco

    You pinned it deadcenter. I do the same with my collection, even with the lesser models.

  3. Why twice? with most of my watches – I gaze at them so many times per day that in meetings I had to explain that i am a watch collector to not be considered rude and short tempered :-)

  4. James A Hineline

    I too wasn’t impressed by the Omega Speedmaster, Did nothing for me, So, I bought a Breitling Navitimer 46mm I have worn the watch just about everyday Can’t stop looking at it.

  5. Bela S.

    Thank you so much (I just read y. article now). Now I know better why I kept them. The watches I have I’m looking at them still after years more than once. I don’t make selfies but I make fotos “hands on” like other selfies. The problem: if I take your point as a decisive rule, I can’t sell currently any of them. Maybe one which was my first watch being the begin of my watch infection.

  6. Joe Grubenhoff

    What a great perspective. It certainly resonates. After 11 years, my first mechanical watch – a Mido Multifort Chrono with white côtes de Gèneve dial and snailed grey chrono registers – still grabs my attention multiple times before the time registers.

  7. Gerry Dimatos

    I’ve had 3 Speedmasters believing each one was better than the last.. In the end I suffered the same problem – I parted with them cause the watch had no magic……
    The last Speedy was the new Sapphire Sandwich with new movement. Although vastly improved from its predecessors I just couldn’t love it. Instead traded it and bought a Rolex Datejust on Jubikee with mint green dial…. I keep staring at it all day and it feels special…

  8. Brian Pritchard

    I used to be a Grail follower and owner. Rolex Patek AP. No longer now only unusual watches usually vintage, especially early melody LCD watches. Ah but for second glance watches just the one name. The Watch Makers Watchmaker Jaeger LeCoultre you just can’t help but look several times before you even read the time, especially on a Reverso

  9. Nick CH

    Disagree – a watch is a tool to tell the time: if I have to look twice at it, it’s probably not doing its job properly – and that tends to be the case with many high-end watches these days.

    Time to look twice, three times etc is (a) BEFORE you buy it, and (b) when you put it on in the morning, and (c) when you take it off at night.

  10. E. Low

    “If You Don’t Have to Look Twice, You Bought the Wrong Watch” – A great title, Martin. Somewhat painful but true. In a collection, there are those few pieces that one would tend to spend just a little bit more time looking at than the others each time you pick them up. Never mind whether you will put them on the wrist right after that or not. How bizarre (and dangerous) an affair watch collection is….

  11. Mario da Silva

    I read your comment with interest and it really made me think about my own small collection. I haven’t looked back at most of then in some years, except for a couple, which are my Omega Constellation Perpetuay1l, a Rolex 36mm Explorer 1 and a Raymond Weil Parsifal GMT… thanks for reminding me to “take time to look back”!


    My Fathers Hamilton Barton in 14K on a nice tan Ostrich strap!

  13. Walter Smith

    I agree. I have bought some impulse watches only to regret the purchases. The ones I take a second and third look at are the ones I let simmer before purchasing.
    I often check the time on my Stowa Partitio on a Horween strap.

    • Peter John

      First speedie I had was purchased in the ox on the island of Malta while I was in the U S Navy. Paid $95.00 for it box and papers. I think the US retail on it was $399.00. Unfortunately I sold it about 3-4 years later for $75.00 to purchase a Gruen LCD which was the cool thing f then. Wish I still had it. I now have the newest version with coaxial escapement, as well as a little later version of the original from about 1975. Love them both, but the original version is way more accurate than the coaxial.

  14. Danny Simenauer

    Martin describes the way I feel exactly about watches and this insane hobby. The dial is like a beautiful woman. It grabs your attention and gives you an emotional attachment that never goes away the longer you wear it.

  15. Angie

    My collection must be right on. I still look twice at all of them. First to see the time, second just to admire the details.

  16. John R.

    Sorry the Speedie didnt cut it for you. That is the one of the watches for me that absolutely has me gazing quite often. My pre moon 2998-3 with lolipop chrono hand deserves attention in my view. Thank you for the thought provoking article.

  17. Skidmarks

    Rolex Milgauss… green glass, lightning bold second hand, just so dorky and cool. I find it gets more wrist time the longer I have owned it (Almost 4 years)

  18. George Kages

    Honestly, at this point in my collecting they all do. But some get three or four looks. My Marathon CSAR, just because it’s so utilitarian for the purpose. My Oris Meistertaucher, for the fun of seeing the big red Regulateur minute hand.
    That’s what I keep looking at lately. It won’t be long before others jump in. . .

  19. Tudor_addict

    Black Bay 79220N has me in love still after 6 years

  20. Great point and one I can relate to.

    As a serial swapper (not flipper; I rarely make money from my swaps and don’t buy to sell) I wear a watch for a while and then usually change my mind. My oldest watch was 4 years old and I just swapped it, and I’ve done this about 40 times with watches between £1000 and £10000 in value over the last ~12 years.

    When I look down at a watch, I sometimes just think “Meh” and it’s gone very quickly. Other times, I think “That’s a beautiful watch” and then transcend to “Meh” over a period of days, weeks, months or years.

    The key, for me, is letting them go. It’s fine to try them and let them go! Submariners, Reversos, Speedies, Explorers, Black Bays, Seamasters…they’ve all come and gone.

    You definitely need to have to look twice UNLESS it’s a watch that’s so much a part of you that you barely notice it as being anything than something that BELONGS on your wrist (as a wedding ring might).

  21. thewatchidiot

    What a great idea. I’ll have to see how that works for me. Btw, I’ve had the same experience with the speedmaster. Just not for me!

  22. Anson

    I look twice at grand seiko. First to tell time, second to admire the finish

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