I've really enjoyed reading everyone's insightful comments in this thread!
I define "collecting" pretty broadly. It requires a combination of a state of mind and physical acts.
- The state of mind is any sort of passion or interest. That passion or interest might be aesthetic, it might be technical, it might be historic, etc. It doesn't matter.
- The physical acts are (a) doing any sort of research into watches in pursuit of that passion and (b) acquiring at least two timepieces reflecting that passion.
I view a person with great wealth who buys watches indiscriminately as a hoarder, not a collector. People with unlimited funds have a higher bar to meet my definition of "collector" because people with more modest means cannot buy watches indiscriminately.
A person with some horological passion or interest who owns only one watch definitely has the requisite mindset to be a collector, but because the objective definition of "collection" requires at least two specimens, I can't get over that semantic hurdle and consider that person to be a collector. But they will be, just as soon as they get that second watch!