When my grandfather passed away, he left a watch in safekeeping for me and I treasure it to this day. Fully forty years later, I inherited a previously unseen box of my grandfather’s watches, revealing him to have been what I had become: a watch collector.
I am the resident “collector” for Quill & Pad. My enduring love affair with good watchmaking began in my formative years and has accompanied me throughout my adult life. In the fortunate position to be able to acquire luxury timepieces as an adult, I am choosy in terms of quality and meaning and do not follow the mainstream art of collecting as it is primarily understood today.
I have been an active contributor to online horological fora for about a decade as I have also become very interested in learning the art of macro photography and even take lessons with wizard photographer Ming Thein. I joined Quill & Pad as the concept of talking about what interests the contributors (and therefore the readers) rather than the act of being an amplifier for industry press releases appeals to me greatly.
Entries by GaryG
What is the real difference between a novelty watch and a classic timepiece? Is it possible to make a watch providing a novel and entertaining display of time that is wearable in a variety of settings and will be respected years from now? I believe that I own such a piece: the Ludovic Ballouard Upside Down.
I love independent watchmaking and independent watchmakers; one of my great joys as a collector is having the feeling that, in a small way, I am supporting their efforts.
So I put some thought into why independent watchmakers struggle in a business sense and how they can remain relevant in changing market situations.
Like many people, my starting point for serious watches was with a well-priced brand long known for its expertise in developing movements, justly viewed as offering good value for money – but not necessarily for the refinement of its movement finishing, at least on its less expensive pieces. What have I learned since then?
Just as the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a collection, no matter its eventual size or value, begins with a single watch. This is the story of the first watch that I bought for myself, one that I still own and wear 45 years later: a chronometer bearing the Bucherer name.
A piece that for me is a long-term keeper, is the wonderful Antiqua by Vianney Halter. The truth is that I fell for the Antiqua when I first saw one more than a dozen years ago; while many of my friends will freely confess that at the time they were at first put off by its looks, I was smitten from the start. But that’s not all that I love about this watch.
My first rule when it comes to collecting is to avoid setting too many exclusionary rules. If, however, I force myself to set criteria for what constitutes collecting to me, I keep coming back to passion and enjoyment. Nevertheless, there are lots of “safe queens” in the watch world. Yes, I’m looking at you, Mr. “Triple Sealed In Its Own Original Geneva Air And Never Wound Let Alone Chimed Patek Minute Repeater.”
Date: late February 2010. Place: a small San Francisco restaurant. Players: an informal group of Northern California watch collectors, all owners of at least one Kari Voutilainen watch. One of the members of the group nonchalantly mentioned, “I’ve been talking with Kari about something . . ..” It was a set of bespoke Kari Voutilainen Masterpiece Chronograph II models. Time: two seconds later. Response: “I’m in!”
Given my recent musings on these pages about the relative roles of rarity and complication in driving the value of a watch, it seems appropriate to dedicate this “Behind the Lens” entry to a piece that is both complicated and limited in production: Patek Philippe’s Reference 5950A. What’s so special about this watch? Well, first of all it’s a split-seconds chronograph. What else?
As much as I love watches, I love the people who are occupied with our specialized hobby even more! So, you can imagine that I immediately began scheming about how to route my travels through New York when I opened my inbox one morning several weeks ago to find this message: “You are invited: invitation to the F.P. Journe Tourbillon Anniversary Event.”