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.