Sometimes persistence pays off. After a few well-placed questions, the shopkeeper brought out a relatively innocent looking skeletonized pocket watch. With a wry smile, he suggested that the buyer take a look at the tiny lug, leaving my friend flabbergasted. “G.N. Papi No.1” is a clear reference to Giulio Papi. The legendary watch industry figure who leads Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi and now my friend has stumbled across what could be his very first timepiece from 1984.
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
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.
Ah, Paris! City of Lights, Paname, Babylon on the Seine – no matter how one refers to it, there is nothing remotely like it. For the watch collector, it’s a great place to visit as well with boutiques aplenty, some owned and operated by the major brands; high-end mega-stores like Bucherer; and smaller independent retailers like Chronopassion and Dubail. Recently, I took a quick weekend trip to Paris and while there I took the opportunity to pack in as much fun as possible. Come along with me and join in!
One of the great things about making friends in the watchmaking communities is that sooner or later, one starts receiving invitations to visit the places where the beautiful handwork in horology actually happens: the manufactures of the big brands and the ateliers of the independents. I’ve now had the opportunity to take part in many such visits and I can tell you with some confidence that there is nothing quite like visiting with Vianney Halter at his workshop in the small Swiss town of Sainte-Croix, Switzerland.
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.
A few weeks ago, I had the very enjoyable experience of attending a day hosted by Audemars Piguet and the Watch Enthusiasts of New York (WENY) filled with watches, watchmaking, and lively conversation. In the evening, we were treated to something that for me was quite unusual but that in the world of luxury goods marketing is commonplace: an interaction with one of the brand’s ambassadors, in this case Sir Nick Faldo. Read on to learn what is it that leads watch brands to engage celebrities.
Audemars Piguet in collaboration with WENY (Watch Enthusiasts of New York) hosted an event in San Francisco that had it all: a watchmaking master class, in-depth talks with the brand’s historian while perusing a few vintage beauties, checking out some of the current collection, a whiskey tasting, and time spent with one of the brand’s ambassadors: the iconic golfer Nick Faldo.
For those of you who are regular readers of my “Behind the Lens” series, it’s no secret that my watch pals and I are big fans of independent watchmaking.
Here at Quill & Pad we’re also fans of the independents, prominently including Irish watchmaking brothers John and Stephen McGonigle.
Recently, I had the opportunity to photograph an example of the Tuscar One in Ten owned by a good friend. Let’s take a look at some of the results.
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.