TheSydneyTarts: Thank you for agreeing to the interview!
MelbourneWatchCollector: Thank you for asking me! I've been a big fan of the blog for some time now.
TST: Well, let me again start with the obvious. How did you get started in watch collecting?
MWC: First of all, to me "a collection" implies some sort of order or logic to my purchases. I'm not sure that describes me, I think I'm more "one of those guys that owns a lot of watches".
About 25 years ago I had some sort of ana-digital watch – I'm guessing a Casio or Seiko – rectangular face, analog hands for time and a digital display at the bottom for date and maybe it had a chrono as well, but I couldn't say for sure. And in the fullness of time the battery went flat. So I said to my father, "Can I borrow a watch while I get the battery replaced?" and he lent me a nice Omega with a chrono.
What I didn't know at the time was I was wearing an early 60s Speedy. And it stayed on my wrist for probably close to 10 years (would you have bothered replacing the battery in the crappy Seiko ana-digital?) until I finally got sick of paying Omega $300+ every couple of years to service it. So, needing to replace it, and not having a clue about watches, I bought an Omega Seamaster Pro .. Yes, the blue dial & bezel model that I'd seen Pierce Brosnan wearing, so that dates the purchase to somewhere around 1998 / 99.
|Omega Seamaster Professional, now known as the "Bond" watch|
MWC: It took another couple of years until I made my next purchase, an Oris Worldtimer. This is where the problems really began – I realised I could own more than one watch, and you then discover you can own more than you have wrists for …. And two quickly became a much bigger number.
TST: Ahh yes the slippery slope that almost all watch collectors goes through and never really gets back up from. After that downward spiral, I find that a stage a lot of watch collectors seem to go through is one of buying junk. Would you say this is a stage you've gone through as well?
MWC: I've bought a lot of junk over the years - crappy Russian knock offs (not copies) of Navitimers, Chinese GMT II's and the like .. Most of which broke and weren’t worth repairing or were simply disposed of.
TST: Do you have any other regrets apart from buying junk?
MWC: The only collecting rabbit hole that I regret falling down for a little while was 24 hour dials – I had three or four at one stage, including a stunning early 60s' Navitimer Cosmonaute, but if you change watches every day they're impossible to read at a glance. They're the only watches I've ever sold.
TST: Now you could say that your dad's Omega kind of kick started your enthusiasm for watches- did the Omega thing stick?
MWC: I've got a good assortment of Omegas – the above mentioned Seamaster Pro, a 60s' gold 3 hand Seamaster, a Speedy with triple date, a gold (plated) 50s' triple date moon, a yellow Schumacher Speedy, and a 70s' Dynamic. Ignoring the cost of early pre-moon Speedys (I still borrow Dad's now and then) and some of the Flight Masters (currently high on my want list) I find Omegas good value compared to the other name Swiss brands.
TST: I believe you don't just stick to Swiss watches either?
MWC: Yes I have a good number of of 70s' Seiko chronos. My first real watch – at age 13 – was a Seiko 6139-7002, and I've added one to the box in the last year or two. I remember being so happy with my watch until a mate who was about 6 months younger got a Seiko LCD watch when he turned 13 (this would have been late '76) and all of a sudden those hands didn't look so good to me. But I'm guessing he hasn't tracked down a replacement of the watch he wore as a teenager
TST: Something else that's also fairly tough and unbreakable, albeit at a price, is Rolex. However, this is a brand that polarizes people's opinions. Where do you stand on the Rolex issue?
MWC: It took me a long time to buy a Rolex, more because I didn't like the image of being a "rolex guy" (ie: a dentist) than for any other reason, but I've since fallen for them, with a Sub, a GMT II and an Explorer II all happily living in my watch box. The GMT II is my default travel watch – easy to change time zones, I can swim in it, and fine to wear either in a meeting or out for a night of drinking.
|The current Rolex GMT Master II|
MWC:I bought a Maurice Lacroix Reviel Globe 7 or 8 years ago that saw a lot of wear – I used to call it my working watch: three time zones and an alarm, but the cost of replacing the strap ($350 - it's an odd size) has kept it in the box of late. There are some other odds and ends: a Magrette diver (don't really like it any more), assorted low value 70s' divers, a Tissot Navigator chrono that is very hard to read (dial / hand colours are too close) and it needs a new "lobster" bracelet, a pocket watch, and a James Bond Seiko quartz something or other.
At the upper end of the collection is a Graham Oversize Chronofighter GMT Big Date (the name is almost as big as the watch) that I bought in HK maybe 4 years ago, and the spoilt princess of the watch box is a JLC Reverso GMT. The Reverso probably only spends a night a month on my wrist, but it's always wound and ready to go.
|Assortment of watches, including a couple of Seiko Bullheads, Maurice Lacroix, Omega, Oris, and Reverso|