Sentimental Value?
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  1. #1
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    Sentimental Value?

    What gives something "sentimental" value? I've never really been able to nail it down for myself.

    Is it dollar value? Sentimental items always seem to be on the expensive side. Everyone wants Grandma's jewelry not her Tupperware even though both were items she had for decades.

    Is it some sort of connection to a personal object? If that was the case Grandpa's eyeglasses would be just as sentimental as his watch, but few people want eyeglasses handed down to them.

    Of course I'm asking this as it pertains to watches. Is it some sort of historical thing where a hundred years ago a watch was something many men aspired to own and because of it's significant cost at the time was handed down from father to son? Has this view carried forward even though most watches sold in the last 50 years are much more of a general consumer item? Have we been culturally brainwashed into believing a watch is more than it is? It's a device for measuring time, not something that embodies who the owner is. When you inherit a watch, you get a watch, not a piece of who the person was.

    I just don't understand it even though what brought me to this hobby was looking for information on my grandfathers watch that I received after his death.

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  2. #2
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    Re: Sentimental Value?

    For me, sentimental value is having memories associated with a watch. For example, I wore my birthyear Datejust when I proposed to my finacee and I lent the same watch to my brother during his wedding (he's not into watches at all). Because of these fond memories, the DJ is very sentimental to me and one watch in my collection I will probably never sell.

  3. #3
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    Re: Sentimental Value?

    Sentimental value to me is that it reminds me of a person or event when I see the item. I see tubberwares al lthe time in my home, in my friends home, in my relatives home, etc etc. So when I see a tubberware, it doesn't distinctively remind me of anyone in particular. On the other hand, my father's watch that I have seen him wore my entire childhood brings a distinctive memory of my father. Yes there are many people with that watch out in the world but I never saw anyone else with it or at least not regularly to the point that I associate it with my father.

    Another example are pets. My dog's first toy I ever bought him has sentimental value but I can buy another one any day of the week. However, I have actually never seen that specific toy besides at a few pet stores. I have never played with another dog with that toy nor have I even see another dog with it. Yet it is readily available on Amazon to everyone.

    So what I am trying to say is, if that item can be distinctively associated with a single person/animal/event/memory/etc then it carries sentimental value. That is of course in my opinion.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Sentimental Value?

    It's a personal thing. Sounds like you don't get it, which is fine. My wife is like that, but I attach sentimental value to a variety of things from family members. Both views are valid, and to be honest, your view is probably more logic and certainly more practical as you don't accumulate crap.

    :)
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  6. #5
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    Re: Sentimental Value?

    Interesting post. An heirloom in general is an object of some value that has been passed down across generations. You can separate this into two components: an object with high intrinsic value and the sentiment, or value of the object being associated with a beloved family member. However, you can certainly have sentimental attachments to objects that are not of high value. For instance, my wife has a quilt made by her great grandmother that she treasures, yet the quilt itself has little to no value to anyone other than my wife.

    It is interesting to me that the tradition of passing down an object of high value, inherently means that for a recipient to realize that value, they would have to sell it, thus negating any sentimental association to it. So, it could be in that case, the gifter's intention of merely passing down wealth.
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    Re: Sentimental Value?

    I think it is mostly concentrated around objects that served intimate tasks during someones life. A watch, like heirloom china or a particular chair, was there for moments in a life, moments you yourself will experience. When you look at a watch to check the time, it is the same experience your grandfather had. Not so much for Tupperware, which just held food. But a cast iron cook pot on the other hand, that was an ACTIVE participant in an activity, and when you cook it can bring you closer to your grandma, for example. Same thing with tools for me, though I confess to less attachment to power tools than hand tools (maybe the same carries over to quartz watches versus mechanicals?). But a painting, which is kind of a static display in my opinion, I can't get too moved over unless it is either worth something or has some particular story of relevance (a painting OF my family is different, of course). But a grandfather clock, you do have to interact with it, and perhaps even the aural connection, so powerful for humans, can make it an heirloom independent of value. Same for a cigar box that still carries the smell of grandpa.

    I suspect you will have less sentimental connection to watch #10 in a collection, versus THE WATCH your dad wore in your memories. Folks with large collections that intend to hand them down to future generations might well remember that :P

  8. #7
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    Sentimental Value?

    My guess is two things: proximity to the wearer and the inherent mechanism.

    We tend to treasure objects closer to the body as “heirlooms” rather than, say, cars or yachts. Of all the things you wear, clothes and shoes don’t last as long. So rings, lockets, watches keep their shape best and can be treasured.

    The other part unique to watches is that it moves. Lots of stories quote servicing a father’s old, dead watch and seeing it tick again as a deeply symbolic and emotional moment. Of course, there are plenty of people out there who wouldn’t care less about an inherited Hamilton or Bulova collecting dust in a drawer... but WISs think otherwise.

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    Re: Sentimental Value?

    If you find yourself questioning the wisdom of selling a watch because you’ve been through a lot together or great aunt Ethel bought it you then it has sentimental value.

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    Re: Sentimental Value?

    I can't say I've ever associated sentimental value with financial/expense.. something can be sentimental and be worth a lot but the two are distinct concepts. It would be like pointing to a red ball and saying, because it's red, it's a ball; or because it's a ball, it's red. Not exclusive but not dependent either. For me, sentimental value is more about the person/memories associated with the thing. I'm pretty sure all of us have some watch that was given to us in some shape or form, which doesn't meet WUS/WIS approval, but that none of us would flip/sell/giveaway because of what it represents.
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    Re: Sentimental Value?

    personally, i'd say that the whole idea of sentimental value is value regardless of price versus monetary value being the value in regard to price. the value is the sentiment, the intrinsic importance of the item to you and you alone.

    you may own something that has sentimental value that is worth an incredible sum of money, but the money is not what gives it value, that's sentimental value. furthermore, sentimental value can extend to items that hold no intrinsic monetary value, a letter from an old friend may hold sentimental value.
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