The Fine Line Between Flippers And Collectors — Where Do You Land?
Watch enthusiasts. They exist in many different shapes and forms. Don’t worry, I won’t go over each type in this article. The topic of today is more about the term “flippers”. Ever since I entered the world of watch forums and get-togethers, I’ve been intrigued by that term. It’s almost as though it’s seen as a swear word by some, while others just can’t seem to stop buying and selling watches as quickly as they can. Let’s dive a little bit deeper into the matter and explore why some people keep “flipping” and why others can’t stand the fact that they do so.
I must admit, in the first three years of my life as a watch enthusiast, I have flipped quite a few pieces. I say “admit” because I really feel like the word “flipping” has a very negative connotation within the watch community. But I guess it’s mainly seen as something quite negative when people buy and quickly resell a watch just to make a quick profit, right? What about selling watches for other reasons?
My own experience
When I started my journey as a watch enthusiast, I really had to develop my own taste. I started buying watches that I thought would be perfect for my wrist, but as you can imagine, some of them weren’t, even though I had spent hours and hours reading and watching videos about them. You never really know what a watch feels like until you have it on your own wrist for a reasonable amount of time. So yes, I’ve sold quite a few pieces in my first three years.
When I sold them, I simply tried to get the best price I could. In some cases, that meant that I made a small profit, but in others, I also had to accept some reasonable losses. In the end, it’s a hobby for me, and I’m not in it to earn money (except for my job here at Fratello, of course). But I did learn something that I didn’t expect as I both bought watches from and sold them to other enthusiasts. And that is that it can be a very enjoyable experience. Maybe a little less so when I had to accept a bigger loss, but still.
The contacts I’ve made while looking to buy and sell watches are very valuable to me. This is because, usually, the people that own a watch that you’d like to buy have somewhat of a similar taste in watches. Of course, there are some pieces that everyone has owned at some point in their lives, but other watches might not have such a strong following. In this case, knowing people that share the same taste can be very helpful because they might have already experienced watches that you consider adding to your collection. Hearing from them about their experiences has helped me to form opinions about watches that I haven’t yet owned.
Of course, these opinions are not based on my own experience. Sometimes, I’ll even still buy a watch that those people said they didn’t like. But when that happens, at least I’ve been warned. And there have also been times when these fellow enthusiasts have pointed me in the unexpected direction of a watch I had never even considered trying. As such, while buying and selling watches, I’ve learned a lot about other people’s experiences and journeys. It’s not that I won’t make the same “mistakes” as they did, but at least I’ll do so in a more informed way. And why would it be a bad thing to buy a watch to get an idea of what it’s like and sell it off when it doesn’t convince you?
A good way out
That behavior is edging on what most people refer to as “flipping”, I guess. But I just don’t have the luxury to allow myself too many mistakes. I’m often wholeheartedly convinced when I buy a watch, but my feelings about that watch can change over time due to a new release, for example, or a watch I had never considered or seen before. In that case, at least for me, it’s time for that watch and me to go our separate ways. Alas, I don’t have an unlimited budget to spend on my watches. Thankfully, though, at this point, I haven’t really felt sorry about any of the watches I’ve sold.
I know RJ sometimes regrets that he sold some of his pieces in the past. That’s why he’s not a huge fan of selling his watches now and tends to hold on to them. In my situation, maybe not enough time has passed for me to have seller’s remorse. Still, I’m glad that selling some watches has worked out well so far. I also feel like every watch I acquire and sell helps me to better understand my own taste in watches. Now, as we know, tastes can and do change. It’s certainly possible that mine could evolve in the years to come. If that happens, it’s also nice to know that there’s always the option of selling a piece if I feel like it doesn’t fit the collection anymore. In this way, the active watch-trade market only helps me and other enthusiasts experience many different options.
I do expect that my shopping for watches will decrease in the future. It has already slowed down since I started. But I don’t feel there’s much harm in selling a watch once in a while, especially when doing so can help fund a new arrival. Does that really make you a flipper?
What do you think?
I don’t think so, but when do you become a flipper then? As I said, the hatred seems to start when people deliberately buy a certain watch to quickly resell it for a significant profit. In that case, there’s absolutely no intention of enjoying the watch within their own collections. They only buy that watch because they know they’ll make money from selling it. I mean, I get why some people enjoy that kind of game. It does, however, somewhat ruin the watch hobby for others, making it harder to get those watches at “normal” prices.
But let’s not make this article about calling out certain people because of how they enjoy the watch hobby. I simply wanted to share my experience and views with you and ask you to do the same in the comments.
What do you think? Would you consider me a flipper? Or am I a regular enthusiast who’s just trying to form his own collection? Please share your thoughts on this and your experiences in the comments below.
You can also find and follow me on Instagram @fliptheparrot (funnily enough, that handle actually doesn’t have anything to do with what was written above. I can explain… another day).