The Collectors Circle is proud to publish our interview with @watchrookiee. For most of our readers and watch enthusiast, this guy does not need any introduction as he is the definition of a watch influencer. The whole watch community enjoys his feed on Instagram and I am sure many of you see the young Lebanese collector as a role model. So let’s go…
TCC: Let’s start the interview by revealing a secret. I am sure I am not the only one who wants to know why you picked the name “watchrookiee”? Is there any specific reason?
Watchrookiee: When I opened my Instagram page, I was a young guy that was new to watches who just loved taking good photos. So, I felt the name rookiee was perfect for me and this is how I ended up being watchrookiee.
TCC: So, when did you start your watch collection? And what was your first watch that you purchased?
Watchrookiee: For my 18th birthday I received a 116334 Rolex Datejust 2 with a slate grey Roman dial from my beloved Father. 4 years later, when I turned 22, I bought the first watch myself an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Elephant which I still have!
TCC: And what was your latest purchase?
Watchrookiee: The last 3 watches I purchased were a Grand Seiko SBGW255 Tongsa with a jadeite green dial for Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore and a Rolex GMT Master Pepsi in steel ref. 126710BLRO. The third piece is a very very special and crazy piece, which I reveal very soon on my Instagram feed. Stay tuned! I promise you it's wort waiting.
TCC: Some collect cars or art. You collect luxury watches. Why did you choose watches and what inspired you to begin?
Watchrookiee: Watches are with us forever. You can take them on holidays, wear them on your big wedding day, to your important meeting, you can go diving with them … they can just stay with you forever! A car can bring you from point A to B. Art, on the other hand, you can enjoy but only at home. Watches are truly enjoyable 24/7 and you can take them everywhere with you! And as a diamond dealer, I feel it’s the only piece of jewelry I can wear … so at least I gotta try to wear something special, right!? Haha
TCC: How big is your watch collection?
Watchrookiee: Around 20 watches. Some watches come and go but, at the moment, I have around 20.
TCC: What’s your favorite brand and why?
Watchrookiee: Patek Philippe! It’s the watch brand that made me fall in love with watches in general. I remember when I had just started working, I went to visit my dad’s client and he was sitting at his desk setting his watch with a toothpick and I was like “what the hell is he doing?” So, I immediately gave him a compliment about his watch and he showed it to me. I just fell in love with it and this was the moment I knew I had to learn more about this brand. The beginning of a never-ending love story.
TCC: What’s your favorite piece in your collection and why?
Watchrookiee: Patek Philippe Reference 5970G. I mean, it’s just perfect ... the size, the movement, the complications, the history! I would love to add the Platinum version to my collection one day.
TCC: What are you looking to add to your collection?
I’m quite happy with how my collection turned out but I would love to add the 15202ST, the beautiful platinum Daytona Arab dial, the Nautilus 5740G, a beautiful enamel Worldtimer preferably ref 5231J and one day a F.P. Journe Tourbillon … oh, and maybe a 5078P enamel Minute Repeater (you see, it never stops .... haha!)
That’s so true…we all can relate. The wish list is growing by the day!
TCC: Did you ever sell a watch and regret it a few weeks/months later? If so, which one was it?
Watchrookiee: Yes indeed. I sold an Audemars Piguet 15202ST a few years ago to fund my Patek Philippe 5070G and it was my biggest regret ever when I sold it. Back then, it was still easy to get one and it felt like if I missed the 15202ST I could always rebuy it. A few months later, the hype happened on 5711 and 15202’s and market prices exploded ... Such a big regret! The watch was perfect - a steel sports model with a blue dial, super thin and super light and the bracelet finishing is just fantastic! I hope to have it back in my collection one day!
TCC: Imagine that you can only keep two watches of your collection - one for daily use and one for special occasions (e.g. weddings). Which two would you pick?
Watchrookiee: My 5970G for special occasions and the 15202ST that I sold for daily use (see what I did there? I need it back! Haha)
TCC: What’s your favorite complication?
Watchrookiee: A Minute Repeater! I would love to own a Patek Philippe 5078P one day... it’s so beautiful that I could listen to that sound all day! Whoever did so once, knows exactly what I mean.
What is it about the minute repeater that makes it so special to you?
Watchrookiee: For me, it is the most understated complication, because if you only look at the dial, it might look like a very simple watch. When wearing a Patek Philippe 5078P, one could easily think it’s a 5196P! It’s really understatement at its finest. And again, the sound is just so beautiful.
TCC: What are your Top 5 accounts on IG to follow?
Watchrookiee: There are so so so many great accounts out there so this is very hard for me and I’m sure I will miss out a few friends as 5 isn’t enough!
@watch_1505 He’s just such a super nice guy and he truly collects what he likes going from one of a kind Vacheron Constantin watches to Laurent Ferrier to Tudor to Rolex to Patek Philippe Minute Repeaters!
@watchace He made me fall in love with Patek’s 5970s and has a superb collection. And, he is a good friend of mine.
@simoncsfeir He is the son of Claude C. Sfeir. I’m telling you, it’s worth following this account. It can go from one-off titanium Pateks to Rolex prototypes. Claude is my role model as he has one of the best collections in the world and is also Lebanese!
@borrowedtime This is good friend of mine that shares his collecting journey and, can I just say that his collection has evolved so so so much in the past 2 years!? Great page to follow with beautiful pieces.
@zachattack__25 Zach just has everything. It’s insane. If you want to see some very special modern pieces, Zach is the one to follow!
TCC: If you weren’t collecting watches, what would you collect?
Watchrookiee: I started collecting art before I fell in love with watches and then when my watch addiction began, I just forgot about art and focused on watches. So, my guess would be art.
TCC: You are a real influencer within the Instagram watch community and many of our readers appreciate your thoughts and your IG feed. Is there any specific advice you would love to share with the younger generation of watch collectors or people who want to start a watch collection?
Watchrookiee: Today it’s a very hard time to buy modern watches as everyone is looking to buy the same pieces! My advice is to look at catalogues - don’t just look at Instagram for Royal Oaks, Daytonas and Nautilus etc. Instead, learn about the brands and their history. There are so many beautiful discontinued watches out there in the pre-owned market! Don’t follow trends. Try to be different. That’s the reason I purchased a 3970 recently for the same price people pay for a 5711?! So, my advice would be not to follow the market but to follow your heart. The 3970 is for me a part of Patek’s history and is the true art of watchmaking. Just think of how hard it is to make such a complicated watch and movement to make it fit in such a small case of 36mm. It’s just incredible! A Patek Philippe 5711A is nice, yes, but an Audemars Piguet 15400ST does the same job.
TCC: Unfortunately, Baselworld was cancelled this year as a result of coronavirus prevention measures. What were you looking forward to seeing at Baselworld?
Watchrookiee: From Patek, I wished for a white gold 5711G with grey/black dial, a reincarnation of ref 3711G. Also, I wished for a 5905A, and some new watches in the Calatrava product line. From Rolex, I was hoping for slimmer Submariners as they're currently a bit bulky. And from Tudor, I hoped to see more slim cases like reference bb58.
All pictures from Instagram account @watchrookiee