The Haggling Horologist: The Complete Luxury Watch Starter Collection for Under 500 Dollars (Part Two)

The Haggling Horologist: The Complete Luxury Watch Starter Collection for Under 500 Dollars (Part Two)

Everyone knows I am passionate about physician negotiation and financial matters.



After several very busy months helping doctors earn what they deserve by unleashing their inner physician negotiators while negotiating their best physician contracts and raises, I’ve decided to go on a bit of a tangent– mostly as a mental health holiday!

One of my other hobbies is watch collecting- often termed “horology”. Owning and wearing a luxury watch is a motivating dream for many hard-working folks. It’s a common fantasy to think about wearing a magnificent work of art on your wrist.

People see that watch and are immediately impressed and start to fawn over you, your watch, and your obvious high value in society. It’s a nice dream, but frankly 85% of people don’t notice the watch, know anything about it, and don’t care. Reality is so disappointing…


Unfortunately, it’s easy to spend way too much on the wrong watch and experience serious buyer’s remorse.

And, as many higher end watches cost as much as a new car, you really don’t have too many chances to learn from your mistakes.



My real goal here is to not to convince to buy certain watches. You are just as likely to hate my choices and I’m cool with that.   My intention is to arm you with the knowledge to make the choices that fit your goals.

Maybe, just maybe, you’ll be so excited about the watches you acquire, that I can count you in my ever-growing group of “horology hobbyist” friends. Just don’t make it into my herd of blocked watch-snobs!

In the first post, I discussed the features of a watch as you consider acquiring your collection. I also discuss the surprising value at the lower price range. And I left you with tantalizing claim that I can advise you on how to purchase a

complete luxury starter watch collection for under 500 clams!

There are 3 things I am going to review in next two blog posts

  • The three watches you need to start your collection
  • An exciting advance in watch bands
  • The complete collection recommendations will follow in the next post

Sorry, I’ll need to break this into 2 posts to avoid trouble with downloading, since these are graphic heavy. I’m hoping to post part three shortly. I’m going to follow this up a part four going into some more advanced and expensive watches to consider.

You Need Three Watches.


After all, you can’t just have one watch and call it a collection… The goal here is to have a watch that might your wear at any occasion and that can also match to the outfit you are wearing.

Yes, you should match your watch to your outfit. Generally, your watch band should be the same color as your belt and shoes. If you are wearing metallic jewelry, other than a wedding ring, you’ll want your watch case to match the tone- typically silver or gold.

With this in mind, here are the three watches you need.

  • A silver or stainless watch
  • A gold or gold toned watch. At lower price ranges this will be gold toned stainless steel
  • A digital watch with a silicone band. I’ll explain this in a minute



You also want to keep in mind the “statement” and purpose of the watch.

When I teach physicians about interviewing, I emphasize that you need to emphasize your “brand”. Your watch is part of your brand and should represent you accordingly. Here, you have three needs as well.

  •  A more causal, understated watch that speaks to a reserved elegance
  •  A statement piece that is meant to be noticed. Usually bolder with more classical watch design elements, a larger watch face, and more masculine features
  •  A watch to be worn under tough physical conditions. Like hiking, diving, or splitting wood. Even the best dressed man wears boots when they do yard work. This is where you want that digital watch. It should be shock resistant, deep water resistant, have a compass, a silicone band, and other rugged features.

Keep these features in mind as you develop your shopping list. I give you my specific watch recommendations in the next post.




Watch bands can complement your watch. And there are some great new options.

Not enough attention is paid to the watch band. You can understand why. The watch is the heavy hitter. The watch band is just there out of necessity. Unfortunately, the wrong watch band can really detract from the presentation of the watch.



Here are a few of my observations.

  • Metallic watch bands can be stunning. But, in order for them to really stand out, they need to be a high-quality material that is machined and possibly produced by hand to the highest standards. Since the watch band is physically larger with more material than the watch face or case, this can be quite expensive.
  •  When you decide to acquire that high end and expensive luxury watch, you may consider a high-quality metallic band. Pay special attention to the band before you go ahead with the purchase.
  • Avoid metallic watch bands in lower end luxury watches. This is always an element where sacrifices are made to meet the price point. No matter what that guy in central park says, there is no 18-carat watch band that sells for 75 dollars.
  • I’ve already discussed stainless steel cases in the first post. The same holds true for watch bands. To a casual observer at conversation distance, a stainless-steel band looks like any other watch. Some high-end stainless-steel bands are very nice (Cartier comes to mind), but they just don’t really do the watch justice in my opinion. You need to jump to gold to really shine.
  •  Examine a metallic band in several different lighting conditions, especially in the full sun. Bring your painfully honest friend with you when you shop. Have them look at the band from different distances to get an idea of how it presents.
  •  In general, I have found that leather bands receive far more compliments than metallic bands. Even with the same watch. I’ll change out the metal band with leather and suddenly get lots of interest. Leather bands provide a nice contrast and act as a masculine design element. Maybe metal feels cold and leather is warmer and more approachable. Who knows?
  •  Leather bands with design elements like alligator grain are more desirable than plain or rawhide styles. Of course, match your band with the statement you are hoping to make. When I negotiate with a sophisticated and innovative partner, I wear an elegant band. With someone who uses hard tactics, I tend to wear a rawhide or metallic band to emphasize my willingness to go a few rounds to score a victory.
  •  There are several color leather bands available. Start with black and coffee or toffee brown. Have fun from there, but keep in mind that in more formal settings, you want to match your shoes and belt with the band. If you are wearing jeans or sneakers, go for whatever wild band that excites you. I’ve seen people match the band with a brightly colored sweater to great effect.



An exciting advance in watch bands: easily changed bands. No tools required!

Typically changing a watch band requires the use of piece of equipment called a “spring bar tool”. This is good thing to own and can be found in watch tool kits. These are pretty simple to use, but take some experience to really feel comfortable. Be sure to practice using your lower end watches, since it’s easy to scratch the lugs if you aren’t careful.

Changing out your watch band with as spring bar tool is pretty simple, but it’s a bit too time consuming to do it on a regular basis. Most people only bother when the band is broken or when they upgrade to a new band. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could change your band every day?

Easily changeable bands are now widely available for nearly all case sizes. New players seems to be entering the market. For now, Barton is the current highest recommended supplier. Be sure look for any new entries before you make a final decision.



Typically, for less than 30 dollars, you can pick up a high-quality watch band. With the use of a simple quick-release design, you can switch out bands in less than a few minutes.

Go crazy! Get a black and brown alligator pattern band for your everyday use. Go with wild colors for a unique look. Buy a rawhide, NATO style, or silicone band for casual use. Since each band increases the situations you are likely to enjoy the watch, it turns out to be a great value.


Spend at least some of your budget on new bands.

Before you buy a new watch, consider buying an aftermarket leather, silicone, or high-quality metallic band. The value of this purchase is much better than a whole new watch.



Of course, there is nothing cooler than wearing your new luxury watch while negotiating your next contract or raise. Or buying that luxury car to match your watch. Or, perhaps it’s your new home. Negotiation is the lifeblood of commerce. And as a doctor, you are untrained and at a distinct disadvantage. Maybe has the information you need to really succeed.



In the next post, I will finally reveal the Complete Luxury Watch Starter Collection for Under 500 Dollars. Should be an exciting discussion! And, I’d love to hear your collection ideas as well.



So, what do think? Am I crazy looking for value in low-end price point watches? Do you need three watches, or just one? Do you think you need a silver and gold tone case? Is a digital watch with a silicone band simply heretical? These easily changeable bands are cool, right? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.


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