In this edition of Q&A with watch collectors, we’re speaking with my good pal, FormulaTime. He and I agree to disagree sometimes on watches, but you can’t deny his style! Of all the watch collectors I know, FormulaTime has strategically built the most diverse and calculated timepiece collection. This is a conversation we had following our Grand Prix Thursday dinner in Montreal. Enjoy.
We’re seeing resurgence in the interest in mechanical watches lately, what do you think of this renewed interest in mechanical watches?
I don’t care about the mechanism to be honest. I know that you guys are fanatics, but I actually don’t care. I care about the style. So, style for me is the number one reason to buy a watch. It has to look good and this pretty much the only reason why I would buy a watch.
What was the last watch that you acquired and what will be your next watch that you hope to acquire?
I have the theory that you should not buy more than one watch from the same brand. Essentially, I try to get the watch that I like from each brand.
I never had a Hublot that was my last acquisition. I needed a watch that had gold, but I didn’t like the one that is all gold, I went with Classic Fusion King Gold that I find it to be less Mafioso and more classy. I was looking for a gold watch and I actually looked at couple of different ones, some of them were really expensive, so to fit my budget I had to go with a model that has certain parts in gold and Hublot has the Classic Fusion King Gold that has the rose gold bezel. I love Hublot, so when I saw the watch I fell in love with it and I bought it.
My next watch will probably be a vintage piece. I will most probably go with an old Patek Philippe and I wanted to have a history behind it. I’m not interested in watch that some guy bought and he lost his job and he sold it. I really want some history behind it and I will have to know the person from who I’m buying it.
Interesting! So what do you think of new watches with a retro style, like re-issues as an alternative to vintage watches?
I think, it really has to be a top brand, otherwise I’m not interested.
When we’re talking of vintage watches, we’re thinking of smaller, thinner pieces, while lately the trend was to go bigger and bigger. What do you think of the over-size trend in watches and is it reversing?
I don’t think so. Oversized watches have been around for a few years and it’s easy to see why people like them, they are visible. You can wear them with confidence. The question is will the trend remain in women’s oversized watches? That, I don’t think so.
What brand you never owned but you would want to own?
Patek Philippe and maybe IWC.
What was the first piece that you dreamed of owning?
It was a TAG Carrera, I saw it in a magazine when I was flying to Vegas and it was Lewis Hamilton wearing it and I absolutely loved everything about that watch. I knew it is going to be my first piece and the minute I had the money for my 30th birthday I bought it. I remember when I bought it in Los Angeles, I put it on and I couldn’t stop looking at it. I would go into a store looking for a mirror just to stare at it. I loved it! I still love everything about it!
You still have it?
I still have it. I never sold a watch that I ever bought. Because I only care about style and not about the mechanics, each piece in my collection fits a specific style. I have watch with a black leather strap; I have a gold watch; I have a stainless steel watch; I have another one with a camel strap.
If you would have to choose one piece to wear it forever, the only piece you could have and you have to wear it every day the rest of your life, either tell us what type of watch or what specific model would it be?
It would probably be my Rolex Datejust II, 41 mm, and stainless steel. It goes with every outfit, brown, black, short, jeans and it’s a Rolex. No matter where you go, people will look at it and say “he’s wearing a Rolex”.
Going back to the way I choose watches, I choose them by style; I have everything from a Bell & Ross Phantom to the Panerai Luminor with a camel strap. I actually choose my outfit based on the watch that I feel like wearing. I actually buy suits and shirts based on my watch collection.
What are you wearing now?
I wear the Hublot, so I made sure to have something blue, light blue, black belt, black shoes.
Would you more likely or less likely do business with me when I show up with a Luminor?
I would definitely do business with you. The other day, a guy came into my office and he claimed to be the top commercial real estate broker in Canada. He got my name from god-knows-where and he begged me to do business with him. When he showed up with a Casio, I could not speak to him. I told him I was not interested.
Do you think that this is typical North American or Canadian to be more specific that people don’t recognize the value of wearing a decent watch?
One hundred percent! If you look at billionaires in the US, they are fine with wearing nothing or tech people wearing digital timepieces. I think it’s an American thing; Canada is a bit different yet still similar to the US.
In Europe, all my friends would not dare to go out unless they are wearing a nice watch. Just to give you an example, the other day I was in Barcelona and this Spanish guy at Starbucks asked me if that’s a Luminor that I’m wearing. He showed me he had Panerai. He saved every single penny to buy his Panerai. He bought it second hand and he wore it with pride.
Manual or automatic?
One hundred percent automatic! I’m too lazy, I have a manual watch but I hate it. I love the watch, I love its style but I hate winding it. For me it’s a waste of time and if you forget to wind it, you better have a good power reserve. Probably the only time when I’m going to sell a watch, it will be my manual Luminor and I will buy the automatic version of it.
One final question, we’re in Montreal having fun, it’s GP weekend, what significance does your timepiece play this weekend?
Not yet, but it will as I’m going to the race, Saturday at the qualifying session I’ll be wearing my Carrera and I’m going to do lap times on the chronograph even as I know it’s not accurate compared to the official time. On Sunday, I’ll be wearing the B&R Phantom that I find it to be the ultimate dress-down watch.
Thanks a lot!