The Rolex Dilemma

I recently had a conversation with a friend about his impending Rolex purchase. He had the money saved up for the watch, but was not sure if he should buy it. This guy has always been a “watch guy” and he has progressively climbed the watch ladder to a point were a Rolex was the logical next rung.

“Watch guys” are guys that see value in having a status symbol on their wrist that costs more than a lot of people’s cars. The timepiece in question was a Rolex Submariner and the price tag was around $5,000. Just because this guy had an ING savings account dedicated to this goal and had managed to save the cash, had no debt and lived generally frugally, does that automatically mean he should pull the trigger on the Rolex?

Rolex photo by hypo.physe via Flickr Creative Commons

I am not a watch guy. The thought of shelling out that much money for a watch that will provide me no benefit but to tell the time, gives me a mini panic attack. I have a Seiko. A fine Japanese timepiece that has always let me know what time it was and even provided the added benefit of showing the date – all for $200! Watch guys laugh at my ignorance. I can scrounge up the money for a Rolex if I wanted one. I could delve into savings; move some investments around – whatever it took.

I cannot help but to run through all the possible uses for that cash besides a watch. I should note that I do have a problem spending in general. I am more comfortable leaving cash in investments. Once in a while I can talk myself into buying something if I can somehow contort my thoughts of the purchase into thinking that it was an actual investment.

My thoughts turn back to the conversation with my friend and how he systematically laid out all the benefits of a Rolex. He stated enthusiastically how this watch is something you can leave to your kids or grandkids. He adoringly flipped through webpage after webpage of happy watch guys enjoying their Rolex’s with their beautiful families and requisite Labrador glaring adoringly at his master. He went through the technical specifications and I now know that if he ever happened to be diving with his Rolex, the watch is rated to a depth of 1000 feet. The presentation was very compelling, but I am not a watch guy.

It did not seem like a good use of the cash he worked hard for and sacrificed to save. He makes a good living, but I could not see spending this type of money for a watch unless I was up in $750,000 range.

That’s me though and I am not a watch guy (did I mention that?)

He is a watch guy and he sees great value in the Rolex. It makes him happy to let it slightly peek out of his shirt cuff. He can even make a persuasive argument that the Rolex is an actual investment. I am not tempted to go out and buy a Rolex and I honestly highly doubt I will ever be.

I believe we need to reward ourselves in life. We work hard, save and invest and as long as we save with a purchase and have no debt we should give ourselves rewards to keep life interesting. I think that for most moderate income people, big ticket splurges should be narrowed to the few areas that we really enjoy. A Rolex for the “watch guy,” but not a Rolex and a Porsche as the Porsche is designated for the “car guy.”

It’s important that you figure out what kind of “guy” or “girl” you are so you don’t end up splurging on items that you are only going to enjoy in the fleeting moment. Just because you have enough to purchase the Rolex in your bank account does not imply in any way what-so-ever that the purchase is anywhere approaching the realm of practical. A Rolex is not sensible and never will be. However, if it’s a reward for living sensibly and you are sure you are a “watch guy” then it is acceptable. I suppose.

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