I really wanted to do a write up about Watch Gang since I am focusing on value for dollar spent. I’ve been an active subscriber to Watch Gang for the last 7 months, and felt I should give my input here. I would like to first and foremost state that I am in no way affiliated with Watch Gang, and the views reflected here are my own honest opinions.
So the first and most obvious question is: Is it worth it? That really all depends on what you are looking to do. If you are looking to make a quick buck by getting a watch that will sell for more than you paid, this is not the place for you. If you are honestly curios about trying different styles of watches that you wouldn’t normally buy, then welcome home. Watch Gang is great because you don’t pick what you get, plain and simple. It forces you to at least try something out of your comfort zone. I’ve tried and learned more about what I really do and don’t like than I would have been able to on my own, solely because I received something I never would have bought of my own accord. This is something that in the watch world is worth it’s weight in gold. It’s kept me from spending hundreds of dollars on a watch I would have hated because of the size, shape, movement, etc…
Watch Gang offers three different subscription levels: Original for $50, Black for $100, and Platinum for $300, plus $10 shipping at each level. Most of the watches you receive will be “mushroom brands” which is basically a brand that has been created with no real background or history behind them solely to slap a name on a watch. Most of these mushroom brands will claim an outrageous MSRP solely to make it look like you got a great deal when in reality the watch has zero resale value outside of the private exchange page (more on that later). This sounds like a bad thing, and it sort of is, but what it allows Watch Gang to do is send you a watch that is really worth more than you pay when it comes to specs. I will break down each tier a little more.
With the Original tier, everything you get will be quartz. This is the tier I actually subscribed to for the majority of my membership, solely because it was the cheapest way to access all of the extra perks that come with a Watch Gang membership. I’ve had quite a few watches from this level come through my hands and I feel pretty much all of them justified the initial price tag. These were also some of the easiest to sell within the exchange, just because the price was so low. The highlight of this level has to be the Nautis 200 Pro Dive. For the money it’s hard to complain about an accurate Japanese movement with ok lume and a 200m water resistance. I ended up buying three of these in total just because they were so good for the money and came in a pretty large color range. For the most part the Original tier watches made great work beaters that allowed me to try different styles I would have passed over otherwise at a relatively cheap price.
Moving on to the Black tier, things start to get a little more complicated as this is the price point where you really start to move up in the watch world. For my part too many chronographs go out in the Black tier subscription, but if you are okay with that this is a great level for you. At this point you will receive a mix of quartz and automatic movements, which again is really spot on for this price point. Almost all of the automatic watches I’ve seen go out on this level used Seiko NH35 movements, which is a great deal at this price point. I’ve seen quartz watches go out with 500m water resistance, autos with 200m water resistance, and really nice dress watches that were auto as well. It really is a great mix of watches going out. The downside to all of this is that most of them were again mushroom brands that offer no real resale value outside of the private exchange group. That said, twice since I’ve been a member they have sent out automatic Spinnaker’s, and BOLDR chronographs, as well as CCCP automatics that couldn’t even come close to being bought at that price anywhere else. The real homerun though for me was the Heritor Morrison. It’s pretty much a blatant rip off of the Seiko Turtle, but offers a Seiko NH35 movement with a 200m water resistance and pretty good lume at a third of the price. I liked it so much it pushed me to actually buy a Turtle, which is the only Seiko I’ve ever actually kept. Never would have bothered without finding the Heritor via Watch Gang.
Lastly is the Platinum tier, and I’ve only ever bought one watch from this level. At $300 I feel I can do better without gambling for something I may or may not like. You will still see a lot of mushroom brands at this tier, although some members did get BOLDR Odyssey’s and Tsovet’s this month, which again is the cheapest way to acquire them that I’ve seen. Everything you get at this level will be automatic, and most of the watches I’ve seen use really nice movements. About half of the watches I’ve seen sent out used movements that beat at 28,800 bph, so you get a really nice, smooth sweep. I’ve seen Miyota 9xxx series, Sellita, and ETA movements going out here, and at $300, that’s a solid deal regardless of the name on the dial. The only watch I’ve handled at this level is the Archon Sealiner. It was the first time I really felt like spending the money on a watch regardless of the name because of the look and specs. It uses a Miyota 9122 triple calendar automatic movement, with 200m water resistance, and an internal rotating bezel. I’m saving to pre-order a microbrand with these exact same specs for $450. I saved $150 by going with a watch with a different name on the dial. The value is there. The resale is not. Not outside the private exchange group anyways.
With a subscription to Watch Gang you do get quite a few different perks, and some of them are quite good. They give away a Tag Heuer, a Seiko, and a Rolex once a week to members. The best perk though by miles is access to the exchange. There are roughly 35,000 members in the exchange, and it is a great place to buy watches. I’ve scored some crazy deals there. The exchange is worth the price of the quarterly Original membership if nothing else. You can buy watches from all different tiers typically for less than the original cost of the subscription. The Heritor I mentioned earlier? I snagged it for $75 in the exchange. $75 for a watch that honestly isn’t that far off from my Seiko Turtle? I’ll happily pay that. I’ve made countless deals there, and have come away happy the vast majority of the time. Not only is it a great place to buy and sell watches, but the conversation and advice is great as well.
All things considered, I really consider Watch Gang a worthy investment, even if it’s just the quarterly Original subscription just for access to the exchange. The watches typically aren’t worth more than you pay, but the value is there in the specs of the watches.
If I haven’t convinced you, never fear! I still have something for you! I am going to attempt to go head to head with Watch Gang’s Original subscription, and see if i can find better watches than the subscription offers for the same price. Be sure to keep an eye out for that coming up in the very near future.
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