Buying Limited Edition Watches

I find myself constantly on the hunt for watches, but I rarely buy them. My last watch purchase was in the neighborhood of 6 months ago, but, I’m always looking.

Among the many buzzwords that catch my eye is “limited edition”. That begs the question what is a limited edition watch? Is it a trial run? Misfire? Collaboration? Limited duration? Novelty? Or, is it a marketing scheme to drive up the price without impacting the value? Does it matter?

Case back of the Seiko Alpinist SPB089

I tend toward the curmudgeon-esque opinion of these so called limited editions. There are some notable exceptions. But by and large limited edition watches often seem to offer little improvement from their standard-fare counterparts.

I find joy in the hunt for a watch. Whether it is a steal, hard to find, or it was the culmination of weeks of pouring over reviews and videos, the pursuit is half of my enjoyment of the watch itself. I think the limited edition tag carries with it a status symbol. I don’t think it’ll add to your enjoyment or detract. I’ve been fortunate to handle a number of limited edition watches. Many of which are still available on the company website, and for those that aren’t they pop up on the secondary market with frequency.

GS-Limited-Edition
Grand Seiko 60th Anniversary Limited Edition – Image Courtesy Grand Seiko

Limited editions cater to a really specific segment of a really specific market. Whether it be a limited run of a Speedy, a Luke Skywalker Citizen, or a one of a kind G Shock with a swapped module. Find the watches you like and stop looking for exclusivity. Watches are, after all, just a piece of jewelry.

In all likelihood they will only impress other watch nerds without giving you the exclusivity that you just paid for. If we’re being honest, how many watches do you have that are duplicated in your circle of people? Limited edition or not, I’m not sure that any of your friends also have that watch.

Citizen-Luke-Skywalker
Citizen Luke Skywalker – Image Courtesy Citizen Watches

That is not to say that I have something against the very idea of limited editions. There are some limited editions out there that I can get behind, in a big way. I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing limited run collaborations between microbrands and us normies out here in watch consumer world. I have also been hands on with a product of a watchuseek.com group build and love the end product. These watches are relying on the exclusivity to fund the project. The difference is that I care about the end product. Maybe I’m the problem?

All said and done, I may not be the intended demographic for a limited edition. However, I’ll happily look at pictures of them as they come out. I’ll also enjoy the mental exercise of guessing what the secondary market prices will be.

Happy hunting.

Check out Will’s take on limited editions

1 comment
  1. Dang Andrew!!! Article is great and really got me thinking. I admit I follow the limited editions but generally it’s a superficial change. Thank you
    Jon

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