I get asked quite a lot about my favourite watches, and which watches I own and wear. It’s a curious thing to examine the difference between professional appreciation of a fine watch and the preferences you find yourself expressing when it comes to choosing your own personal watch to wear.
And that got me thinking about ALL the watches I have owned over the years (and there’s been a few!)
I was born into the jewellery trade. My father started his business in 1974. I came along in 1980, and while he didn’t sell watches at first, by the late eighties (just the time I was old enough to be interested) he was starting to stock them in his shops.
My Childhood Watches
My Dad gave me my first watch when I was about 8 or 9 years old. It was the smallest Swatch watch you have ever seen. At that time, dad was selling watch brands like Swatch, Accurist, Pulsar and Alfex.
Sadly, I lost my first Swatch many years ago, but after that I got another one, which I loved. This still exists today (while searching for it I found a membership card to the Swatch Movement – anyone remember this?)
Then came one of my favourites. I was 13 and had started to help out in the stores occasionally. I can still remember how cool I thought I was walking into school wearing my “shark skin” strap Ellesse watch! It was a great watch though. Ellesse sold well in our stores for many years.
After that I saved up and bought a watch for myself for the first time - a Fortis. We sold them in the shop but for some reason they didn’t shift - almost all of them ended up in the sale, which was great news for me. I was so proud to own a pilot’s watch. I was 17.
My first and only digital watch came in the form of a Timex. I had gone travelling and had just landed in Delhi when I decided to blow three days’ budget on a watch.
£15 felt like a lot, but my Timex sat loyally on my wrist as I explored the world. When I came home after a year it went straight into a box until five years later when I pulled it out and guess what? It still told exactly the right time!
Then I bought a Tissot watch which I still wear occasionally today. It’s a smart watch, but I have really gone off bracelet watches in the last ten years - so it sits in a box most of the time.
Things Start to Get Serious
Then things started to get more interesting. I began to take watches more seriously - pieces to admire and aspire to own. It’s a very personal thing. I am not that interested in “iconic watches” or having specific watches in my collection.
The main thing is how a watch makes me feel when I put it on my wrist. It all started when my Dad said he wanted to buy me a special watch for my 21st, and he wanted me to choose it. I still knew very little about “real watches”.
I looked around for months and started to fall in love with what Omega was describing as the Co-Axial De Ville, an industry first. I even got them to send me one to view, but by the time it turned up my eyes had wandered and landed on the Eterna-matic 1948. And - I fell in love.
Eterna is not a well-known brand, but this watch fitted my wrist perfectly and I just couldn’t stop staring at it. From that point on, probably for another ten years, I only ever wore this watch.
Even today I wear it more than any other watch I own. I hope you enjoy the picture, but for any real watch buffs out there, can you spot something wrong with the watch, bearing in mind my age? Email me if you see it and I will send you a mystery gift! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Now the next one gets very interesting - this was my first serious watch. So serious that I am too nervous to wear it. The famous and quite stunning OMEGA Speedmaster CK2998 is just so amazing.
In fact, many people would know what I was talking about even if I had just written CK2998. I can’t bring myself to mark it because I want to give it to one of my sons when they are old enough to appreciate it.
I came to own this by mistake and what a mistake it has been - it’s a truly special piece. I am hoping (and crossing everything) that my friends at OMEGA will be able to send me the brand new CK2998 Panda Dial coming out this year, with the same number. I’ve got to make sure my two boys don’t think I have a favourite!
My Vintage Watches
The next three watches are all ones that would be classed as “vintage”. I have a clear favourite at the moment, but my affections do change over time!
Firstly - I am the proud owner of a “rare” (that’s what the seller said) TUDOR Submariner 'Snowflake', circa 1980, ref. 9411.
I was born in 1980 and so I just had to make it mine. I’m wearing it as I type this and I am very much in love with it. I did say I wasn’t that into iconic watches, however this is definitely an iconic piece, and I really cherish its age and patina.
Who knows if TUDOR will re-launch it? I hope so, but it has to be with the snowflake for me. Given the success of the Black Bay GMT, they would be mad not to.
Next is the “rare” (funny another rare watch) Heuer Carrera Chronograph ref. 110.253. There are lots of beautiful old Heuer's out there, but for me, at the time this is the one I loved. It might be one that gets swapped in the future.
We are almost up to date. My most recent purchase was a Breitling Navitimer 806 Chronograph. I love the aged look of this watch; it has matured to a colour I just adore. Sadly my wife has also fallen in love with it and every time I go to wear it she seems to have it on her wrist.
So there we go - it’s July 2018 and that is my collection. Not what some people might expect perhaps, but I have fond memories of acquiring and wearing all of these watches.
I certainly don’t claim to be any kind of watch expert, but luckily for me and for our customers, we do have many experts in our stores.