by Dana Li
One of my favorite things about watches is that there is always something more to learn. Whether it be about a reference that I didn’t know existed or a fun fact about a brand, I love expanding my knowledge and hearing the unique stories behind a watch. Although there are a number of great informational resources out there, it can be overwhelming to know where to start your research and get reliable and accurate information, especially if you are new to the watch world. Even with the wealth of online platforms dedicated to covering watches, there’s value in seeing and experiencing a piece in person. If you aren’t sure where to start learning more about the history of the brands, technical aspects of watchmaking, or general trends within the industry, here are a few additional places outside of traditional watch publications to help you explore your newfound curiosity for watches.
Watch community groups are a great way to meet people who share an interest in watches and learn about their experiences collecting. These groups have some of the most supportive and welcoming people who are excited to help newcomers learn about watches and guide them on their collecting journeys. They’ll also host regular meet-ups and educational events where you can meet fellow watch enthusiasts and hear directly from industry professionals. Many community groups are also free to join and regularly welcome new members, making it perfect if you’re just starting to learn about watches.
Community groups to check out:
Note: To join these collector groups, check their sites and Instagram accounts for membership inquiries. I’d recommend subscribing to their newsletters to stay updated about their upcoming events since the events are often communicated via email.
Complecto’s goal is to build an inclusive, global community that reflects and celebrates the true diversity of watch enthusiasts and collectors.
RedBar looks to foster the growth of existing collector communities around the world by hosting meet-ups and encouraging collectors to give back to their local communities.
Watch Femme (@watch_femme)
Watch Femme is dedicated to amplifying women’s voices in the watch world, highlighting their contributions to the industry, and creating opportunities for women to flourish in the community through education, networking, and advocacy.
Auction houses have a vast collection of both modern and vintage pieces, making it a great place to see particular references in person or learn about the history of watch brands. From historic pieces like Prince Tewfik Adil “T.A.” Toussoun of Egypt’s Patek Philippe ref. 1518 (sold by Sotheby’s in 2021) and Paul Newman’s own Rolex Daytona (sold by Phillips in 2017), auction houses have seen some of the world’s rarest watches with provenance. With teams of highly experienced watch specialists cataloging and researching these important pieces, you can get detailed insights into the vintage references that you may not have seen otherwise and the stories behind them. Many auction houses also host previews that are open to the public prior to their sales so you can see some of these iconic watches in person.
Some NYC auction houses with preview days open to the public:
20 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10020
432 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022
1334 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021
Watch fairs are a great way to meet with industry professionals and learn more about new releases and brands’ current collections. While some brands will offer their pieces for sale, these fairs are designed to allow people to connect with representatives from the brands and ask questions about the watches. In addition, there are often panels and workshops throughout the day that let you learn about upcoming trends in the industry, specific watchmaking topics, and more. Many watch fairs are open to the public and have events in multiple cities around the world as well.
Watch fairs that are open to the public:
Dubai Watch Week (@dubaiwatchweek)
A large, multi-day event held in Dubai every 2 years, Dubai Watch Week made its first debut in the US with the Horology Forum in New York City this past September. Founded by Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, Dubai Watch Week hosts a series of educational masterclasses, workshops, and panels that allow watch enthusiasts and collectors to fully immerse themselves into the latest industry trends related to watches and watchmaking. The next event will be held in Dubai this year from November 15 to 20.
Wind Up Watch Fair (@windupwatchfair)
Hosted yearly by Worn and Wound in Chicago, San Francisco, and New York, Wind Up Watch Fair is a three-day event that allows people to meet representatives from watch brands and shop for watches in a fun, engaging way. Wind Up Watch Fair also features panels covering various relevant topics in the watch industry each day of the event. The fair is open to the public and free to attend.