In many machines, there is always one, or yes, maybe a few, components without which the machine becomes something fundamentally different. And so it goes in a wristwatch. You might have noticed that I do not say “watch” and instead say “wristwatch.” This is entirely deliberate as a pocket watch and a wristwatch are two different machines. They share a large amount of components and are definitely related, but one “function critical” component sets them apart. You can see where I am going with this: it’s the watch strap.
When someone says “I’m no prude,” it is pretty easy to imagine what typically comes next: a prudish commentary on some aspect of modern society or youth culture. I like sex. There we go! To the point and leaves no doubt as to intent, I’d say. That said, I typically try to keep my interests in sex and watches somewhat distinct. But does the industry at large?
Once in a while on the collector forums, a question is posed: is there anyone in the collector community who has never, ever, owned a Rolex? As a general rule, respondents to these queries tend to express disbelief that such a creature could possibly exist given the quality and ubiquity of the brand’s watches. Well, folks, I’m here to tell you that such people do exist, and that I’m one of them. How could it be?
Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977. This was a day of soulful heartbreak as I knew I would sorely miss his voice. Elvis owned a number of wristwatches. Good ones. He liked watches, which anyone can still guess because in almost any photo of The King it is not hard to spy an interesting timepiece on his wrist. So in honor of the day of Elvis’ passing in the year he would have turned 80 were he still alive, I’d like to take a peek at some of the watches he’s owned, as well as one watch he not only owned but helped make famous: the Hamilton Ventura.
For Quill & Pad’s themed “Ladies’ Week” in my role as resident collector, my thoughts turned immediately to that other collector in my life: my charming wife. MrsG is perhaps most enthusiastic about her collection of Southwestern Native American arts and jewelry, but let’s get started with a look at her interesting watches, which include excellent examples from Jaeger-LeCoultre, Blancpain, Alain Silberstein, Audemars Piguet, and more.
Talking to Eric Singer about watches is like cramming four months’ worth of casual shop talk into one hour: Singer is really, really into watches. One of rock’s hardest working drummers, he has played with acts like Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, Lita Ford, and Gary Moore as well as Kiss. In addition to a love of music, Singer inherited a love of timepieces from his father; his extensive collection illustrates his passion for the subject.
One evening while we were sipping away at his ex-wife’s stock of 1945 Pétrus, my buddy Slippery Steve and I contemplated a few of the essential questions in life, the kind that rarely find a real answer. Where do I come from? Is there life after death? Can I wear brown shoes after 6:00 PM? Is my Audemars Piguet a fake? Following on that conversation, Slippery Steve and I offer you six easy ways to recognize if your watch is fake. No prior knowledge needed and entertaining photography guaranteed!
Seems it wasn’t that long ago (in reality, it was close to a year ago) that I wrote my first “Objects of Desire” article about the watches of Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey, finishing with: given the prices of their watches I was unlikely to be able to buy any of the ones I truly lusted after anytime soon. My observation at the time was “go big or go home.” As you will see, I’ve ended up going big and am now the proud owner of a Greubel Forsey Invention Piece 1.
“Whether collecting art or watches, when I fall in love with something, then I need to understand, I need to research deeply,” Mo Coppeletta explains. “You may have taste, but if that isn’t backed up with knowledge then it is superficial.” Coppoletta was wearing an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Skeleton. “It’s my summer watch,” he commented. What else does he own and how did he get into collecting watches?
Roger Smith holds a special place in the pantheon of independent watchmaking, both on his own merits and as the man who worked most closely with the legendary George Daniels. While any Smith watch is rare, the particular Series 2 that you see photographed in this article is in fact unique: it’s the only such watch in stainless steel that Smith has yet produced.