A $7,000 watch

I walked in the other day and my colleagues were shooting the breeze. They were both staring at the computer and were online looking at watches. Seemed harmless enough. So I sat down and asked them how much the watch cost? 

A Patek Philippe watch costing $12,100!

They said $7,000! I almost spit out my coffee. $7K! 7 grand! That’s an expensive watch. That’s how much my 2011 Nissan Altima is worth.

I did a quick Google search I see that $7,000 is cheap for a high end watch. The most expensive watch I could find costs $55 million. If you are frugal, then you can get a watch for $20,000 to $60,000. Seems like a good deal right?

It got me thinking, how much actual time could a $7,000 watch buy you? How much would that $7,000 free future you from work?

Telling time versus your time?

If I took that money and put it into an investment that paid 5% for 10 years, it would increase to $11,541. So I could gain a 60% return on my investment in 10 years. That extra $4,541 would buy me a month of retirement at age 47 if I am living off of $60,000 a year.

Over 20 years that $7,000 becomes $19,027. The gains could buy me 2.4 months of retirement at age 57.

This one purchase, this watch, would take away 1 to 2.4 months of my retirement. Considering the average lifespan is 80 years, that leaves me with 516 months of life left. This watch purchase would take 1 to 2.5 of those months away from me. It would cost me 0.2 to 0.46% of my remaining days.

One purchase can take that much time away from future me! It may not seem like much, but it is.

I would rather have that month or two of my life available in case I burn out from work. Owning my time. Not working.

Walking. Enjoying my son and wife. Eating good food. Being outside. All these things that my day job cuts into. All of the things that don’t require a set time. An appointment.  

So no thank you. I do not want an expensive watch or car. In fact, I do not want an expensive house and am going to have to figure out my downsize strategy in the next few years.

Your watch?

So what is your $7,000 watch? Would you purchase one? Do you have an expensive hobby?  How much time is it actually costing future you.  

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Also published on Medium.

DadsDollarsDebts

I am a Dad and Doctor trying to find financial freedom by owning my dollars and debts. Helping dads with their finances so they can focus on the family.

40 thoughts on “A $7,000 watch

  • October 7, 2017 at 6:56 am
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    Sorry I missed this post earlier. When I first went into practice everyone wanted a Rolex. Now I hardly see them. I never bought one. I started using my cellphone for time long ago.

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    • October 7, 2017 at 12:30 pm
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      Yeah it is funny how these things shift over time. I think that is one reason I am more of am minimalist. I appreciate how transient everything is and so am not too attached to it…

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  • October 6, 2017 at 11:10 am
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    hey threre, I am new to your site.
    I always wondered what people think of doctors and lawyers that dont drive expensive cars..? Could you elavorate or perhaps later on make a post about it? what people usually think of you? my thought is that if a lwyers is driving a cheap car is not that he is frugal but rather that he has no success ( which I know I am totally worng but thats what people usually think) one of my employees told my wife she swear to god that she thought she was driving a BMW, it really got me thinking though. I guess it makes them safer to think that I will be able to pay their checks when I am driving a new Tesla or that 80k mercedes rather than my 8k old truck.? would be nice to hear your input.

    Now, about watches. My ceiling is $300.0 if I ever wanted to buy one. Most expensive watch I ever bought? maybe $20.0 since I wanted one of those walmart watches to go to the beach. Eitherway, I have $200.0 watches and couple 100s ones that I havent used in years. So, my use fo them is minimal maybe 1 or 2 times per year. even though my dad always want to buy me one around $400- 800 I always tell him ” dont waste the money, plus I dont use them anyways” unlike me, my dad spends on all these things, probably spend over 15k in watches already, he does use them everyday and they are usually less than $1000.0 but he doesnt make more than 70k a year…

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    • October 6, 2017 at 8:39 pm
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      Great idea for a post Andy! Thanks for the suggestion.

      I think most of my colleagues know I don’t care about expesinve things. It makes us have less to talk about, but not so much where we cannot relate. My parents understand it less because they feel that if I am working hard and making money, then I should be spending it.

      Luckily doctors are a bit different then lawyers. Even the least successful docs are pretty successful financially. I assume it would be different if you were a plastic surgeon and had to put on an image.

      It’s interesting how different fathers and sons can be. My dad and I are the same in some of these things (i.e. buying expensive stuff).

      Reply
  • October 4, 2017 at 3:18 pm
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    Wow $7K for a watch!! If they really like it and have the money to pay for it without demolishing their bank account then go for it. I would have loved to witness that conversation that you were in and see how serious your colleagues were in buying that watch.

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    • October 4, 2017 at 8:26 pm
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      Ha…I was the fly on the wall, as I often am when it comes to watches, cars, and other high end products. It’s not that I am cheap, I just prefer to spend my cash elsewhere.

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  • October 4, 2017 at 9:18 am
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    I was curious what a 55 million watch looked like…

    Jesus!!! It doesn’t even look like a watch. Like when you look a human beings who are 800lbs and wonder if that’s still a human being/form. That watch looks fattt. Talk about bad taste!

    My friend brought a expensive Cartier watch because there’s an investment opportunity in it, I rather have stocks but you know…it’s a bet.

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    • October 4, 2017 at 8:25 pm
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      I am not sure I believe in the true investment capabilities of things like watches, rugs, or art work. Sure they can appreciate in value, but if you need the cash it may be difficult to sell it. If you are uber wealthy, then who cares. Indulge in the finer things like ancient swords or huge watches, but for the average guy it is a hard, illiquid investment to own.

      Reply
  • October 3, 2017 at 4:50 pm
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    Haha no $7,000 watch for me! Not even interested in the least. But I would have loved to be a fly on the wall during that conversation. For me, I love to travel and don’t have an issue spending money on it. I definitely try to keep it as cheap as possible, but I am also not afraid to live a little: get the fancy beer or expensive meal or outing that may cost more than I should be spending. Some people would be appalled by how much I spend on traveling, but it adds so much value to my life. Similarly, I can’t understand why people spend so much on handbags, cars, jewelry, houses, etc, but its completely all in what you value.

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    • October 3, 2017 at 5:32 pm
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      Travel and food are my Achilles heals too. I don’t buy fancy things, but often buy experiences. To each their own I guess.

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  • October 3, 2017 at 4:49 am
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    I would rather have my time than tell time on an expensive watch. Spending that much money on a watch just pushes financial independence further down the road. Plus my iPhone keeps time better than an automatic movement.

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    • October 3, 2017 at 6:38 am
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      Cell phones really have changed the need for a lot of things. No watch, no alarm clock in the bedroom, no GPS system in the car, no physical book. It is pretty wild.

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      • October 3, 2017 at 8:04 am
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        Then again, that $100/month super phone plan that most people have would have grown to $20,100.90 over a ten year period (with a 7% return).

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        • October 3, 2017 at 9:03 pm
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          Touche. You are absolutely correct…maybe that flip phone I had in the 1990s would have been a better investment!

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  • October 2, 2017 at 10:19 pm
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    The history of watches are interesting–how they came to be a status symbol, and how time being the most valuable commodity was at one time literally true.
    And interesting how we hang on to symbols of the past without really knowing why. In a world of smartphones, watches seem redundant, but we still value them because of this inherited interpretation of associated status.
    I’m making no judgments. I value some things that don’t make a lot of logical sense, either. Just interesting to reflect on it.
    (I might start judging at $55mil, though. Ha.)

    Reply
    • October 3, 2017 at 6:37 am
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      That is an interesting reflection in deed…when watched were first made, it must have been revolutionary. The ability to accurately identify the time of day even if it was cloudy. Thus the beginning of the 9 to 5.

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      • October 12, 2017 at 11:36 am
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        Yes, and only the bosses could afford watches. They literally controlled time. They would send a special worker to your house to serve as an alarm clock before alarm clocks existed. And if they told you the wrong time, well… you had no way to prove it and what recourse could you really take?

        So it’s a luxury symbol because only the super rich could afford them, and they could then use that ability to measure time as a way to take advantage of workers worse than they already were.

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        • October 12, 2017 at 7:02 pm
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          It is a luxury for sure…I did not know that history which is pretty wild but makes sense.

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  • October 2, 2017 at 7:15 pm
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    I can’t stand the “you only live once” argument when people use it this way.

    Of course you only live once – so you should be really diligent in applying your money to things that are meaningful in your life. A shiny piece of metal on your wrist may make you feel special for a bit but the second it gets scratched or stolen you’re going to regret having bought it.

    I like the approach of looking at the freedom that money could buy you instead – WAY more worth it!

    Reply
    • October 6, 2017 at 11:15 am
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      I had an employee , his motto was YOLO! all day long…

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      • October 6, 2017 at 8:42 pm
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        It’s true…you only live once, but what do you want that life to mean. That is the bigger question.

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  • October 2, 2017 at 8:59 am
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    I love watches but even with my love for watches, I would have a very hard time spending $7,000 on a watch. However, to each their own. Some people want a fancy car, a big engagement ring, expensive vacations…others want a fancy watch. If it fits into his budget, then good for them. I definitely wont be spending that on a watch any time soon. Then again, this person who bought the watch might be appalled at how much much I’ve spent on my beer brewing set up.

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  • October 1, 2017 at 3:22 pm
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    My wife and I each bought one expensive watch years ago (which cost less than $7,000, but are still considered luxury watches), and have no plans to buy any more. We only wear them to fancy events, a couple of times a year. Other than that, it makes me nervous to wear mine.

    I don’t necessarily think they were good purchases, economics-wise. It’s more along the lines of thinking that there are people in this world that place stock in that, and if I need to network with those people, I want to be able to have the “look”.

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    • October 1, 2017 at 8:12 pm
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      I suspect if part of your business is perception then it is important to do so. Many doctors feel the same way. They have to dress a certain way for their patients to feel they are good doctors. This is probably true early in a career when you are young and not “gray haired”. Also if you do not have a reputation in the town that you are practicing in. As time goes on I suspect perception becomes less important for docs.

      Reply
  • September 30, 2017 at 5:04 pm
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    The only person I’ve ever known who owned a PP watch had her home foreclosed last year. Enough said.

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    • October 1, 2017 at 8:10 pm
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      Ouch…well that is unfortunate and poor planning on their part. Sorry to hear it and hope they are on better financial footing now.

      Reply
  • September 30, 2017 at 3:28 pm
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    I think it’s all relative. His colleagues are probably cardiologists as well. So a $7,000 watch as a one time purchase is not unreasonable and they can certainly afford it.
    Here’s the average salary from salary.com.
    Physician – Cardiology – Non-Invasive $400,449 Sacramento,CA

    Reply
    • October 1, 2017 at 8:09 pm
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      They are Cardiologist and $7,000 is likely 1 week of pre-tax work. So 1 week of work for a watch, it’s a trade off and one that each person needs to determine if it is worth it for them.

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  • September 30, 2017 at 9:41 am
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    Ouchhhh. I try not to judge how people spend their money, but I can’t really fathom how that would be a prudent purchase. I think my Achilles heel is wanting to spend money on appliances. Just in the last few weeks I’ve caught myself price-checking wine chillers and a Roomba. In my defense, these still don’t add up to $7,000. 😉

    If you’re living a truly frugal lifestyle that’s below your means, you usually don’t want to spend that kind of money on consumer goods anyway. It’s a result of a totally different life perspective.

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    • October 1, 2017 at 6:15 pm
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      Different lifestyle perspective. We have an expensive home with higher end appliances. I would not have put them in if I had built the house and suspect I paid for them in the overall cost of the house…if they do need replacement I likely will not choose the highest end items again. For me, the minimal improvement in function does not justify the cost.

      Reply
  • September 30, 2017 at 7:37 am
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    I haven’t worn a watch in 20 years. I never found them comfortable. Even if I did, I’d be worried about scratching and/or losing a $500 watch, let alone a $7K watch. Hey, if it has value to you and you can afford it, that’s fine. But the “you only live once” excuse is juvenile, and it’s the type of comment that tells me your co-worker cannot afford it.

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    • October 1, 2017 at 6:13 pm
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      I think part of why I do not own super expensive things. Damage done hurts more…for now I have a 8,000 dollar car that when it gets scratched doesn’t bother me too much. I imagine if it was a $50k car I would be stressed about imperfections…same also for a watch.

      My wife gave me the only watch I wear as a gift and it has a scratch on it. I look at that scratch and sometimes wish it wasn’t there, but it does remind me that I have used and enjoyed the watch over the years.

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      • October 6, 2017 at 1:26 pm
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        Hi E.J. Not sure if you’re still checking replies, but if you are and find yourself back in one of your “sometimes wish it wasn’t there” moments, you might check with a local jeweler to see if the scratch can be buffed out, or if they can at least minimize its appearance.

        Reply
  • September 30, 2017 at 5:42 am
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    I’m going to preference my statement by saying I own a 20 dollar Timex watch. Everyone has different things they value or enjoy. Everyone has something they have that others would find extravigent. Its the sum of what they spend their money on that really makes the difference. One watch, if that’s their self indulgence, might be worth that month to be happy (wouldn’t be to me but maybe to hem). A watch collection or a Mercedes, a watch and a McMansion just to show off is a waste of that time. Not saying that’s the case here, just thinking devils advocate a bit.

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    • October 1, 2017 at 6:10 pm
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      Truly the devil is in the details I guess. In my colleagues case I am not sure. Likely a combination. Some enjoyment from the watch and some enjoyment from the ability to get noticed for the watch. Thanks for playing devil’s advocate. It is important to do in all arguments.

      Reply
  • September 30, 2017 at 4:26 am
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    Its INSANE people are willing to spend that much on a watch. I had someone try to convince the other day I needed an apple watch and I chuckled. I am pretty sure my phone tells the EXACT time…

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    • October 1, 2017 at 6:09 pm
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      It is interesting what people value…for some it is time, for others travel, and yet still for some a watch. For me owning that type of luxury item does not improve my overall happiness or life experience. I am happy to spend on somethings but they truly have to increase my day to day enjoyment.

      Reply

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