Unlike Nacho’s enviably controlled feelings on this subject, I am unsure what to do or wish for this year. With rocketing expenses and a year of some big swaps behind me, I feel like calming myself down purchase-wise. I started a consolidation challenge this past autumn, and it worked. I sold about seven watches and only bought two. But what does that mean for my 2024 resolutions?

As I once read in a well-written article by fellow Fratello writer Lex, perhaps it’s enough to enjoy the watches I write about without necessarily finding ways to buy them. I often have short- and long-term review subjects that give me temporary joy. But when I do buy something, one thing is for sure: it ain’t going to be mainstream. I still find infinite joy in that glance when someone who likes watches does not recognize what’s on my wrist or sees something rare but not necessarily expensive.

Thor's 2024

The joy of small-scale independents will stay with me in 2024 and beyond

This might be something you can deduce from my writing, but it’s not a phase, I swear. I have found it to have taken root in me for good, easily judged by my last three purchases of 2023. After the summer, I bought three watches, nicely summing up what seems to be a taste that’s way too eclectic for some people. These watches have set the standards for 2024, even if I aimed to get a rectangular grail like a Reverso or Cartier last year. It didn’t happen, man. But maybe that’s a good thing.

What did the end of 2023 bring?

Between late August and December, I fell for a sleek 35mm 1997 Omega Constellation followed by a deeper immersion into Japanese craftsmanship. The Kurono Tokyo Grand Urushi Aoyama Edition and the Otsuka Lotec No.7.5 (hands-on story coming next week!) are opposites in style. But they have three things in common that I love — rarity, hand finishing, and a shoulder shrug at current trends. And with my budget, if I can get those for under €5,000, that’s all I need. I also seem to have lost interest in vintage-inspired or retro-love watches, especially divers. We are nearing the summit of a way-too-big list of ’60s-looking (skin) divers and chronographs that have come out over the last 10 years or so. Surely, modern should be the new modern? It seems the jury is out on this, though, as the retro “hits” keep coming.

Image: Christie’s Watches Online

Is there anything incoming or on my radar for 2024?

My challenge is that I keep finding unloved gems from the 2000s on Chrono24. To me, some of these are mad bargain grabs, such as this Bvlgari Diagono in steel. For a bit over €2K? Wow. But I have to resist, and the first incoming watch is an heirloom that’s being restored. There might even be another one; let me explain. Many years ago, I had my grandfather’s Tissot Seastar serviced and the silver rust-spotted dial repainted — matte black. Even writing this, I cringe, and I’m sorry. But that is now with a restorer in London and will return to its real self after 10 years next month. My father also passed away in December, and I have a dainty 1920s rectangular watch from him. Missing its crown and one hand, that’s next, meaning I’ll have a rectangular watch in 18K gold with a deeper meaning than any Reverso or Cartier Tank.

Thor's 2024 Resolutions

If you add these two to my love of Japanese craftsmanship, my 2024 is pretty much locked in, maybe starting with a dive watch. After my story on whether or not to make the final upgrade in my Seiko journey, I sold my Marinemaster, which left a big question mark in its wake. I’m now meant to add some funds and get a Grand Seiko diver like the SBGX335 above, but do I need to? I feel like saying “yes,” but at the moment, they seem to have crept up in price, so we’ll see. Grand Seiko quartz, in general, is tugging at my heartstrings. But maybe I don’t need another big diver… Perhaps a Rolex OP-beating 37mm SBGX263 is too tempting. See? I’m not the most decisive of collectors.

Thor's 2024 Resolutions

No more retro-inspired wristwear in 2024?

My most worn watch last year was probably my Aera D-1 Diver, a big and modern instrument-like tool watch. It might seem at odds with small-cased Japanese wrist-craft, but it also underlines my feeling that vintage-inspired fauxtina is peaking, and I’m off the train. At least that’s what I’d like to think, even if I have admitted to being fearful of the Black Bay 54 with its perfect case. So modern watches with modern lines and materials are my focus, mixed with a reblossomed interest in 20–30-year-old watches — “neo-vintage” if you must. There was a lot of innovation from the late ’90s to the mid-2000s, and that makes for greatly underappreciated wrist-goodness today.

Thor’s dad’s soon-to-be-restored 1920s French chic

Doing something for others

Occasionally, when thinking about the ever-present ghost of consolidation, I stop myself because of the hassle of a sale. If it’s a bargain-basement watch or two, putting up an ad somewhere for €200–300 of funds seems like a lot of work. That’s why I’m going to do good instead and again. A year ago, I auctioned off a €300 Timex × Peanuts watch for charity and got €800 for it, all of which went to a Ukrainian Red Cross donation, and it sure felt good. I will likely repeat this in the spring with another watch; a bit of lateral thinking never hurts. It can help others in need, so consider this a great idea if your collection has grown out of proportion.

Fratelli, did I confuse you with my resolutions? I don’t have a laser-sharp focus for 2024 except for calming down and focusing more on what I love. Let me know your thoughts and plans in the comments.