Grail watches, complete collections, exit watches — are these ever actually attained? I attained mine, or I think I did. Aside from still needing to sell off a few unloved pieces languishing in the drawer, with my most recent acquisition, I felt the sweet relief of the watch bug leaving me. “I have the watches I want, and I don’t want more,” I felt. I even pitched an article about it, which you’re reading now. The trouble is, I’ve since seen a watch I want. So the question is: is there a difference between wanting and wanting to own? Furthermore, is a collection considered complete when it’s complete for the time being or complete forever? Because future Thomas is unpredictable and probably irresponsible.

I recently attained my grail watch. A year and a half ago or so, we editors here at Fratello each wrote about our grail watches. Mine was relatively practical if spending any money on watches can be considered so. I picked the Oris Aquis Calibre 400, which was still a fairly fresh release from the brand. Since then, Oris has introduced more than a handful of watches across various lines employing Calibre 400 variants inside. Over the last year, my selection shifted and refined to the Divers Sixty-Five 12H, which I recently purchased (and reviewed). With that, not only did I achieve more than most watch enthusiasts — attaining a grail — but also a complete watch collection.

Grail Watch

Impractical grail watches are no fun

I know, I know. Choosing such a perfectly reasonable grail watch is cheating. But the Oris really was my grail, and it was for good reason. I like dreaming as much as the next person. Do I sometimes daydream about a Patek Calatrava or a Lange Saxonia on my wrist? Absolutely. Do I want the lifestyle and the various commitments necessary to own and keep watches such as those? Eh, I’ll pass. I like visiting art museums, but owning an original Gerhard Richter abstract would stress me out more than it would please me. I like Patek and Lange watches, but I’m perfectly happy knowing that they exist and not owning them.

For me, then, a grail took the form of the best watch suited to my lifestyle, activities, and tastes. And even a reality check such as that didn’t immediately make my grail attainable. It still took work and saving to get to the point of making the purchase. I got to feel all the highs and lows of the chase that anyone chasing more extravagant grails feels, just perhaps more rapidly.

Grail Watch

Grail bought, enlightenment attained

So now I have my grail watch. Has it been replaced with another? Am I now chasing after that next watch? Thankfully, no. Since adding the Oris 12H to my collection, I have felt an incredible sense of peace and wholeness. I have transcended the samsara of watch collecting and now just exist with an abundance of watches, time, and money to spare. I have found enlightenment.

I’m joking, of course, but only just. I really have felt the watch itch subside. My collection is succinct, and it brings me joy. In fact, it’s a little too much and could use some slimming down. Ten watches are too many, at least for me. Six is more my speed, as I explored in an article about collection sizes. I’ll still be playing the game but on the other side, now recouping some of the money I’ve spent over the years as I sell off the excess.

But am I really done?

The itch for more watches, while significantly subdued, has not left me entirely, as I expected. Before calling it quits, I already knew that there will come a time when I get myself a vintage, gold, time-only dress watch. It’s not this year or the next. It may not happen until ten years from now. The watches in my collection reflect where I am in life and are immensely wearable. A dress watch such as what I described just doesn’t have a place in my life right now. But it will one day. Is that a grail? Or is that a goal?

Either way, I’m not counting the eventual addition of a gold dress watch as rendering my collection incomplete in the present. Nothing is perfect, and certainly not indefinitely so. My watch collection is complete now for this stage in my life, however long it lasts. When I’ve changed significantly enough, it’ll be time that my watch collection does too.

Grail Watch

I did not anticipate this watch…

But that’s not the end of the story because, between my pitching this article to Nacho, our managing editor, and it coming time to write, something happened. I saw a watch.

…once I saw it, it was, well, not love at first sight. It felt more like flooring a fast car on a straight stretch of highway.

I see a lot of watches, but I don’t catch feelings for watches easily. For me, it’s a slow build of appreciation coupled with research and lots of playing devil’s advocate. When I’ve exhausted all possible outcomes (and myself), I decide whether to put any given watch on the “want” list or not. That’s not what happened this time.

I was at the Windup Watch Fair in San Francisco a couple of months ago, minding my own business — certainly not shopping for watches. I was checking out booths, meeting with watchmakers and enthusiasts alike. But then I just happened to look down at a small booth of a brand I didn’t know, and there it was — the watch I needed to have.

I had never seen it before, but once I saw it, it was, well, not love at first sight. It felt more like flooring a fast car on a straight stretch of highway. That’s somewhat fitting too, considering the watch is marketed as a racing chronograph of sorts. It’s the sort of watch that has no practical reason to be in my collection, nor can I think up weirdly specific situations in which it would be the ideal watch for me to wear, as I do for my other watches. No, all I knew was that this watch was hot and fast and that I wanted it. The trouble is, I still kind of do too. What watch was it?

The Bravur Grand Tour La Corsa Rosa III ruined my enlightenment

If, while reading the above section, you saw a particular watch in your mind’s eye, good. Bravur’s Grand Tour La Corsa Rosa III won’t do for every watch enthusiast what it did to me, but I’m sure there’s a watch out there that will. This article isn’t about the Grand Tour La Corsa Rosa III, so I won’t get into details about it here. Perhaps one of us at Fratello will do a proper review of it in the near future. It probably won’t be me, though, as I’ll end up keeping it.

But this watch has done a perfect job of rocking my recently attained watch stoicism. I still don’t know what’s going to happen with it. Another watch purchase so soon certainly isn’t in the cards, even with thinking about selling some pieces off. I had just settled into the idea of not purchasing another watch for years. The chaos surrounding wanting a watch so badly that I have no justification for just adds to the allure.

What I pride myself on, however, is being able to sit comfortably with contradiction. Have I attained my grail watch? Yes. Is my collection complete? Also yes. Do I want the La Corsa Rosa III in a way that I’ve never wanted a watch before? Yes. Will I get it? Who knows. I’m Schrödinger’s Watch Collector, simultaneously in a state of being “done” and actively shopping for another watch. Until I purchase it or close that browser tab, anything could happen.

watch collection

Attaining the grail watch was just the beginning

And that’s the gist of watch collecting, isn’t it? It’s a constant ebb and flow of watches on a ceaseless journey. There are a lot of curve balls thrown into the mix as well, which keeps things exciting. I’m realizing that “done for now” is good enough for me and much more realistic than the delusion that “done” means forever. Also, I don’t mind being tempted by beautiful watches that may or may not sway my hand in the future. It’s all part of enjoying watches in general. Thankfully, I have the wonderful opportunity to research and write about watches for work, which will do well to keep me engaged after deciding I’m done with actively shopping. It’s a blessing and a curse, however, for if not for this work, I would never have seen the watch that ruined my peace, which I’m happy I did.

What’s the watch that kept you from leaving the game? Let us know in the comments below. You can find out more about the Grand Tour La Corsa Rosa III chronograph on Bravur’s official website. You can find more of me on Instagram @WatchingThomas.