Interview With A Collector - @watch_1505
We recently had the opportunity to chat with one of Instagram’s newest but more prominent watch collectors, @watch_1505. We’ve all grown accustomed to seeing watches from the likes of Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin and A. Lange & Söhne on his page, so we were super excited when he agreed to take time out of his busy schedule to chat with us.
Side note: The panhandle "@watch_1505" is actually derived from the world's first watch. Also known as PHN1505 or Pomander of Watch 1505, the watch was created by Peter Henlein in 1505, a well known German inventor, locksmith and watchmaker. Surprisingly enough the watch still works and is estimated to cost as much as $80,000,000USD.
First off, let’s officially introduce @watch_1505 as the next interviewee on Haulogerie. Thanks for chatting with us. Before we get into it, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Passions/Hobbies: Collecting watches!
Marital status: Happily married
What first drew you to watches?
During the 1970s when I was studying in Switzerland, I was impressed by the rich historical Swiss proficiency in micro-mechanic energy generation, chronometry accuracy adjustment & dial making, and carefully observed the 1970’s quartz technology challenge to the Swiss industry.
I was intrigued by how George Daniels created an enhancement on chronometry precision by introducing the Coaxial Escapement to his movements.
What do you find is a watch’s greatest appeal?
A watch is practically the only piece of jewellery a man can wear (apart from his wedding ring!). They provide useful functions with complications like the chronograph, perpetual calendar, GMT that serve me well on a day to day basis. They’re a reflection of the identity of the wearer, his traits and his personality. Perhaps even more so during the pocket watch era.
And what was your first serious watch?
I started off with a Rolex.
Historically in our region, we had limited exposure to the horological world and to the art of kinetic energy utilization. Rolex’s fame popped out from a “sport challenge” to cross the English Channel in 1927, besides the world’s first self-winding rotor patent in 1931. This stuck with me ever since I was aware of that challenge, that’s why Rolex was my first watch.
You seem to have a penchant for some very traditional watches. Can you expand on the direction of your collection?
I look for pieces with distinguishing features like true artisanship, especially apparent in independent watches. Their personal signature matters, so that means they expect nothing less than perfection. I have a lot of respect for watchmakers that design and build their own movement parts, that hold their own patents on their calibres and case developments, and that have disclosed agreements with other major horological brands. I also appreciate after sales service, like having the ability to service any timepiece irrespective of the watch’s age, condition, etc.
As expansive as your collection is, do you have a favourite?
For me Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin are my favourites. I consider them top-tier watches, especially the ones with complicated movements in them.
In addition, what do you find yourself wearing the most often?
I normally find myself wearing pieces from Patek and from Vacheron at the moment. I find them to be the most suitable to my lifestyle, my tastes and my preferences.
You already own some incredible watches that are grails for many of us. What would you say is your grail?
When I choose a watch, I give preference given to self-satisfaction to the brand, calibre execution and the watchmarker’s dedication to attention to detail during production phase (calibre assembly and finishing, dial finishing and casing finishing), rather than how others evaluate it or how aesthetically beautiful it is. For example, I love the simplistic look of a minute repeater, and focus on its beauty as opposed to its functional limitations.
Do you have a favourite brand?
Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Kari Voutilianen, Philippe Dufour, F P Journe, Urban Jurgensen, Roger W. Smith & Greubel Forsey.
In addition, what makes these your favourite amongst all the other impressive watchmakers out there?
Vacheron Constantin’s history is favourable, Patek Philippe has heritage and Roger W. Smith, Greubel Forsey & F.P. Journe as independent innovators.
What are your thoughts on the independent brands, do you have a favourite and will we see @watch_1505 adding an indie to his collection any time soon?
Rexhep Rexhepi, Kari Voutilianen, Philippe Dufour, F P Journe, Roger W. Smith, Greubel Forsey. They’re all my favourites, I can’t pick. They all represent and bring something different to the table.
And any new pieces coming in? This is my little secret. :)
Do you have a particular watchmaker, independent or not, that you stay away from?
I avoid watchmakers dependent on using ébauche movements, as I truly value in-house manufacturing. For example, I steer well clear of Franck Muller.
What are your thoughts on “hype watches” and the way that the market is currently trending?
Hype is a window of opportunity from watchmakers to attract the younger customers
to their watches as a business opportunity, and I guess they are commercially doing well on account that customers normally come with little knowledge of watchmaking history and heritage.
I feel that brands who do conduct business that way are not really supporting the industry and only their own financially vested interests.
You’ve built an impressive collection that we are all extremely fond of (and to be honest, a little envious!), as is the rest of the #watchfam community. Any words of advice on budding collectors looking for their first watch?
You should choose a watch based on what you want, not just the brand name on the dial. Think about things like the brand’s history, tradition, heritage, expertise, rarity, quality, values and industry name. For example, consider things that go on during the watchmaking process like the manufacturer’s utilisation of decorative techniques, chronometry accuracy, timekeeping efficiency and the like. Don’t worry about the brand name, worry about what appeals to you from a horological and personal perspective. Buy what you like, not what the industry or social media says you should like.
Thank you so much for your time. We look forward to seeing more of your wrist shots!