Don’t Be Ashamed About Collecting

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Last week I sat down in a bar discussing this topic with my colleague Jon Henrik Haraldsen  from the Norwegian watch website, tidssonen.no. I showed him a website of a guy that was all crazy about some toys and he showed me a video about someone who was going all mad on cheese knives. Dedicated stuff. On his website there is also a forum where collectors and enthusiasts can discuss watches, but they also have this thread that basically covers this “the others are worse” topic and list websites and videos of people who are deeply into all other things than watches. I have to admit that I’ve come across certain websites of people with other hobbies than watches, like vintage computer games (G&W handhelds) that made me think “Watches aren’t that bad”. I think some of them might encounter more difficulties in attempting to explain to others what they are doing… More at Fratellowatches.

The article above is about watch collecting, but it does highlight the things other people collect. So, what about you? Have you ever collected something unusual?



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2 replies

  1. Never collected “on purpose” or in the sense of being a completist, but I guess retro-game stuff might count for me.

    As I review that article, I’m pulled by my own biases – e.g. “What? How can a “Game and Watch” collection be lamer than Watches? I mean it says right in the title, it’s a Game AND a Watch!” – and I grew up thinking Transformers were the coolest, and so still get the nostalgic tug. But I would say there’s a difference between in the amount of subtlety to the variance inside various collections, which is objectively recognizable, and then there’s a subjective call as to if you still find the collecting worthwhile.

    So knives and sneakers are a tougher sell for me. Game + Watches (well, LCD games in general) show a lot of creativity, the sharp constraints on character movement set against the relative freedom of the static line art, combined with each game (well, many games) inventing an original play mechanic. Transformers had a lot of distinct cleverness in the various folding designs.

    But members of groups of sneakers, or knives, all serve about the same function as their peers in about the same way, and so the differences are a more subtle and nuanced thing (at least to the uninitiated) I thought that the Stefan Schmalhaus video did a good job explaining the design cleverness. (It reminded me of Nicholson Baker’s “The Mezzanine”- a truly lovely book exploring the tiny design details of so many mundane items, wrapped in a minimalist fiction shell.)

    Watches are a middle ground. I can admire a handsome watch, but mostly I dig on ones with lots of intriguing “complications”.

    Getting back to the retro games thing, 15 years ago I wrote a little essay on why I thought old video games were a particularly intriguing hobby, http://kirk.is/vgames/why.html , and what made them special compared to other collectibles, or even Atari-era over the later early Nintendo years.

    • Also I would say the world of nerdy collectors is starkly divided: some folks for whom “mint in box” is worthwhile the pristine aspect enhancing all these “holy grails”, and then shlubs like me who just want to see and interact with something cool, and don’t see how on earth making it so you won’t actually know if the artifact is inside the box can make the value skyrocket. (Similarly, shlubs like me don’t get stuff that’s ONLY valuable because it’s rare – “Family Fun Fitness Stadium Events” was recalled and re-released a “World Class Track Meet”, so only its scarcity drives its value.)

      And again with the video games, emulation covers many things, though often you lose out on the hardware controls.

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