Adam and I ran into Marco Cantiani at a Longines event recently. Marco is the owner of Bijouterie Dominic in Little Italy in Montreal. He is a passionate watch guy and he is also a trained watchmaker. Getting together with Marco is a blast — he’s full of energy, passion AND knowledge. Marco invited us to do “coffee and watches” at Bijouterie Dominic and here is how it went down.
Being a watch collector myself, I head straight to the display cases when I enter Marco’s store. What has changed since our last visit? Zenith! Bijouterie Dominic is now the sole Zenith dealer in Quebec. I have almost zero experience with Zenith watches. Apart from nearly buying a Pilot Extra Special a few years ago, I had never even handled one. The model that screamed at me was the Range Rover chronograph. When you examine the movement, visible through the case back, of a Zenith chronograph, you know the meaning of a grail. I’ll let Adam give you some impressions of Zenith in a separate story.
So we were chatting and enjoying some fine coffee with Marco. Except when a customer walks in. Marco takes time for each and every person entering his store. He treats everyone like a VIP. Whether they are shopping for a $350 Tissot or a $7,500 Omega, Marco takes the time to help them choose the right product. Honestly, I love hanging out at Bijouterie Dominic. Who wouldn’t? I get treated like a VIP, I get to try anything in the store AND I get to learn from a true watch expert.
As we discussed watches, our conversation turned to “expensive vs. affordable” watches. I was mentioning how many serious watch guys I know are getting into way less expensive watches. Marco’s take on this trend was refreshing. He says, “Sure, you can do the gold Rolex. But many wealthy guys have been there. Done that.” He went on to explain that most people cannot afford a $30,000 watch. So if you want a watch that your “regular” friends can relate to, you buy something more accessible. You buy something with a cool color scheme or a gorgeous dial. Marco has been around watches his whole life, yet he seems to appreciate all levels of watches. He spent some time showing me the new Tissot Ballade Powermatic 80 COSC that retails for about a thousand bucks yet offers a pretty cool new movement.
As we discussed the more affordable watch options, I told Marco how excited I am about the soon-to-be-released Longines VHP quartz watches. And I asked Marco if a quartz watch was worth 1500 bucks whereas that money could be saved and applied to a proper mechanical watch. Marco’s response was quick and sincere. He pointed out that a quartz chrono Longines could not be compared to a Longines column wheel chronograph — they are different animals and do not provide the same experience. Then he said, “If someone has a Ferrari, can they not also enjoy a Jeep Wrangler?” Marco went on to express his view that a true watch aficionado should be able to “broaden their horizons” and appreciate different types of watches. We discussed how some guys collect ONLY Rolex and won’t consider anything else while there are other fantastic watches out there for all budgets.
Having said all that nice stuff about the merits of affordable watches, handling some Zenith watches reminds you why you might want to spend the big bucks. The level of finishing and detail on these magnificent timepieces is breathtaking. The new skeleton chrono and the Range Rover were the highlights of my day. I told Marco that handling these watches gave me the true meaning of a grail. Once you’ve got one of these masterpieces in your collection, it must be hard to know where to go. If you live around Montreal and you want to experience real high-end watchmaking, you should visit Bijouterie Dominic and sample some Zenith watches. They are awesome.
Days like today are what watch blogging is all about for me. I got to spend time with Adam — a man I admire and respect. Adam’s passion project, WatchPaper, has given me my creative outlet. And I got to spend a morning with Marco — another man I admire and respect. Marco is like me except that he has a lifetime’s worth of watch knowledge to go with his passion and enthusiasm.
Along with this excellent company, I was surrounded by a ton of amazing watches. I became infatuated with a Longines that I will review later, thanks to Marco. Yes, this is what #bloggerlifestyle is all about — wonderful people connected by a common passion. Or should I say… obsession.
6810 St Laurent Blvd., Montreal, QC H2S 3C7
Phone: (514) 274-8015