Watch Gang Review: A Collector’s Dream or Subscription Nightmare?

Jun 06, 2020
Watch Gang Review: A Collector’s Dream or Subscription Nightmare?

Collecting timepieces can certainly be daunting at first. It’s tough not only to find a community of watch lovers but also to find your sources. Thankfully, Watch Gang makes it easier for a beginner to start collecting. Where common misconceptions make it hard for people to belong, the subscription company aims toward your fulfilment. But the question remains: is this unique subscription service worth your money?

Collecting Timepieces with Watch Gang

Being a collector certainly attracts many misconceptions. Generally, the term is vulnerable to a certain mindset. Particularly, such a hobby is pertinent to the affluent side of society. In fact, gatekeeping keeps people from taking on such interest. However, a lot of brands now allow the common folk to take on commonly misconceived hobbies and interests. As a matter of fact, we now see a new generation of collectors that embrace conscious consumerism. Here’s where Watch Gang comes in.

Watch Gang Founder CEO Matthew Gallagher and his father. Photo from Watch Gang
Watch Gang Founder CEO Matthew Gallagher and his father. Photo from Watch Gang

In September 2016, watch enthusiast Matthew Gallagher founded a community that specifically panders to watch lovers. In this community, collectors, enthusiasts, and even experts get to share their common love for timepieces. There are various activities on the site such as purchasing and reviewing watches as well as sharing tips in maintenance. Members also get to enjoy a monthly or quarterly subscription box with a watch that’s curated according to their style and preference.

“Prior to Watch Gang, there was a huge barrier of entry to becoming a watch collector,” Gallagher told Forbes. The Los Angeles-based company is a product of Gallagher’s adoration for watches. Moreover, a personal experience inspired him to start the company. His father’s passing left him a 1953 Rolex Oyster Perpetual — a birth model. This was chiefly his father’s most prized possession. His story ultimately became an inspiration to the community to also pass on their very collection to their loved ones.

How Does Watch Gang Work?

Watch Gang generally functions as all subscription boxes do. You register and for certain prices (or tiers) you’ll receive a box with a watch systematically picked for you. Every month or every three months (depending on your preference), you’ll receive a watch from various brands that are either established or new.

According to an interview with HuffPost, Gallagher said he wanted to vary his service model from other watch subscription services. “I’m trying to work on partnerships with up-and-coming watchmakers,” he told HuffPost. “I want to expose their brand and their different styles to potential members.” With this in mind, the company leverages on the element of surprise that comes with each package.

“We scour the world for the best watches at all price points,” Gallagher said in an interview with Forbes. “We have found both discovered and undiscovered companies that are making some of the coolest watches, and it’s incredible to see what happens when our members are introduced to those.”

1. Curation

Watch Gang Curation Sign Up
Photo from Watch Gang

It’s pretty easy to join the gang. All you have to do is, of course, register and then you’ll be prompted to begin your curation process. The process is as simple as giving a thumbs up or thumbs down to a certain design they present. Watch Gang’s system will tell you whether or not they’ve come up with your preferred style. However, if you wish to perfect your style, you may continue further with the upvote and downvote process.

2. Pricing

Watch Gang Pricing Subscription Fees
Photo from Watch Gang

Watch Gang offers pretty affordable pricing compared to the prices of the watch you’ll receive. For instance, their most Original plan at $49 per watch provides you with watches that are worth $50-150 MSRP. Under this tier, you may be able to receive watches from brands such as Miyota or Seiko.

In another case, the Black plan sends watches that are under the affordable luxury tier for $99 per watch. You can get either Japanese quartz or Swiss automatic movements. Indeed, this is the best value you can get especially for automatic watches that cost about $500.

Meanwhile, their Platinum plan, worth $299 per watch, has premium brands under its tier. You get brands such as Thomas Earnshaw and NOMOS Glashütte. Basically, through your subscription, you get watches worth more than the subscription price you’re paying for.

According to Watch Gang, a member can save up to 5x off of a watch’s retail value. This is because the company work directly with the brands themselves. In exchange for bulk order, Watch Gang gets the timepieces for discounted prices. For example, they can get a watch that’s worth $100 MSRP for $75 but buy them in bulk.

3. Conditions of Subscription

Moreover, you may opt to have the watches delivered quarterly rather than monthly, which may save you a ton of money. This also gives you ample time to appreciate the last watch you received in the mail before receiving a new one.

However, the company has a no-return, no-exchange policy which is common to most subscription box services. Everything you receive shall be yours to keep. As a mystery watch club, you’ll have no clue what you’ll receive in the mail for the month, but this makes the service exciting. The element of surprise is for the ones who like to discover new brands according to their style and preference.

Watch Gang Wheel of Watches
Photo from Watch Gang

As a member of the gang, you may also opt for other options rather than a subscription. You may use their Wheel of Watches or join flash sales. You may also send a watch as a gift to someone else to which you wouldn’t be able to curate the style preference.

If you don’t like the watch you received, the community is a great place to buy, sell, or trade watches. You may also leave reviews of the watches you receive, which may be of big help to other members.

4. Giveaways

Watch Gang Rolex Friday Giveaway
Watch Gang Rolex Friday Giveaway. Photo from Watch Gang

As aforementioned, every member (subscriber or not) may be able to join giveaways. For non-subscribers, you may still be able to join Wheel Point Wednesdays and Seiko Saturdays. But their most promising giveaways happen twice and are for paying subscribers. Firstly, they have TAG Tuesday. As the name suggests, they giveaway one TAG Heuer every Tuesday of every week. Secondly, and the most sought-after giveaway, Rolex Friday. Once a week, a member gets to win a Rolex. These promising giveaways indeed make the subscription worthwhile.

Pros and Cons of Being a Member

Watch Gang Review
Photo from Watch Gang

There are a lot of pros and cons to consider that may significantly affect whether or not you should sign up for the service. We suggest taking a look at these aspects of the business first before subscribing. After all, this could dictate where your watch collection will be in the months or years ahead.

Pros of Being a Member

As mentioned above, you already have various perks in becoming a member such as giveaways, forums, etc. But it’s best to dive deep into what more you can get for the price you pay for.

Firstly, to receive a watch that’s worth more than the price you’re paying is enticing. It gives you value for your money and might be a good start for a small investment. Secondly, the Watch Gang is a good way to connect with a community of like-minded people. Before it is a subscription platform, it’s also a group of enthusiasts with the same goal. This makes the community an undeniably strong one. Each member is helping one another. Therefore, no one gets left behind. However, the company leverages the most exciting part of the process. Receiving a new every month can be a lot of fun. There’s a sense of anticipation and surprise with every package you receive. You may even be receiving a Rolex and you wouldn’t even know it.

In addition, people who like to find undiscovered gems in the industry may enjoy this service. Since it’s a mystery box service, you’ll never truly know what you’ll get. As Forrest Gump would say, it’s “like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” But this may also lead you to further explore your preferences in watch styles. You may not like thick bezels at first but after receiving on in the mail and wearing it a few times, you might find it growing in you.

Watch Gang Rolex
Photo from Watch Gang

Cons of Being a Member

Receiving a random watch may subsequently result in getting watches that may not meet your expectations. This is just one of the cons that you have to consider when receiving a random watch every month. For people who don’t appreciate the element of surprise, with this in mind, you shouldn’t subscribe to the service. Nothing can tell what you’ll get and therefore you have very little control over the watches you receive in the mail. However far you get into the fine-tuning process of curating your choices, it may still fail to meet your expectations. So, you might be better off buying a watch instead of subscribing.

Moreover, with the price you pay for the subscription, you might as well have bought your dream watch as the year ends. Say you subscribed for the Black membership for 12 months. With standard payment, you’ll have paid Watch Gang $1,188. You might as well have bought a TAG Heuer Formula 1.

You may also receive a watch that’s not suited for your wrist size since sizing isn’t part of their preference curator. More delicate wrists, of course, look best wearing smaller watches. But with the company’s curation process, it’s impossible to know what size you’ll be getting.

Final Verdict: Is A Watch Gang Subscription Worth It?

Watch Gang Review
Photo from Watch Gang

To summarise, whether or not a subscription is worth it is a tricky task. It all depends on whether or not you like being surprised by a new watch every month or every three months. But to register as a member already has perks of its own. Doesn’t mean you have to subscribe. You may opt for the Wheel of Watches or buy through flash sales or community posts.

Watch Gang is worth it, especially if you’re in it for surprises.

With that said, the true value of Watch Gang’s membership can only be measured in the long run. A few months or a few watches in the mail may be able to tell you whether or not this is the subscription service for you. You would always have the freedom to opt-out. However, this doesn’t mean that the money you previously spent was not worth it. After all, watches from Watch Gang will always have a higher value than its original MSRP. This could be great for thrill-seekers and explorers who want to know beyond just the typical brands.

Watch Gang is worth it, especially with the community and values they stand for.

At the end of the day, Watch Gang’s values are what truly stand out. For example, its community. It’s not every day that you get to meet people with the same interest and be truly immersed in the culture. The community is a rich environment to grow your hobby in. Moreover, they provide a lot of useful information to further your growth as a collector.

Secondly, Watch Gang makes sure that no truly promising watch brand gets left behind. Gallagher’s mission to tap new and emerging brands may further the future of the watchmaking industry. Its businesses like these that ultimately keep the market alive. They also cultivate a sense of appreciation toward a variety of designs, brands, and complications.

Watch Gang is worth it, especially for new collectors and/or dealers.

Every watch you receive will have value in it. After all, the buyer can be the only one to determine the true value of the things they buy. With this in mind, if you’re a new collector, Watch Gang is a good place to start. Watches, especially those received under the Black and Platinum tiers, have high resale value. Even if you don’t save 5x as they promised, you can still at least get back what you’ve lost for the purchase.

In conclusion, it’s worth it to try their subscriptions. It’s best to start with the Black tier, too, as we’ve heard more great stories about it than the Original tier. Watch Gang offers a convenient way of helping men to match with the right watch. For such a flat fee, it’s a hit or miss, true. But it doesn’t deny the fact that value for your money is guaranteed. So, be smart. A few months of subscription might just get you a Rolex Daytona in the mail.

 


Looking for more reviews? Check out this review of the Rolex Deepsea and Rolex Sea-Dweller.

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