What is Buying On Time?

If you're reading this, you're probably wondering what Buying On Time is all about. I know -- I would be thinking the same thing. The predecessor to that inquiry, at least to some of you, is likely, "What does 'buying on time' even mean?"


Taken for face value, "buying on time" is a term that was predominantly used in the first half of the 20th century. It referred to the purchasing of items on credit and was typically done so through installment sales agreements. Professor Martha Olney of the University of California at Berkeley explained in her book Buy Now, Pay Later: Advertising, Credit, and Consumer Durables in the 1920's that “societal attitudes toward borrowers changed radically between 1900 and 1920; by the mid-1920s, buying on credit was considered normal, not sinful.” While this appeared to be a blessing to many and afforded many average and below-average families the ability to purchase goods they never could have attained before, this ultimately led to a large credit bubble by the end of the decade. In hindsight, credit sales were arguably a primary factory in the United States' infamous Great Depression. Does this mean I think folks should buy on credit (when they don't have the cash to cover it)? After all, it would appear that I named my watch involvement after the concept. As a tax accountant by day (husband and animal menagerie coordinator by night), I can firmly say that I DO NOT recommend this type of purchasing. We will eventually be facing the next national and worldwide credit bubble soon enough; we are already seeing its ill effects. However, I'm not hosting an economics forum here, so I'll abandon this sub-topic for greener pastures. 

Private Credit Market Debt to GDP in the U.S.

1920's General Motors car sales publication

What Buying On Time truly is might be explained best by why you are here in the first place. When we purchase timepieces, we are figuratively "buying on time"; spending our hard earned dollars on this fascination that we have with watches. If you're like me, you don't go a week without at least considering what watch you'd be thrilled to acquire and immediately throw into your rotation. (Truth be told, if you were like me you'd have watches, in whole and in part, flowing out of your ears...trying to determine how many more you can manage before your wife threatens legal action.) Literally, though, each and every day that we wake up, pick out our watch, and strap it tightly on our wrists, we are "buying on time". We don't know how much time we have left or how many days we are afforded. Still, we seek to enjoy each of the passing moments that our timepieces so loyally remind us of. Deep down, we understand that we, and those around us, are better served if we aim to make each day count -- making it worthwhile until our time is up.


I hope that you enjoy this website and what is to come, Lord willing. May we not take our time for granted and make concerted efforts to make a positive difference in each day's adventure. In the words of Michael Altshuler, "The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot."