In a way of an introduction I thought I would share the reason as to why I collect watches. Mine is not a unique collection and could never be said to be perfect, for what is? An article in the Forbes magazine in March 2003, describes the appeal of a fine wristwatch that goes well beyond mere time telling. ‘Strapped snugly on the left or the right, watches speak of class, taste, functionality and, of course, punctuality. With incredibly sophisticated movements, mechanical watches are like a high-performance automobile without all the parking hassles. They are one of the few fashion accessories that reveal a man’s personal style’. I believe it’s more than just style, it’s also about who we are.
I guess my watch odyssey began at my paternal grandfather’s funeral. I was sat next to my uncle and for some unexplained reason I was drawn to his enthusiasm that was ‘all about watches’. I remember the watch he wore, an Omega Seamaster and bore the jewellers name. Later I learnt this was where my uncle served his apprenticeship as a watchmaker. The year was 1964 and I was seven years old. A week later a Timex arrived by post and my mum said it had been sent to me by my uncle.
Friends at school were never particularly interested in watches and it certainly was not fashionable to wear a watch. I for one saved my hard earned pennies to buy a watch. At 16 years of age with a part time job flipping burgers and still at school I would travel regularly into town in search of a watch. Convinced that the Seiko 7548 was the way to go I bought one for £30. It was the first watch that I felt looked ‘cool’ and that I could afford. I wore my Seiko everyday for two years, unfortunately one night my home was burgled and my watch stolen.
I have always been fascinated with the mechanics of a watch but it was the sports models that caught my imagination first. Sean Connery’s Rolex Submariner 3536/1 on a NATO did look special. However, in the late 70’s I began to take notice of F1 racing and the emergence of team sponsorship. In 1971 Ferrari signed a deal with Heuer making them the first watch brand to sponsor a F1 team and their drivers. I was so tempted by the Heuer Autavia, automatic chronograph, Calibre 1163 but in 1979 a deposit on a house was my priority.
I continued to save for many years and I would only buy very cheap functional watches, in fact they numbered over fifteen, which I still have safely boxed. None have any financial value but all are equally cherished with their many happy memories. I can honestly say that I am a proud owner of a Micky Mouse watch. I never made my watch obsession known except to my wife. My knowledge and the intricacies of watches is limited therefore I do not profess to be an expert nor will I ever be. Much has been learnt from books, magazines, the Internet and following dedicated watch forums.
I am reminded of a story that a watchmaker told me of an old women who appeared at his workshop with her late husbands Breguet. It was still in its original box accompanied by hand written papers. It had never been worn, how sad is that? My collection was to be enjoyed and worn. With this in mind, in the late 90s, I began to research watch brands and found myself again being drawn to an Autavia. My passion for cars and F1 remains with me to this day and I still enjoy my ‘weekend’ 5.7 V8. Today my collection amounts to fifty watches and includes Copernicus, Gerlach, Christopher Ward, Omega, Rolex and TAG Heuer. In addition, I enjoy several vintage watches including IPI Watch Co and Marc Nicolet.
So what brings me here? It's a new forum, I like TAG Heuer and I'm a watch enthusiast. I'm thinking let's give it a go and see if I fit in.
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