We’re pleased to introduce you to our brand-new series, Meet The Owner, and welcome @Watch_1505 for our first interview with a collector. We’re excited to give you a glimpse into the life of a true watch collector and watch aficionado. At the end of the interview we will share some pictures of his best pieces with you…they’re definitely worth a look!
TCC: When did you begin your watch collection?
My passion for watches and mechanics started in 1979, during my first year of undergraduate degree in finance at a university in Switzerland, and it has continued to be my hobby since then. Generally, a collector is interested in the quality in watchmaking – the talent and perfection that assures each component has its functional purpose and how it displays on the dial.
The most important rule for a watch collector: the word “quartz” does not exist in fine watchmaking.
TCC: What was the first watch you purchased?
A Rolex with simple acrylic glass -this model was the first waterproof Oyster shape watch. And then in 1980, I bought a Rolex Sea-Dweller which was inspired by the story of the experimental deep-sea special watch dive at 10,916 meters depth.
TCC: What made you want to start collecting watches?
There is no specific reason why anybody begins a watch collection. Some take it as investment. Others do it for self-rewarding one’s achievements And then there are others who pursue luxury fashion or just anthropeia uniqueness.
For a real collector though, there is a passion for the art of watch making where you have a strong bond-feeling towards the complexity of micro-mechanical objects and how they accurately interact.
The architectural magic behind the perfectly constructed and aligned working mechanism of the caliber and how it fits into a small case on your wrist to measure time is the collector’s pulling trigger to select a masterpiece. The collector’s emotional attachment adds to their passion for the artisanal crafts (e.g. engraving, skeleton, dial enameling, guilloche, fluted patter, perlagè, engine-turned motifs etc.) which all require a lot of patience, sharp eyes and steady hands from the watch maker to create such a piece.
TCC: What are your favorite brands?
The brand is one of the oldest horology manufacturers that consistently produces magic in time starting from thin, simple watches to one-of-a-kind celestial astronomical Grand complication 3600 watches … nothing in horology is missed.
An independent refined watch brand with a tradition of excellence mixed with dynamic elegance, enriched by a collection of sporty, chic and contemporary pieces with the fine sculpture of time equation instruments.
The pioneer Royal Oak dimension, which radiates its name world-wide, paved the road in steel case patterns. The watch looks sporty and classy at the same time and is built with rigorous standards of watch making techniques.
Admired, respected and valued due to their own foundry, their own gold, machining, certification, science lab, pragmatic in hand craft and machinery. Rolex is a universe of its own name and is accurately trusted to perform as deep as the sea bed and as well as high above the sky. They are build to last and Rolex is Rolex. Period.
TCC: How would you describe your collection strategy?
A real collector does not fall in love with a quantity of luxury or horology watches. Rather, they take an avant-garde adventure to pursue selected horology pieces made and hand-assembled in limited quantities by a skilled watch maker. The collection gradually emerges over the years and only the best pieces are added to the collection.
TCC: What’s your favorite piece in your collection and why?
I do not have a favorite piece. Selected horology pieces from Patek, Vacheron and Audemars Royal Oak are my top-notch pieces, ranging from simple to grand complication ones. The “repeaters” are always the best choice – simple in look and hard to craft.
From a robustness and durability angle, I would choose a Rolex due to its case properties and caliber performance. Other pieces of my collection are the perfectly crafted Laurent Ferrier square steel case and the modern FP Journe bleu.
TCC: Can you tell us about some ideal pieces that you’ve been looking at?
Master pieces like Philippe Dufour, Roger W. Smith, vintage Patek Philippe like 1518 and 2499s would be welcomed. The Greubel Forsey is also under consideration due to their ground-breaking innovations.
TCC: Imagine that you can keep only two watches from your collection – one for the daily use and one for special occasions (e.g. weddings). Which two would you pick?
Keeping two watches is beyond the collector’s mindset as the goal is own several masterpieces with a range of different complications made by a real watchmaker.
What’s your favorite complication?
A watch complication is any function that exists in addition to time display on a timepiece. The Chrono and GMT (or dual time) are the ones I use most often as these are the most useful tools for a jet-setter person who has business or leisure spread across the world.
Some may say the tourbillon complication is an inherently rare and interesting complication but I believe that the tourbillon has no practical purpose nowadays since the split bimetallic balance effect from temperature variances and centrifugal forces for + or – (2 to 3) seconds per day are scientifically controlled with metallurgy advancement of the escarpment balance organ selected alloys. This is said with no offence to Breguet’s 1801 invention and its modern-look tourbillon cage which is a wealth-icon reflection nowadays rather than a chronometric piece challenging the effect of gravity.
TCC: Do you have any inspirations (e.g. celebrity)?
It is worth mentioning that “Ambassadors” are a versatile tool to raise a brand’s product sales rather than light-shedding to the history, quality-make craftsmanship or heritage awareness of a watch. On the other hand, celebrities impose consumers a blind imitation similarities endorsement.
Normally celebrities pursue the high-end horology branded watch as any added luxury supplement side-by-side to super cars, luxury yacht, prestigious travel package or other valuable owned assets.A true collector follows his desire to own a selected pieces and is driven by passion. Personally, I foresee that a well craftsmanship horology brand is an attraction element for celebrities’ media and social life fame promotion; not vice versa. The more self-expression of a horology watch, the more it is valued in collector’s eyes.
TCC: Do you see watches as an investment or as a hobby?
Passion for watches is an evolving process which grows while experiencing pieces’ beauty and functionality. It starts as hobby for enjoyment. And a carefully selected hobby may develop to investment by default, especially if it relates to hand-craftmanship. And in the modern world, any dedicated hand craft is globally admired like Persian carpet, Belgian diamonds, Burgues script calligraphy, “Interchange“ oil-canvas paint by William de Kooning and so on. That said, the watchmaking art is a dedication and hobby to some extent and it is attractive to future generations, and people definitely take risk of investing on such time pieces.
I foresee some horology brands fading through time either due to not evolving or competitors advancing and differencing themselves. Most watch enthusiasts do not collect for the marginal profit returns because there is joy in owning a well-crafted master piece. On the other hand, investors spend significant money on a wrist watch knowing the newly acquired piece will hold its value over the years, which is totally a different approach.
TCC: Where do you see the future of the watch industry from your perspective as collector? Rising prices or watch bubble?
The study and science of time measurement is called horology and through history, different nations invented different devices to measure time. Time measure is always a growing science and continues to evolve due to its importance in life. Therefore, the future of the watch industry rises proportionally over the time.
Technology may pose a threat to the watchmaking industry and lead to loss of traditional watch-making historic techniques, but meanwhile, the independents are those that most dare to challenge such threats and balance the risk equation.
We’re thankful that our dear friend @Watch_1505 shared his insights with us. Do yourself a favor and follow @Watch_1505 on Instagram! He definitely has one of the best watch collections on IG!
All pictures from Instagram account: @Watch_1505