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.
For this edition of Behind the Lens, I’m sharing a series of photographs of one of the great watches of our time, the Philippe Dufour Duality. The Duality, with its linked twin escapements, was originally planned for production in a series of 25 watches. In a turn of events that seems almost unbelievable today, a lack of initial demand eventually led Dufour to limit production to just nine pieces, one of which is owned by a good friend of mine.
If you like watches at all, you have certainly seen wristshots, and perhaps you have even posted a few of your own. Like the selfie, wristshots seem to be ubiquitous these days. But where did wristshots come from, why do they exist, and what are the pitfalls to look out for?
For the past five years, I’ve had the delightful experience of traveling to Switzerland with several friends to experience SIHH week, before finishing up with a Friday night dinner at which we review our impressions of the week by answering what watch we thought was best of show at SIHH; what was the worst watch; what current-production watch that we saw at any event during the week would we buy if money were no object; and what current-production watch did we see that we would buy with our own money?