Why invest in pocket watches?

Setdart Subastas will auction on September 13, among many other pieces, Juan José Ontalva’s collection of pocket watches, among which we find a wide range of periods, schools and precious metals. Due to its ease of
and their safe haven value, pocket watches are one of the most coveted pieces by jewelry and horological collectors. coveted by collectors of jewelry and horological objects.

The collecting of antique watches can lead in principle to two main directions
modalities with well-defined characteristics and motivations: movable or portable watches. In this entry, we will focus exclusively on the pocket watch, especially because of its enormous international diffusion among advanced collectors.

It can be said that true collecting begins when the decorative facet and function of an object takes second place and, fascinated by its technical-artistic characteristics, we treasure it in a coherent and systematized way. An aficionado of furniture, painting, tapestries, carpets, etc., can sometimes be just that: an aficionado. A collector of watches, weapons, books, scientific instruments, or any object considered “non-decorative” is first and foremost a specialist with an intense affective capacity towards his collection and often endowed with profound knowledge. This is a good way to define scholarly collecting, which we would so much like to promote in our country.

On the other hand, few human activities provide satisfaction comparable to that of specialized collecting. The study, search and finding of the piece, its diagnosis, cataloguing and conditioning, are the steps that lead to the collection, completed in each piece and always incomplete as Penelope’s tapestry. It is important to note that this order of factors is absolutely unalterable.
Before investing one in the acquisition of a watch, we will have to build up our specialized library, just as it will be necessary to go to school before practicing a profession. Once in possession of the theory, the practices will be indispensable: examination of the sacrosanct and immutable pieces deposited in public collections and in the auction itself, as well as an accessible and extroverted collector.

Evidently, “the path is made by walking” and the most didactic learning is the one obtained through mistakes. These are never forgotten and “the letter enters with blood”. However, we consider the economic-pedagogical drain an excessively drastic method, given that any piece worthy of interest currently requires an outlay comparable to that of a car, on a scale ranging from an imported sports car to a second-hand utility vehicle.

The classic conditions required to become a first-rate collector are the following: taste and knowledge, seasoned with a good dose of luck.
We consider the first three premises indispensable, but not the last one.
Obviously, a certain economic well-being is desirable, but with some exceptions, the “checkbook” collector is often coerced into investing. On the other hand, in this process of quasi-love possession, difficulties and obstacles contribute in no small part to the sublimation of the violently desired object. The piece obtained with pain gives us back our sleeplessness a hundredfold. During our travels and visits to more or less important collections we will be attracted, however little sensitivity we may possess, to those formed by scholars, and these are not usually excessively wealthy in general terms. The overabundance of acquisitive means often leads to confusion, hypertrophy and baroque, very difficult to overcome.

We are moving away from our question: Why the pocket watch? The pocket watch or “faltriquera” has some very pleasant conditions for its treasuring: personality and discretion. Coexisting with a collection of furniture clocks is not as easy as it seems, especially if we are reduced to the perimeter of a modern home.