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Watches are used to mark the milestones in a man’s life. They’re traditional gifts for graduation from high school or college. Your wife may give you one on your wedding day. And a gold watch is still the go-to tribute for years of dedicated service or retirement.

But watches have also evolved into so much more. They’re functional. They’re fashionable. They make a statement about who we are—especially since (besides wedding rings) they’re often the only bling guys wear. Certain brands give us status, but they can also be investments, increasing in value over the years.

 I spend a lot of time thinking about the shopping experience: What motivates me and other consumers to make a purchase and how do we buy the things we buy? No surprise here, I also spend a lot of time on the site. And when it comes to watches, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better place to learn about the industry. A watch is sold on eBay every five seconds—6.8 million of them every year. With prices ranging from mere dollars to hundreds of thousands, I’ve also learned it’s easy for almost anyone to start a collection. Here’s how to get yours ticking...

There comes a time in every gentleman's life when he starts to value time — he values it so much, in fact, that he wants to wear it as a gorgeous piece on his wrist. At this point, it is time to start a watch collection.

This should be done carefully. A gentleman should conduct his research before selecting his first watch. It is a deduction that requires an understanding of not only what is out there, but also of one's own personal style.

Unless you're spending $5,000 to $10,000 you're not going to have an investment-grade watch," says Benjamin Clymer, editor of men's watch site. "Just make sure you buy something that you love ... Really do your homework. ... There's nothing worse than realizing you don't have the watch that you think you have.