An artist by profession, and a watch collector by passion - his journey in the world of horology has been driven by manifestations and more! We’re talking about none other than Aditya Jassi, an avid watch collector, sneakerhead, and singer-songwriter and also a licensed pilot from Delhi.
But his hat is filled with many feathers. After letting go of his aviation dreams, he did a Masters in Journalism and Mass Communication. Thereafter he also worked in electronic media but music had always been his passion.
We caught up with him to understand his journey in watch collecting and music. Sharing his thoughts on how this all started he said, “My love for watches came earlier than my love for music. When I was a kid, my dad had a, Rado-esque-looking black and gold ceramic watch. I don't know whether it was a Rado, whether it was a knockoff. But as a kid, I would just go grab it. The first watch that I got was a very Mickey Mouse, Disney sort of looking watch that my parents got for me when I reached class 6th.”
What was the transition like from wearing a Mickey Mouse to now collecting serious watches? He said, “I was in class 10th when I bought myself a Casio calculator watch, back then from the money that I had saved. I bought a Casio calculator, which was phenomenal, I think Casio is phenomenal. They're bulletproof. The first serious watch I bought was the Tag Heuer Grand Carrera. So this is the Grand Carrera caliber 17. I was on a gig tour in the Middle East -I was playing one show in Abu Dhabi, one in Dubai, and one in Sharjah. I went to the Dubai Mall and I bought myself this watch in 2009 and it still works perfectly fine. I was a Tag Heuer fan because back in the day Shahrukh Khan wore it too.”
Being an artist isn’t very easy. How has the journey been for you in music? “I reached a point where I wasn't getting any work. A couple of my songs were plagiarized. I was living hand to mouth in Bombay despite coming from a fairly affluent background. My parents are documentary filmmakers. Money wasn't clearly an issue as such, but for me, it had a lot to do with the fact that I'm a first-generation musician in my family. If I have to make it, I'm going to make it on my own. So whether that means I have to not eat for days, I would fight it out. Then slowly things just got better for the year. I think it was extremely difficult, but then slowly, slowly things started getting better”, he shared.
What has been the biggest struggle to overcome in this journey? He said, “There was this one time and I had no money. I still remember I had like 80 rupees in my bank account and 12 rupees in my pocket and I still live in Lokhandwala. There used to be a Maggiwala and there used to be a Vada Pavwala outside the Yashraj studio. And that Vada Pavwala used to be the one who used to give me, who used to feed me. And I got a call one day to sing a jingle. The studio was on Hill Road in Bandra. And I was like, okay, what do I do? Because Andheri to Bandra, the local used to be, I think seven rupees. But my Vada Pav was six rupees. Should I eat or should I go? I chose to eat and I just put my headphones on and walked from Lokhandwala to Hill Road. And the funniest bit is that I had no money and yet I was wearing a three-and-a-half lakh watch. Okay, and yeah, I did the jingle, got paid on the spot despite their policy of 45 days, and then things just picked up for me from there. All the events have been a learning experience for me.”
It’s all about finding the X factor in you. People often consider music to not be work. Back in the day, music wasn’t considered an art by most people. But, he was certain this was his calling. Transitioning from a drummer to a guitarist to impress his lady love back in his school days, he fell in love with music. Aditya has made a career of playing a mix of RD and ACDC. It has also swayed into his songwriting and own style.
How has watch collecting attributed to the different phases in your life? “To commemorate my flying, I got myself a Bell & Ross. For me, watches are all about that connection. IWC and Breitling for however great they are, I somehow always was fascinated by Bell & Ross. For me, this was a pilot's watch. This was like one of those odometers and one of those altometers inside of flight. And I have like a six-and-a-half-inch wrist. So the BR01 and 03 seem too bulky. And this is a BRS. This watch had a major role to play in what I call manifestation.”
Manifestations do have the power to come true when done with the right intent. And for Aditya, one watch helped him manifest another. Sharing this story he said, “I decided that on my 40th birthday, I'm going to buy myself a Rolex. One of my favorite Rolexes is the GMT-2 Batman. And I decided to save up. So when I was 35, I didn't have that much money at that time. And by the time I turned 40, the entire market just went berserk. I was 39 and nine months in and there is no Rolex around. Now I have the money, but I don't have the watch But my gig in Chandigarh, wearing the Bell & Ross helped me manifest the Rolex GMT-2 Batman.”
No matter what you do, you could be doing a nine-to-five corporate job, but if you love what you do, you don't work a day in your life. And he absolutely loves what he does! But, also a very interesting link between his passions is watchmakers drawing inspiration from music. Sharing his thoughts on this he said, “Watchmaking and music are very similar. You have to be absolutely thick in the head to follow these two passions as professionals. The amount of competition that there is crazy. Now, the similarities are also plenty because if you're writing a song there's so much that goes into it. So what you hear is not, so how you would probably perceive music. If I'm listening to a song, I'm listening to the lyrics. I'm listening to what's the drum group that has gone behind it. I'm listening to how many layers of tracks have gone into it and what are the guitar parts. What's the emotion behind singing that one line? Same as with watchmaking. You have to be thick in the skull. Can you imagine fixing a movement, fixing 300 pieces in a two-millimeter-thick dial? You know, coming up with design. This is why I feel art and watchmaking go hand-in-hand.”
This collector has a story behind every watch. Continuing the conversation on music and watches he said, “I bought the Hamilton Ventura. This is the watch that Elvis Presley has, or used to wear. This was like one of those rock and roll pieces. I've always been a fan of Hamilton. I think they're beautiful watches, and worth it. It fits the personality. It's a skeleton dial, a Ventura, which was made famous by Elvis, and later made famous by Men in Black. So it had that pop culture reference!”
We also asked him which would be his grail and grave watches. “I would like to divide my grail watch into two parts - one that I will get and one that is aspirational. So the grail that I know I'm going to get is the Vacheron Constantin 1921 Historiques in rose gold. The one that I aspire is the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime or the Sky Moon. In terms of grave watches, all of them would go to my son, if not they’d come with me to the grave since I have worked very hard to get them”, he further explained.
The conversation ended with how he bought himself the Rolex Datejust Wimbledon dial because of a financial goal he had set for himself. Also, a Tissot PRX Ice-Blue dial which was gifted to him by his brother-in-law, and the MB&F Mad One which he bought on a premium - something which he would never ever do.
Well, watches with a story always have a special place in all our hearts. And Aditya Jassi’s story is one that definitely connects with everyone!
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