Many watches hold a special significance for their owners. The watch I am chronicling here didn’t just change someone’s life, it changed MY life: the Jean Daniel Nicolas Two-Minute Tourbillon by Daniel Roth.
In the “Objects of Desire” series, I’ll be looking at pieces that fall into the latter two categories – a mix of unobtanium and timenotrightium, as my Quill & Pad colleague Joshua Munchow might say. And, where better to start on the topic of desire than with the watches of Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey?
This is the first in a planned series of “why I bought it” articles that will unfold here over time. Of course, there will be photos – and lots of them – but I hope you’ll find my commentary on a collector’s mindset and the motivations, delights, and possible misgivings behind each individual transaction interesting, too. Let’s start the series off with a bang: the Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon.
“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.
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.
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.
When it comes to manufacturing in Russia and Eastern Europe, the typical items that most often spring to mind tend to be nesting dolls, Fabergé eggs, amber jewelry and many of the world’s best-built fighter jets and machine guns.