As our regular readers know by now, my role here at Quill & Pad is to share my perspectives as an enthusiast collector. Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a lively exchange with a number of friends on just that topic, and as it became very interesting, I’ve decided to share an abridged version of it with you.
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
“I have no secrets as past watchmakers had. There are graveyards full of secrets and that’s enough.” –Philippe Dufour, 2014
Have you heard of Philippe Dufour?
Chances are, if you have been collecting watches for any significant period of time, his name is well known to you. If not, let me enlighten you.
This hobby ostensibly centers on the watches, but in reality it’s all about the people. The first person in this story is friend, fellow collector, and photographer Howard Parr. Inspired by the memory of his late stepmother, Libby Parr, and her courage in the face of ovarian cancer, Howard undertook a photographic journey to capture images of other women who are fighting ovarian cancer. The resulting images are both beautiful and inspiring.
As part of my “enthusiast collector” role here at Quill & Pad I will be taking a look at watches that strike my fancy, and sharing the visual results with you along with a few observations on photography, the watches themselves, and the collectors who own them.
Let’s get started, shall we? Our subject for this episode: the F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain with remontoir d’égalité.
De gustibus non disputandum est, as they say: there is no arguing about taste! In particular, I’m not one to tell people what they can do with their belongings. If you, for instance, want to take your Ferrari, paint it pink, and put a giant Hello Kitty decal on it, that’s your privilege. That doesn’t mean that I have to like the item in question. In this instance, I am referring to the Grieb & Benzinger re-interpretation of the classic A. Lange & Söhne Pour le Mérite Tourbillon christened Blue Merit.
You’ll forgive me, but these days the show “season” seems to run pretty much year-round. SIHH in January and Basel in the spring, and then before you know it we’re into Watches and Wonders (Hong Kong), Salon QP (London), SIAR (Mexico) and Belle Montres (Paris).
My first rule when it comes to collecting is to avoid setting too many exclusionary rules.
I am sure that there are many theme-centered watch collectors who put emphasis on things such as owning one of each Omega vintage chronograph from a certain year or Elgin railroad watches of a particular decade. These people might consider what I do far too haphazard to be labeled “collecting,” for instance.
If, however, I force myself to set criteria for what constitutes collecting to me, I keep coming back to two rules for myself: passion and enjoyment.
And this is perhaps best defined by asking yourself, “Are you emotionally engaged with the items you collect, be they watches, cars, or bottle caps, and do you take advantage of all of the enjoyable aspects of owning them?”
With watches, I believe, the former criterion – passion – is what separates collectors from investors and accumulators. Which brings me to the second criterion: deriving the full enjoyment from the things you own.