On January 1, 2022, watch spotters were flummoxed by a photograph of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in their New Year’s Eve party dress. The former POTUS appeared to be wearing a black Royal Oak-style chronograph on a rubber strap. The watch in question turned out to be a collaboration between Teleport, a little-known U.S.-based fashion watch producer, and Actively Black, a U.S.-owned leisurewear company. Colin Alexander Smith managed to get his hands on one for a closer look, which he shares here.
About Colin Alexander Smith
Colin, aka “The Bumbling Watchmaker,” is a freelance translator and digital nomad currently based in southwest France. When not haggling over and rather hamfistedly restoring vintage watches, or sampling Bordeaux wines and magret de canard, he is a keen 35mm film photographer and jazz/rock guitarist. Follow him on Instagram at @calexandersmith.
Entries by Colin Alexander Smith
The rise of the internet, and the consequent evolution of the watch-watching community, has inevitably amplified the phenomenon whereby certain objects have come to exert an extraordinary hold over the collective imagination. Here, Colin Alexander Smith debunks three watch myths circulating widely and freely online and in print concerning former French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s Rolex and Patek Philippe, the Khanjar Rolex Sea-Dwellers, and what in fact Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay were wearing on their wrists as they summited Mount Everest.
Nigel Band is a professional diver with over 30 years’ worth of commercial and teaching experience. He also owns two rather unusual Rolex watches: a 1986 “triple-six” Rolex Sea-Dweller Reference 16660 and a Himalayan mountain climbing 1952 Rolex Oyster Perpetual. Put on your breathing apparatus as the fascinating stories of these two watches are told by Colin Alexander Smith here.
“The Holy Trinity,” as any watch nerd knows, refers to the triumvirate of Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Vacheron Constantin. Colin Smith takes a look at what we mean – or think we mean – when we describe PP, AP, and VC as the “Holy Trinity” of watchmaking and when we describe a timepiece as our “grail watch.”
After Colin Alexander Smith noticed John McLaughlin wearing an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak in live footage from the 1990s along with various other interesting timepieces, he somewhat cheekily asked him for an interview to discuss his watches rather than his music or his guitars, to which he kindly agreed. Not surprisingly they ended up discussing all three in this riveting interview spanning decades’ worth of music, stories, and timepieces.
Colin Alexander Smith never set out to collect watches; in fact, he suspects that deep down he aspires to being a one-watch guy. He has only bought himself a new watch on two occasions in his life. Nevertheless, through a combination of new and used purchases, gifts, hand-me-downs, and inherited pieces, Colin has managed to accumulate a selection of watches that rather neatly spans eight consecutive decades of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Find out what is behind each of these watches remaining in Colin’s collection right here.
Unless you have been residing under a large rock in recent years, you are most probably (and perhaps quite painfully) aware that the classic steel sports watches designed by Gérald Genta for Audemars Piguet (Royal Oak) and Patek Philippe (Nautilus) are both beyond the financial reach of most people and in many cases simply not available even if you can afford them. Here Colin Alexander Smith shares six more affordable and more available sports watches that have caught his eye over the last few years.
Increasing demand for timepieces, especially Rolexes, with the Omani emblem is understandable given the high quality, good condition, demonstrable provenance, and rarity of most of these watches, combined with the fact that they had often been presented to their first owners in the 1970s by Sultan Qaboos in person as a token of gratitude for services rendered. Colin Alexander Smith takes a very close look at the meaning behind these rare timepieces and in this updated version of the article debunks one theory behind the dial symbol.
Colin Alexander Smith is reunited with his first watch and discovers an intriguing watch manufacturer that has been producing mechanical watches in Switzerland continuously since 1886.
London, one day in the not-too-distant future, the final board meeting of the Lux Timepieces III Fund had been a stormy one. Principal investor Igor Abramovich had flounced out after throwing his Roger W Smith Series 1 on the boardroom table, where it shattered into dozens of meticulously handmade pieces . . . hang on to your hats because this is a wild and laugh-out-loud ride!