Hodinkee Podcasts Summary (Part 4)

Episode 10 with Philippe Defour

Defour is a master watch-maker, who is a master in the industry. His ‘Simplicity’ is one of the most sought after 3 handers. He was on the jury of the GPHG. He is more familiar with only the high end segment.

We need to put the human back into watchmaking. The level of service has to step up, for instance, allow buyers to visit the watch factory and see the artisan making it. Brands try to drop the quality in order to cut costs etc, and that can be quite alarming. Young watchmakers are bored nowadays, and may not have the right mindset for the job. It is because the tasks given to them are too repetitive in nature. Hand-finishing is beautiful and is different from a CnC machine.

He still enjoys finishing a watch. Such a watch may give someone tremendous pleasure and that what keeps him going. Defour doesn’t see the industry shrinking although some brands have declined in their standards of watchmaking. Consumers are becoming more knowledgeable as well. Also, the modern generations are less likely to buy a Swiss watch because there are many other competitors.

Defour recommends a brand like Nomos, Lange and Sohne, Rolex etc. Rolex has a good quality for the price and are extremely reliable. Watches are not exactly affordable for the majority of people. Young people need to learn to wear better watches, as some are only keen on Smartwatches. The smartwatch provides a different experience to a mechanical watch.

Episode 11 with Tony Fadell

Tony is a tech guy who helped out in the creation of the iPhone, who is a die-hard watch collector. He used to wear a 5980 for an event. Throughout the years, he has collected 20 or 30 smartwatches and understand their differences and study the trends. He wants a stylish and functional watch instead of a computer. Most people don’t use the Apple watch as just for something that keeps time.

He also worked on the Ressence e-crown type 2 concept watch, which is a function to help tell the time better. The e-crown helps to set the time automatically. If you have a product where people both like and hate it, it’s fine, you can tweak the product accordingly. There is certainly a beauty of winding and setting the watch. The AP RD-2 was a hot release with awesome specs, and admired much by Tony. To me, he felt there was love and care in every aspect of the watch. Watch proportions are the key. You will need to embrace new technologies, in the past, people only carried pocket watches. He looks innovation at every level.

When smartwatches were first released, there were many executives who panicked as they saw it as a threat. Watches will have to evolve, embrace smartwatches or else you will die. JCB eventually created the best smartwatch with Tag Heuer. Tony got his first watch, a Tag, in the 90s. After that, his grandpa gave him his watch. Later, he went to buy a Panerai in Italy. After that, he was hooked on watches. There was a little community in Apple who were into mechanical watches as well. The Apple watch uses a strap-changing technology and allows people to swap straps easily. Since the talking watches, his watch collection has improved further.

He has collected some of the first Pateks in the market. One of his best watches is the Patek 2526. Is society ready to adopt new products? If no, sometimes it could be too early. Technology released to the market too soon, may not work, right thing but wrong time. The watch industry needs to get better in the watch design and production cycle.

Episode 12 with Spike Feresten

Spike is a legend in the comedy world, and is a comedy writer. Ted Gushue helped to connect Spike and Ben together. Spike loved the writing and photography from Hodinkee. He has also been on talking watches previously. Spike contacts Ben and Spike updates Ben when he needs advise on Porsches. His first watch was a Tag 2000 chronograph, which he had bought in a store. This was his first and only watch for a long time. Swatches were popular in the past, and they would climb in value, but eventually there would be a bubble. Later on, Spike used to get Heuers. He bought a 1960s Tonneau Heuer, and he simply loved it. His career involved getting some luck and breaks. Spike is wearing a 6263 PN Rolex Daytona for the show.

He managed to land some internships in the comedy space, including at Letterman. Most people don’t think that comedy writers can make a living. If you have things you are angry about, talk about that for stand-up comedy. Now, he hosts Car Matchmaker programme. Ben thinks about watches that could match the cars he drives. Ben is wearing a yellow gold 6263 PN Daytona. Spike also has a podcast with Ben, on cars and entertainment.

Spike believes in watches that are affordable, like Autodromo. For instance, another brand is Unimatic. James would like an early Explorer 2 as his grail.

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Hodinkee Podcasts Summary (Part 3)

Episode 7 with Scott Dadich

Scott works in the media industry. He was firstly the creative director at Texas Monthly and contributed to the Hodinkee magazine previously. He used to work for Wired magazine and is now with Godfrey Dadich Partners, a creative agency in California. During the show, he is wearing an Apple Watch. Vintage Rolexes are his soft spot. He is really in the deep end, and notices the intricacies of vintage Rolex. His first watch was the 1969, 1675 GMT. It can be really fun going to hike with a vintage Rolex Explorer. His gold Sub was one of his memorable purchases. A gold sports watch belies its original intention, but it doesn’t lose its appeal.

There is really something appealing about an Apple Watch, and it is largely because of its design, which has an interesting industrial design. Sneaker collecting can be really addictive and expensive. Scott does collect a few design books and art pieces as well. His top career moments include working with President Obama.

Episode 8 with Adam Scott

He is a professional golfer who has won the Masters previously. He finished 3rd in the 2018 PGA championship. Wingfoot is a historic golf club, with a rich history. Adam can’t afford to play badly even if it’s social golf. A pro who plays badly is very happy, no matter what occasion. Adam has much admiration for Tiger Woods and his massive achievements, although they are fierce competitors. It was an awesome experience winning the Masters. The Masters has one of the most appeal in terms of a golf tournament.

He is wearing a Rolex 2018 GMT Master II in two-tone Rolesor with a Root Beer bezel. Since 2001, Adam has been a Rolex ambassador and has been into vintage watches in recent years only. Rolex is definitely his kind of thing at the moment. He eventually managed to tour the Rolex factory and that completed changed his perception of the brand. Rolex usually only picks the winners from sports, so that they can wear the watch while they hold the trophy.

His favorite models are Subs and Sea-dwellers as they can be banged around. He has a Comex 16800 and the right provenance and history. Adam has a 6241 Paul Newman Daytona in his collection, and is planning his next Daytona purchase. Other things that he is interested in are furniture and chairs, surfboards etc. His wife wears some of his watches also, and is fine with his hobby. His family is golf crazy as well and introduced him to golf when he was young. The reception at home when he won the Masters was crazy.

When you’re playing good, you think you’ll never play bad. But when you’re playing bad, you don’t know when you will play good again. – Adam Scott

Episode 9 with Keegan Allen

He is an actor/photographer. There is a talking watches episode with him previously. He is wearing a 1675 Blueberry dial Rolex GMT Master II. Avoid using the watch in a pool etc. James is wearing the Tudor Black Bay GMT.

To Keegan, how the way a watch ages matters a lot. It’s hefty, but it wears extremely well on the wrist. An interesting thing about Keegan is that he wears a watch when he sleeps. He loves the ticking of the watch in his ear, like the tonal ping. He has written numerous photography books that reflects his history etc. The Hodinkee Talking watches episode has led to some strangers coming up to him and say hi.

Keegan uses his Leica M6 most of the time. His focus is definitely on street photography and stories. Using images to tell stories are simply awesome. You don’t know what you want until you touch and feel it. It was such an honour for Keegan to be on talking watches.

Watches isn’t an elitist hobby, but it’s a passion. One of his most important watches are the Patek 5164A Travel Time. Watches are one of the only main accessories that you can get as a man. If the watch hobby is not fun, don’t continue and do it. When you wear your favorite watch piece, it simply feels good. It used to be seen as tools in the past. Although Keegan has his grail, he still feels passionate about watches.

Watches can definitely outlive you, and take on a life of its own. A travel watch (GMT) suggests freedom, adventure etc. It is extremely hard to get a steel Rolex at the AD nowadays. Who you know at the AD matters. It is extremely hard to get a steel sports Rolex at the airports at the current moment. It can be scary to scratch up your gold Rolex, and one needs to be careful with it.

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Hodinkee Podcasts Summary (Part 2)

Episode 4 with Om Malik

He is a partner at True Ventures, a Venture Cap firm. He is wearing a beautiful Grand Seiko SBGR301. He and Ben went shopping in Paris and Wempe. True Ventures is one of Hodinkee’s biggest investors. Om does not appreciate people talking down on others’ collections. To him, to his each own, and is it important to respect someone’s collection.

Affordable watch coverage is important. Om has watches like Grand Seiko and Nomos (Nomos Zurich etc). Grand Seiko is really under-rated in the industry but it is gaining prominence. Even the Seiko Presage range is outstanding. Watches are an emotional product and means more to you rather than anyone else. His preference is for smaller brands, likes Ochs Und Junior, which are incredibly innovative. People who know watches will recognize Grand Seikos and realize that their finishing is outstanding. Some Swiss executives see the Grand Seiko as a threat.

Swatch did not see the Apple watch coming and should have innovated more. For the Apple watch, it’s more about its functionality and not so much about the time. The Apple watch has potentially health features. There are some who do not like quartz watches.

Quartz watches don’t have the same feel, charm, fun factor as a mechanical watch. The outstanding GS 9F Quartz, Longines VHP watch is something to aim for. Dismissing quartz watches is what some watch guys do. There is a certain pseudo-intellectualism in the watch community, which is to show off something that you know, even though you don’t know much. The pursuit of watches can be incredibly rewarding.

Om bought a Moser. It can be fun to save a bit every day before buying a watch. Do your watches bring joy to you? If no, please stop. The line between collecting and hoarding is very thin.

Om is working on a book of photos actually. He aims to slow down time by going on long photography trips. Hodinkee provides the platform for people to engage in their watch fanaticism. It gives people networking opportunities etc. Many of the employees working in Hodinkee really loves it. The Hodinkee meetups are heavily oversubscribed and provide so much joy to people who attend. Om loves PSM (Speake Marin) watches. Ben places a lot of emphasis on the dial, more than the case, like his Patek 2526, his Eberhard chronograph.

When you buy watches, you need to wear them, and not simply keep them in a safe. Watches need air. If you wear it often, price-per-wear definitely reduces a lot. Most people end up acquiring things for no reason. For everything that you buy, think about its happiness quotient? What is the happiness that the object can bring? Never live your life based on what others think. Remember that happiness definitely comes first.

 

Episode 5 with Eric Ku

Eric is well respected watch dealer/collector in the industry. He is the guy to go to for vintage watches. He is wearing a Patek 3939, which is an enamel dial, minute repeater tourbillion. Since young, he had a fascination with mechanical watches.

In the 1990s, the Daytonas and Explorers grew in popularity. In the past, arbitrage for Rolex Explorers could be done. His first vintage was a Red Sub, in 1998. In his early days, he made some mistakes, but gradually he started learning from his mistakes. Watch knowledge and nomenclature was not documented on the Internet yet. Dealers will try to push the prices on something if they find something rare, but it is the market that dictates the pricing. Five digits Rolex prices are shooting up, even though they are not rare. As time passes, there are more vintage watches that are coming up, due to them ageing. This is also known as the ‘New Vintage’. People appreciate the smaller sizes of the older Rolexes.

Many retailers are not getting good allocation of steel sport Rolexes. Prices are shooting through the roof, but will they collapse one day? Pre-own watches are getting more common nowadays. Things are cyclical and prices will drop someday. What comes up, must come down, but there might be a slight upward trend. The pool of vintage keeps shrinking, as watches get lost/damaged etc. Auction records is like navel gazing and you can compare with previous auction prices. In a way, auction prices help to reflect the enthusiasm of the product. The truth is that there are so few that can afford 7 figure watches, so the auction records don’t mean much. Prices crashed in 2007/2008. In every business, there are good and bad times. The ultra-rich class has grown a lot more.

It’s very difficult for a newbie to get into vintage watches, 1675 and 5513 as they are more than $10,000 or more. Someone like that could consider other brands, like Cartier, Universe Geneve. Nomos makes a good watch for the price. The modern Rolex is now out of reach to most people. His first watch that cost over $10,000 was a Vianney Halter Antiqua. Eric really supports independent watch-makers. He appreciates brands like Gronefield and Cartier. Cartier produces timeless designs, like the Cartier Tank Cintree. Early Cartiers are really rare and desirable. Bubblebacks were popular, but fell out of favour recently. Large watches are over-rated. There is a trend nowadays, where brands are making smaller watches.

Rolex 36mm are the best fit. Good design is always timeless. Eric recommends 34mm Rolexes from the past, for about 2 to 3k. The good thing about Rolex is that they can retain their value well. Vintage gold Rolex watches are undervalued at the moment. Two important lessons are (i) condition of the watch (buy the best version based on your budget); (ii) buy what you like. Spend time to research about what you like.

Eric is really into food and trying our excellent restaurants as well.

 

Episode 6 with Todd Snyder

He is the founder of Todd Snyder brand of clothing. Cara has worked with Todd and has provided vintage watches for them to sell. Todd’s store is to be the one stop shop for a guy. Everything in the store is really edited and curated well. You can get everything in Todd’s. There are over 2,000 books for sale in the store.

Todd got inspired and worked for Ralph Lauren eventually. He brought a few Timex, Tudor Black Bay Chrono, Tudor Ranger and a Rolex as well. Since young, he has always worked in clothing stores and with tailors. He has always been interested in how garments were made etc. If you want to be the best, work for the best. Knowing the basics of clothing is the key. Working for Ralph was a dream come true for Todd. Todd even offered to work for free just to get to work for Ralph, and it worked. His advice for kids are to ‘work hard, innovate and be nice’. If you have poor attitude, you won’t go far in life. Todd has also worked in GAP and JCrew, key American brands. Ralph always reinvents iconic fashion and created their own styling to it. Todd tries to reinvent the basics and improves on them, making them very desirable.

He is also rather big on collaborations, like with RedWing etc. Todd would love to collaborate with an interior designer/architectural firm. The Timex Marlin collaboration was a huge success. Timex is one of his favorite brands, as his Dad owned one previously. He is definitely planning some more collaborations in future.

Tudor is definitely the value for money brand, as compared to Rolex. For clothes, it is really important to start off with great basics which fit well.

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Hodinkee Podcasts Summary (Part 1)

Episode 1 with Ben Clymer

He was not interested in finance/consulting career and realized that after his role in banking. Started writing about grandfather’s watch on Tumblr and then Squarespace. It started off as a hobby. Back then, finance was the place where everyone wanted to be.

The first Hodinkee post was about the Eric Clapton’s Paul Newman Daytona. Gandhi’s watch, Einstein’s watch started coming up for sale at that time. He definitely has a flair for writing/photography and wanted to marry the two things together. The whole journey has been fun, especially meeting the press, going on press trips etc. Not many believe that one can start a career in the watch industry. The press trip by AP in 2009 was exceptional and really eye-opening, and it was really surreal. The hyper-lux world isn’t something that many are familiar with and can relate to.

Meeting Jay Z and writing for him, as well as meeting John Mayer were moments he knew that times changed and that Hodinkee was for real. Hodinkee started selling straps with vintage feel at the start. John Mayer also started writing for Hodinkee in 2012. He was also the first to be filmed for the Talking Watches series. The moment Stephen and Will joined were also massive highlights.

Hodinkee has a staff strength of 28 now, including full-time designers and engineers. In 2014, a large company offered to purchase the brand. In 2015, Watchville was launched. Other editors that were hired included Jack, Cara, John, James etc. Hodinkee’s audience is really educated and sophisticated.

Most of the time, it isn’t the best idea to get a cheap version of a certain watch model and it’s better to get the best version of a particular watch. Some of the common questions that people ask are what are the good investment pieces? Can you get me a discount on a watch? How does the name Hodinkee come about? Hodinkee means wristwatch in Czech.

Hodinkee is good at being the bridge between the hyper-lux world and reality. There could certainly be room for improvement in the watch boutique experience. As people decided to buy watches because of Hodinkee’s articles, this showed other watch brands the power of marketing. This proves that Hodinkee has plenty of might in terms of marketing and their e-commerce site. Almost all their limited editions have been sold out. Hodinkee propagated the love for vintage watch and new watches that had a vintage vibe. The ideas behind the limited editions are truly an organic process and fun. Almost all the limited editions have been great successes.

Ben’s grandfather gave him a Mark 40 Omega chronograph when he was 16, and that started Ben’s love for watches. Cars and cameras are a big thing for Ben as well. He plans to stick around to grow Hodinkee further. Success is not guaranteed even if you were successful before with a previous venture. Success is never easy.

Episode 2 with Gary Shteyngart

He wrote an article on watches for the New Yorker in 2017. His upcoming book is ‘Lake Success’. Gary is an author and watch collector and a strap tanner. His watch collection started in 2016 and he was originally from Russia. One of his first few watches is the Junghans Maxbill (Bauhaus design), Nomos. Mid 20th century was an awesome period. He grew up with an electronic Casio musical watch. His taste isn’t gaudy, but is anti-ostentatious and doesn’t want people to notice them. In the past, watches for most appeared to be too large.

The signaling of watches is very important, especially in rich cities like Singapore. It is a natural breeding ground for luxury watches. The watch community is so small, but meeting someone who is into watches is incredibly inspiring. Watches are certainly a very pricey hobby, especially if you are vintage Rolex. If you are bad at driving, a Rolex Daytona just doesn’t fit your image. Gary loves GMTs and divers. Desk divers are great as well and it helps to aspire to things. The Omega Speedmaster has a rich heritage as it has been to the Moon and is commonly known as the Moonwatch. William Gibson is one of Gary’s inspirational writers.

Gary bought a Rolex Explorer 1016, which is simply a lovely watch. He owns a 1675 GMT-Master II, and a Patek 3445. The vintage market is kind of heated, unfortunately. To him, movements are important but they are more difficult to understand, unlike dials. Seamasters with the 321 movements are super rare and desirable. The one watch man is simply a dream to many, like an aspirational goal, like a unicorn. As a matter of fact, faux-patina is not something that he fancies.

Nostalgia is a big thing in the watch industry nowadays. With a trend of nostalgia, how will brands create anything new and appealing to the market?  Oak and Oscar borrows vintage cues, but makes it modern as well.

When you own a mechanical watch, you believe in the traditional craft and the beauty of time. However, when you check the time on a phone, you are constantly distracted. It’s like physical books, there will still be a market for it. The apple watch does different things as compared to mechanical watches, and is unlikely to displace them. It probably isn’t a good idea to treat watches as investments. There are plenty of good vintage watch finds in El Paso.

Episode 3 with Rian Johnson

He directed the latest Star Wars film. Twitter is like a war. Rian is wearing a beautiful Rolex Explorer 1016 (1965) with a tropical dial (caramel colour). There is an element of engineering to screenplay. He doesn’t like writing, but he is a producer and director at times. Rian obviously prefers being the director. He bought a Speedmaster (pre-moon, 1969) when he was picked for Star Wars. Each of his watches has a story, and says a bit about particular moments of his life. Sometimes, you even know the history of the watch that you own if it’s pre-owned. Now, he has appreciated vintage watches. He wore his dad’s watch during film shooting, in order to re-connect with him as he passed away. Patek’s 3417 Amagnetic is one of his grail pieces.

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A Man and His Watch (Iconic Watches & Stories From the Men Who Wore Them) by Matt Hranek (Part 2)

Eng Tay. He is an artist. His favorite watch is the Panerai Reference 3646. I always liked vintage items, like cars and watches. In Asia, I loved to window shop for watches. I bought my first Pam from a friend (it originally belonged to a Navy officer). The story of how I got the PAM21 was more interesting. I actually flew down to Singapore and paid crazy money for it. That is just me, I am very passionate about Panerai.

George Bamford. He is the founder of the Bamford Watch Department. His favorite watch is the ‘Popeye’ Yacht Master. I started the watch customization business. I loved cartoon characters like Popeye since young. Because of that, I wanted to put Popeye on a watch. The sales of the watch were a massive success. It’s like paying homage to these character characters, but also adding a twist to it.

Everything you buy has a soul to it. You remember the details: exactly when you bought it, how much you paid for it. You want to think of that item as exclusively yours – unique to you. – George Bamford

Mark Cho. He is the co-founder of the Armoury and Co-owner of Drake’s. His watch is the Grand Seiko 61GS Very Fine Adjusted. When I first saw a Seiko that costs 8k, I was shocked. I decided to research extensively on the Seiko and really how significant the watch was. I loved its history. I even visited the Seiko museum in northeast Tokyo. To my surprise, the watch I purchased was also being displayed in the museum. The quality of finishing can rival their Swiss counterparts. Seiko is known for their big flanked lugs, lots of planes and is very angular. One day, Seiko will really live up to their reputation.

I love the Japanese attitude, the dedication to trying to be the absolute best you can be, to really push the envelope even given your own constraints. – Mark Cho

The Grand Seiko is a subtle watch, not really recognizable for what it is, but I like that. It’s a lucky watch for me. – Mark Cho

Holger Thoss. He is a photographer. His watch is the Breitling Chrono-Matic GMT. My dad gave it to me. I loved it very much. All along, I believed in the Buddhist tradition and belief in the temporal nature of things.

It’s also important to cherish the things you have and – this might seem weird to say – to have a relationship with them. You have to honor each object and, at the same time, be ready to let it go. – Holger Thoss

Eric Ku. He is a vintage watch dealer. His watch is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm. He had an obsession with mechanical objects. When I was younger, we often looked forward to get the full-color catalog in the mail. I kept following this JLC watch, but the price increased over time, and I regretted not getting it. I eventually bought it for $35,000, which I over-paid. However, to me, it was okay. This was really a unique watch because of its rich history. I paid a huge premium for it.

Watches are very personal things – expressions of who you are. And what you’re willing to pay all comes down to perception of value. – Eric Ku

James H. Ragan. He is a former aerospace engineer at NASA. His favorite watches are the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatches. Watches were the backup instrument to test flight time. 4 companies bid. However, the Omega was the most durable. Wally Schirra and Gordo Cooper had worn Omega Chronographs for their mercury days. NASA kept using Speedmasters thereafter. The speedmaster professional came in useful during the Apollo 13 mission. These Omegas really meant a lot to me. The Omega Speedmaster Alaska Project aimed at triple protection. However, it never flew into space

Omega Archives. I got the chance to visit the Omega archives. I photographed the second-generation Omega Speedmaster ref CK2998. It was Wally Schirra’s watch. I also got to see John F. Kennedy’s watch, which he worn when he was sworn in as the 35th president of the United States.

Alessandro Squarzi. He is a fashion entrepreneur. His favorite watch is the 1968 Rolex Submariner Reference 5508. My dad gave me the watch when I was 18. To me, it looked very modern. It’s a priceless piece.

Gabriel Vachette. He is the founder of Les Rhabilleurs. His watch is the Universal Geneve Compax. The watch was handed down from my grandpa to my dad and now to me. My dad was a watch collector too. The chronograph movement was amazing. I fell in love in watches because of my dad. Later on in my life, I created a watch blog, which was lifestyle focused.

Kenta Watanabe. He is the co-founder of Buaisou Indigo Studio. His watch is the Indigo-Dyed Casio G-shock. I kept soaking the watch in Indigo dye. It turned out to be amazing.

Hamilton Powell. He is the founder and CEO of Crown and Caliber. His watch is the Abercrombie & Fitch Seafarer. It has a running second hand. It was made by Heuer, for A&F. Back then, A&F was a cool adventure outfitter. It was both for adventurers and for guys who likes beautiful things.

I also like that it’s a manual-winding watch. I believe we’re alive for a brief period of time; whether it’s fifty years or a hundred, in the scheme of things, that’s a short blip. And it’s up to us to use that time intentionally. So taking a moment to wind my watch means giving myself 20 seconds of the day to create a sense of purpose as to how I’m going to use my time- to ask myself, Am I going to live today with intention? – Hamilton Powell

Josh Condon. He is a writer, editor and author. His watch is the Movado Moon Phase. The idea of heirlooms are a big deal. I have been handed down things from my grandpa etc. My dad loved to give me things too. My dad bought a Movado moon phase and I started writing about it. On my 36th birthday, my dad bought it for me. He also gave my brothers the same watch. I haven’t taken the watch off since. Every time I wear it, it reminds me of my family.

Geoffrey Hess. He is the CEO of Analog/Shift. His watch is the Rolex Eagle Beak Tropical Submariner, Ref 5512. It’s the story behind the watches that is important. I met my wife because of this hobby. I love vintage Rolexes. Often, I go for collector events overseas. We are almost like brothers. People like vintage because of the tropical dial, serial number matches the box, lume on dial match the hands etc, crown guards look like an eagle etc.

But to some degree, the world of vintage Rolex is a science; we collector always have a loupe, and we’re examining the colors, the serifs on the fonts, the way the Rolex coronet is printed. It’s a grown-man science. – Geoffrey Hess

Michael Friedman. He is a historian at Audemars Piquet. His watch is the 1938 AP. This watch would be included in an auction. My dad was impressed by the history behind it. I studied time through the different time periods and realized how interesting it was. My dad used to encourage me to explore the world. It was a moment which I shared with my dad forever.

Tom Sachs. He is a sculptor. His watch is the ‘New Bedford’, customized Casio G-shock DW-5600. I hot-glued a metal cage around a digital watch in the past. The Japanese created the Casio with the concept of status and of a low price. I have worn the same G-shock for the past 20 years. I engrave every Gshock I buy.

I like the idea of something that costs $40 that you own, versus something that costs $4,000 that owns you. – Tom Sachs

People wear watches for their associated value. You wear an Omega Speedmaster and you’re Neil Armstrong. Or you wear whatever watch James Bond wears, or Sir Edmund Hillary wore, and you become that person – even if you work in an office, at least your watch is the same as that hero’s. – Tom Sachs

Bre Pettis. He is the founder of Bre & Co. His watch is the Bulova Accutron Spaceview and Origami watch. I am impressed by the Stonehenge because of its accurate astronomical alignments. Watches represent a worldwide contract and are incredibly interesting. My dad gave me this watch. It’s a transition between a mechanical and quartz movement. The tuning fork was like the gear-train of the watch. Watches actually make great gifts to others and encourages friendship building. I created the origami watch.

Stephen Lewis. He is a photographer. His watch is the paper cutout of a HP calculator watch. I used to like cutting watches out from famous watch magazines. I was impressed by James Bond when he checked the time on his Pulsar digital watch. Nowadays, I wear a Rolex submariner, which was a present from my wife. I have been able to dig myself out of a hole with little imagination.

David Coggins. He is a writer. His watch is the JLC Reverso. Reverso was a gift from my parents. In the past, polo players could flip the dial as it was necessary to protect the watch crystal. The way the watch flips is also very purposeful. I also like Art Deco numerals.

I want a watch that’s well-made and designed with purpose – just like a suit, for that matter. And I like to wear a watch every day. – David Coggins

I think you can tell a lot about a man from his watch, and I prefer one that errs on the side of discretion. – David Coggins

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A Man and His Watch (Iconic Watches & Stories From the Men Who Wore Them) by Matt Hranek (Part 1)

Preface. My father owned a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust, stainless steel with a black dial. It meant a lot for him as it signified a successful year in business. I was 18 when he died and I was given his watch. Every time I wear it, it remains me of my past. No other watch I own will replace this. I was a magazine editor for the watch market and I began doing a lot of research on historical brands and collectors. All these stories are powerful and unifying in nature. For many of these men, these watches played a significant role in their lives. Paul Newman’s Rolex was a gift from Joanne Woodward, his wife. It was a Daytona, reference 6239. The feeling of holding it was simply electrifying. The inscription on the back read ‘Drive slowly – Joanne’. Now, his youngest daughter Clea, wears the Daytona daily. Compiling the stories in the book has been an absolute joy.

For many men, watches seem to have a deeper meaning than just keeping time. Watches mark special occasions, they tell the world a bit about who you are, and they can, if you’re lucky, connect you to the people in your life who matter most. – Matt Hranek

At the end of the day, a watch is just a watch – it’s the story behind it that can make it exceptional. – Matt Hranek

Eric Ripert. Eric is the Chef & Co-Owner of Le Bernardin. His watch is the Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921. The numbers on the dial are offset to the right as it is meant for drivers to look at. I received the watch in 2011. My business partner gave it to me as I was celebrating the 20th anniversary at Le Bernardin. Vacheron is a beautiful brand. Like fine watchmaking, cooking is a craftsmanship as well. When craftsmanship reaches a certain level, it becomes art. Collectors understand the effort gone into making watches.

For me, watches signify special occasions. I’ll buy one for myself as a gift, maybe for the holidays – or maybe before, if I can’t wait. – Eric Ripert

From the Rolex Archives. I managed to set foot in the Rolex Archives. It was from there that I managed to photograph Francis Chichester’s watch. He was a famous adventurer who circumnavigated the globe from Aug 27, 1966 to May 28, 1967 and wore a Rolex Oyster Perpetual. The watch worked perfectly throughout his expedition.

Mario Andretti. Mario is a racing legend. His watch is the 1967 Gold Heuer Carrera Pilot Reference 1158CH. My uncle gave me a watch when it was my 13th birthday. An F1 gave me the Porsche Design watch in Rio. But, I fell asleep and the watch got stolen from me. In 1978, Porsche was kind enough to replace it for me. Most of the watches I own are given to me. Often, watches were given out as ‘trophies’ for winning races.

Benjamin Clymer. Ben is the founder and executive editor at Hodinkee. His watch is the Omega Speedmaster Mark 40. My dad was a photographer and since young, I was obsessed with gadgets. This naturally progressed to wrist-watches. My grandfather really impressed me and I looked up to him as a hero. When I was 16, my grandfather handed me his Omega Speedmaster Mark 40, which ran on a Valjoux movement. It was a chronograph with a triple calendar. I started off my career in strategy consulting at a big Swiss bank. The whole watch journey started when I blogged on Tumblr about this Omega watch that my grandpa gave me. An editor from a major men’s fashion site reached out to me after he saw the Tumblr post. He was interested in me as I was writing about old watches. I started Hodinkee in 2008. This watch was the one that kickstarted my career. Without it, I wouldn’t have achieved the success that I now enjoy.

One day, when I was 15 or 16, my grandfather said to me, unprovoked, “You know, I want you to have this.” Then he took this Omega off his wrist and handed it to me. I was just blown away. – Benjamin Clymer

From the Cartier Archives. I wanted to see the Cartier Santos-Dumont. The location of the archives is unknown to me as I was being hooded at the back of a van and was driven to a secret location. The place had super high security. However, the archivists inside were super amazing and hospitable. Some of the interesting pieces were the Constantine I’s Cartier Tonneau from 1915. Another was the Cartier Santos-Dumont. This was a transformational piece. Alberto Santos-Dumont was the first person to pilot a fixed-wheel aircraft that could take off and land under its own power. Louis Cartier gave him a watch so that he could keep time while flying. This was essentially the first ‘pilot watch’. This marked the era where wrist-watches started growing in popularity. Before this, all owned pocket watches.

Dimitri Dimitrov. He is the Maitre D at the Tower Bar at the Sunset Tower Hotel. His watch is the Timex Indiglo. Bill Murray gave me his Timex because the Baume and Mercier I was wearing was not visible in the dark. I thanked him for it. The Timex had a button you could press where there would be a backlight. This was something like the Gshock.

Kikuo Ibe. He is the creator at Casio G-shock. His watch is the Casio G-shock. The watch he would be making had to be tough. The G-shock was launched in 1983 and took off in the US. No one gets bored of the design, even today. G-shocks are subject to rigorous testing.

James Lambin. He is the founder of Analog/Shift. His watch is the 1967 Doxa Sub 300 professional ‘Black Lung’. It started with my grandpa, as he appreciated objects with high quality. There can be storytelling related to objects. Dirk Pitt was a character of fiction and he wears an orange-faced Doxa diving watch. I was determined to hunt it down. I did plenty of research. This watch was really designed with a purpose. Doxa was a reputable brand, and is older than Rolex. By the 1950s, the company wasn’t as relevant. Orange dials make the watch dial very visible underwater for divers. I bought it from a guy that used it for diving. I just want to love my watches.

A vintage watch is the ultimate luxury – it’s owning something that no one else has, but it’s also being the keeper of its story. It’s a book; there are chapters. And then you have that object and you write your own chapters into it. – James Lambin

Paul Boutros. He is the Head of Americas and Senior Vice President at Phillips. His watch is the Rolex ‘Kew A’ Observatory Chronometer. I looked at watches with my dad. I was mesmerized at those on display. The movement was really impressive. It was really love at first sight. I did research and asked for watch and auction catalogs. Dad and I often went to flea markets and retailers. We both often fought, but when it came to watches, there were no fights. When my dad passed away in 2002, I was awestruck to see the box of watches he left behind. I entered the watch industry despite being an electrical engineer at Lockheed Martin. I joined the watch forums, like TimeZone. Now, I’m living my dream at Phillips.

NAS. He is a musician and entrepreneur. His watch is the Patek Philippe Nautilus Reference 5712R. A serious gold Rolex makes a man look dapper. Many famous men have worn the Rolex Presidential. I developed my own style when it came to watches. The Nautilus fits me well. It goes well with almost every outfit. I still like old-school movies on film.

If you see a guy with a lot of diamonds on his watch, the way I see it – the way I’ve experienced it with other people, and even myself – you know that guy likes to have a lot of fun. He’s looking to have a good time. – NAS

They say time is an illusion, but even so, you need it. A good watch represents someone who’s punctual, responsible, who has a lot on his plate. Someone who knows how to manage his time and takes life seriously, because life doesn’t wait for anybody. – NAS

Dr. Jack Carlson. He is an arcaeologist and author. His watch is the 1941 Waltham Trench Watch. I love the idea of artifacts and understanding history through objects. Waltham is a watchmaking brand that made watches for soldiers in WWI. My watch has a shrapnel guard. I imagine the stories behind the artifacts.

Aaron Sigmond. He is a columnist and author. His watch is the Elgin. My grandfather purchased the Elgin. It represented, to him, the life in America. Elgin is based in Chicago. When he passed away, I wanted his watch. This is the least valuable watch in my possessions, but it’s the dearest to me. Like my grandpa, I only wear it on special occasions.

Max Wastler. He is the founder of the All Plaidout Blog. His watch is the Timex Ironman. I got it from my camp counselor when I was young. I respected him a lot. It came on a Velcro strap that was really impressive. It’s just a simple, clean digital watch. In addition, it has the Indiglo light function. Wearing it makes me feel like an adventurer, even in the city.

From the Tag Heuer Archives. Steve McQueen was an amazing man and a racer. He made the Heuer Monaco famous. A lot of them received wristwatches as gifts. I was very lucky to be able to access their archives. The famous film was called ‘Le Mans’. Jo Siffert was also another prominent guy in the industry.

Matt Hranek. He is an editor, author and photographer. His watch is the Sears Winnie the Pooh Watch. When young, I was obsessed with everything Pooh related. My mum kept this watch for me all along. This was the watch that started it all.

Atom Moore. He is the photographer and art director of Analog/Shift. His favorite watches are the New York City Swatches. Swatches were colourful and cool. During my lunch breaks, I would head to the Swatch store and study about watches. The Keith Haring watches were pretty amazing. Since then, I have participated in auctions for vintage Swatches.

I’m buying Swatches all the time, because they’re inexpensive and they’re fun, so why not own them? They’re like little pieces of art that you can put on your wrist. – Atom Moore

Frank Castronovo. He is the chef & co-owner of Frankies Spuntino Group. His favorite watch is the IWC Mark XV. My grandfather endured a tough life. However, he was a collector of cars, watches etc. He believed that these items could retain value. When he was older, he decided to visit Germany and see the people and the culture. He asked me what watch I wanted. I mentioned I liked IWC and we drove through the Black Forest to the IWC boutique. I like the black face on stainless steel. The watch is incredibly comfortable and you can wear it on any occasion.

It’s my everyday watch, but it’s also an heirloom; it’s something you pass on to your children and your grandchildren. Heirlooms make you think about the people in your life. – Frank Castronovo

amahw

Azimuth Event with Singapore Watch Appreciation Group (SWAG) on 22 April 2017

Azimuth Watch Company is a Singaporean watch brand founded by Christopher Long and Alvin Lye in 2003. They have production facilities in Neuchatel, Switzerland. However, their watches are all designed in Singapore and is made from the ground-up. Their goal is to make avant-garde, innovative and statement watches which allows one to stand-out from the crowd. Although it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I find their watches unique in the watch industry and the brand exudes the independent watch vibe. Their pricing ranges are reasonable and it allows one to enter the realm of Independence watches without breaking the bank.

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I joined the SWAG (Singapore Watch Appreciation Group) Facebook group in middle of 2016 and have been posting my fair share of wrist-shots of the day for others to enjoy. Joining such an interest group certainly helped to enhance my knowledge of watches and appreciate the fine wrist-shots of fellow members. I chanced upon a post on SWAG when their administrators was organizing a gathering with Azimuth/ Red Army watches to showcase Azimuth’s private collection. Being an Azimuth fan and also having owned an Azimuth watch myself (The SG46 NDP version), signing up was a no-brainer.

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The event was held at Azimuth’s office at 38 Jalan Pemimpin. It was a cozy space that contains their service centre, watchmaking classes and office. Upon entering, I was greeted by an array of Azimuth watches, like the Bombardier series, Roboto series, Roulette series, Back-in-time series, dive watches etc. The Azimuth and Red Army staff were very hospitable and were patient in explaining the time pieces. As a bonus, Azimuth offered good discounts for their timepieces during this private event.

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About 30 minutes in, Azimuth’s founder Christopher Long, explained his motivation for creating Azimuth and some of the struggles he faced as a business owner even today. Christopher has an engineering background and has always been a watch collector since young. He started off his career in Sincere watches as a brand ambassador. However, he realized that instead of promoting Swiss high-end brands, perhaps he could start his own watch business with the drawings and design cues which he possessed. The rest was history. I found Azimuth’s drive to keep innovating and produce interesting complications like the back-in-time series (anti-clockwise way of telling time), roulette series (able to randomly land on a number on the roulette wheel by pushing the crown) very inspiring.

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After this segment, each SWAG member had to introduce themselves and their favorite brand of watches. It was heartening to know that others also had the love for Azimuth watches and were passionate to support a Singapore brand and the whole eco-system.

Next, Christopher gave us a tour of his office and we also witnessed the watch-making benches and tools upstairs. Azimuth is launching a workshop for customers who want to learn how to perform some hands-on operations on watches. Customers will learn to assemble a watch from scratch and they will also get to bring the watch back. I have attended a watchmaking class previously and it has certainly gave me a better appreciation of how the intricate parts of a mechanical watch interact to record time.

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I was very grateful for the chance to have a short chat with Red Army Watches founder, Suji. Red Army Watches carries non-mainstream watch brands and has stores in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Some of the brands they carry include Alexander Shorohkoff, Laco, Itay Noy, Seven Friday, Zeppelin, Junkers, Laco and of course, Azimuth. Like Azimuth, Red Army Watches appeals to the crowd who wants a statement piece that allows the wearer’s personality to shine through. From our brief conversation, I understood some of the difficulties of running retail stores and learnt more about the watch retail business. I wish Azimuth and Red Army watches all the best in their future business pursuits.

At around 7pm, we adjourned to the rooftop of the building for a sumptuous BBQ dinner, with free booze provided. The brilliant evening sky and the private pool provided an excellent backdrop for networking. During my numerous chats with fellow SWAG members, we all shared about our watch collections and I impressed them with my UV flashlight when it came to charging the luminescence of their timepieces.

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Overall, it was an event that was executed well and which gave SWAG members a chance to know about Azimuth. Azimuth, in turn, also gained some important publicity via the SWAG Facebook page. It was a win-win for all.

*Kudos to the SWAG administrators for organizing this event and Azimuth/Red Army for hosting*