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Shopping for, Promoting, & Amassing: I Purchased A Bag Of Watches For $50

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A bell dinged as I pushed open the door to a sprawling miasma of cupboards, tables, and show instances. Every degree floor was filled with collectibles, oddities, and forgotten trinkets. In case you’re imagining memento shot glasses, dusty LPs, individually bagged fishing lures, long-forgotten mannequin automobiles, vintage glass bottles, some beautiful classic furnishings, and a labyrinth of vintage spoons commemorating quite a lot of Canadian hockey groups – you are a lot of the approach there.

A look at the inside of the market. Shelves, goods, etc.

However you’ll be able to preserve all of that. As I pulled into the gravel car parking zone of a horseshoe-shaped single-story constructing not far outdoors of Hamilton, Ontario, I had include a selected prize in thoughts. Surrounded by furnishings, garden decorations, and used bikes, the placement was bursting on the seams, the view by means of its home windows obscured by classic indicators and the backsides of overstuffed stuffed cupboards. Throughout the car parking zone, a meals truck supplied fries and sizzling canine. I made a psychological observe for lunch.

The place Watches Are Bought By The Bag

Weeks earlier than, I had obtained a textual content message from my inside man on this planet of Ontario’s second-hand retail (to guard his anonymity, let’s name him “my father”). The message was to let me know {that a} sure market – primarily a professional-grade storage sale – was promoting watches by the bag. By (clap) the (clap) bag (clap).

True to my bloodline, I really like locations like this. 

A cabinet with several vintage watches.

Decided to not miss my likelihood at a legendary discover, I scanned my environment with a tireless, hopeful ambition. I ignored the locked cupboards defending Pokemon playing cards and online game cartridges. I barely registered a stacked floor-to-ceiling assortment of bookshelf audio system and varied stereo componentry. I noticed a espresso desk that I preferred, however at a worth I didn’t.

A cabinet with several vintage watches, hockey cards, and currency.

Each few cupboards, I would uncover a small show of watches, normally consisting of a mixture of the next – low cost replicas, first rate pocket watches, unusual commemorative fashions from no-name or white label manufacturers, the occasional Seiko, Casio, or classic Gruen, and dangerous fakes. All informed, not broadly collectible however nonetheless, it was a complete lot of enjoyable to quietly stroll across the multi-room area and attempt to spot the particular stuff amongst ever extra hockey-themed detritus.

After which, there it was. Resting, alone, on a plate that appeared to have been made to commemorate some type of vintage farming competitors, my bag of watches. Whereas not precisely prominently displayed inside this particular sales space’s assortment, the hand-written label was crystal clear: “$50 Bag of Watches.”

A cabinet with several hockey and disney themed watches.
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Snug in my feeling that I had given almost each case and cupboard a glance, I hauled the bag to the checkout. I thought of haggling however determined that I would not push my luck with the few employees members retaining this place open on a Sunday afternoon. And hey, $50 has a pleasant ring to it, no?

It is What’s Inside That Counts

As soon as dwelling, and with nice anticipation, I separated the seal on the bag. Reaching into its doubtful payload, I grabbed a free handful of watch. The feel was that of the change that lives within the backside of your automotive’s cup holder. Tinny, forgotten, and possibly just a bit bit furry.

The contents of the bag, some 24 watches, laid out on a table.

~$50 CAD of watches 

I unfold my bounty out on the desk and shortly realized what all of you will have doubtless been assuming because you began this story. Although some deeply naive a part of me believed I might need struck gold, the fact of this deal was doubtless price significantly lower than my funding of fifty wonderful Canadian {dollars}.

I can not precisely be mad. If I purchased a rubbish bag filled with denims, I would not be shocked if I ended up with some JNCOs and Bugle Boys.

Within the bag, I discovered some 24 watches and one deeply triggering appeal bracelet (keep tuned for that). All 24 had been quartz, none had been working, the bulk had been doubtless meant as women’ fashions, and a number of other had been from a model that continues to be a thriller to each my colleagues and me. So let’s break them into the next – the great, the dangerous, and the unknown.

The Good

To be clear, I delineated between these teams based mostly on my curiosity within the watch and whether or not or not the model was proven on the dial and/or may very well be decided.

An image of four inexpensive watches.

For “The Good,” I discovered 4 watches that felt by some means extra particular than the remaining. This quartet of low cost thrills features a relatively good-looking 33mm translucent greenish-brown Swatch that claims “Swatch AG 1996” on the dial. Its strap is undamaged however the buckle (which is likely to be non-original, because it’s blue) has cracked clear by means of the plastic.

A Swatch on the author's wrist.

Subsequent up, we have now a women’ bracelet watch from a model referred to as Jupiter that has a superbly baroque case and bracelet wrapped round a dial that’s barely greater than 11mm extensive and a case that measures simply 18.5 x 27mm. It is so gentle that I doubt it is made from metal, although the hollowed “hyperlinks” might straight account for the lightness. Regardless of its tiny dial, legibility is fairly good and I might completely see somebody sporting and having fun with this watch. Not me, as evidenced under, however somebody.

The Jupiter watch on the author's wrist.

In stark distinction to the dainty and fanciful Jupiter, we discover the worn black-plated case of an “Military” model discipline watch that’s hanging on to its strap with a single long-suffering spring bar. The velcro strap proudly reads “Sport Watch” in a fashion just like how that one uncle likes to inform you about how good he was at soccer. , earlier than “the knee.”

As I stay a hopeless romantic in relation to lume dials, the Military makes the reduce and will nicely get a brand new spring bar and a recent battery.

The Papal Chicago watch on a table.

Lastly, an enthralling religious-themed oddball from the early 2000s. Fitted to a easy superb mesh bracelet and missing each a model or any caseback markings, this watch seems to be a commemorative creation. Encircling the dial is a hoop of textual content that reads “The Apostolic Papal Go to of His Holiness Pope Shenouda III and Consecration of St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church, Chicago, April twenty seventh – Might 2nd, 2001.” And also you thought Pelagos had plenty of dial textual content! This factor measures 33mm extensive and is in good situation with the caseback nonetheless lined by a protecting sticker. In case you occur to be a member of this Chicago-based congregation, let me know, I would be comfortable to ship you the watch.

The Unhealthy

This motley crew is generally categorized by aged styling and common blandness, however I can not precisely be mad. If I purchased a rubbish bag filled with denims, I would not be shocked if I ended up with some JNCOs and Bugle Boys.

Several more inexpensive watches on a table.
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This group features a 33mm Air Transat 15 Yr Anniversary watch, and a few males’s drug-store-style watches with built-in lugs and increasing bracelets (certainly one of which seems to be lacking its bezel). Lastly, there’s a quartet of women’ items from Guess, Self-importance Truthful (made by Gruen, no much less), American Eagle (lacking just a few “stones”), and Marie Lourdes.

In case you’ve ever frequented the jewellery case at your native thrift retailer, you will know these types of watches are frequent fare.

The Unknown

The author with three ladies cuff watches on his wrist.

Are you not entertained? 

Rounding out this two-dozen-watch haul are some 13 watches which might be both completely with out branding or from an unknown model. Of this baker’s dozen, eight of them are from a model that has a whimsical “N” as its emblem. Regardless of reverse picture searches, the HODINKEE Slack, and even Instagram, I haven’t got any strong thought of what the model is. In case you acknowledge the emblem, please let me know within the feedback.

Several more cuff watches all aligned on a table.

So many cuff watches … 

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What do you imply you have not seen Pirates of the Caribbean?!

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Extra cuffs. 

Aside from the “N” model thriller, there are just a few extra cuff-style watches, together with one with a neat embroidered end, and one with a denim-style strap and a dial that’s (very) loosely Journe-esque. Lastly, in true mid-2000s model, there’s a bronze-finished 25mm watch with about two full ft of strap for that stacked-up multi-loop look.

Return On Funding

Three inexpensive ladies watches from the bag on a table.

Whereas undoubtedly a enjoyable exercise and a good approach of creating certain your children, nieces, and nephews all have a quartz watch that you simply will not have to fret about, it seems, unsurprisingly, {that a} $50 bag of watches is extra of a gimmick than a great way to get a deal on a watch. That stated, when you have a HODINKEE expense account and you do not use it to purchase baggage of watches – then you definitely’re form of the issue, aren’t you?

Whereas I’ll not really feel like a winner, I positively have not misplaced something.

Bonus: A Deeply Puzzling Allure Bracelet

The aforementioned charm bracelet laying on a table.


As a remaining tidbit of head-scratching nonsense from this seize bag, we have now a confounding double-stacked appeal bracelet. I can solely assume that this bracelet was extra of a storehouse for varied charms relatively than one poor soul’s assortment of on-wrist totems. Nonetheless, I figured the sheer selection warranted some degree of documentation. 



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