A diverse group. Different nationalities, contrasting provenance, distant longitudes and unique individuals. What could an Indian investment banker, a Danish photographer and author, a healthcare industry professional from New Jersey, an Indian industrialist from Chennai, a luxury consultant and journalist from the Middle East and a gentleman from New Delhi into automotive component distribution, have in common? As odd as it may seem, there’s appreciably a commonality to this group of heterogeneous beings than it may seem. Collectors, passionate gentry of watch-collectors.
The year gone by has brought about many new norms, learning and new finds. While each of us has risen, individually or collectively, with the experiences, I would like to still believe that it has not diminished our passion to collect. Keeping this in mind, we decided to talk to these passionate individuals and share their encounters and acquisitions from the year gone by.
“2020 was the year where I got into collecting Omega’s” says a young and dynamic Madhav Verma. An investment banker, from New Delhi, advising companies on their M&A plans and helping them raise Private Equity, Madhav is an engineering major who will be attending the MBA program at Duke University, this fall. “I acquired 3 of them in a span of a few weeks, with the Omega Aqua Terra World-Timer being my favourite of the lot. I was hunting a clean and crisp World-Timer and it was over a watch-gang get together a friend showed me Omega’s latest and greatest: the Omega Aqua Terra World-Timer. The execution of the laser ablated dial, harmoniously integrated into the beautiful blue dial won me over”. Madhav confesses “I eat, drink and sleep watches”. “The strap with its distinctive stitching and rich shade of blue was what further sealed the deal.
Soon enough, I called up Mr. Anil Madan at Johnson Watch Company and told him I wanted the watch on a certain day to celebrate an occasion. Mr Madan, true to his name and tradition ensured the process of acquiring the piece was flawless and made it happen on the day, to mark the celebration. That was the day, I also became an Omega collector and further decided to explore its offerings more, resulting in the addition of the Speedmaster Z-33 and the Seamaster Emirates Team New Zealand . As we begin the year, I have already requested to get the new Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch (3861, with the sapphire case-back) and the Snoopy”. The buck doesn’t stop there for Madhav. As the co-founding member of Watch Collectors India, one of India’s leading high-end watch enthusiast networks, he collects Patek Philippe, Rolex and Audemars Piguet. While the most popular watches from the 3 brands remain unattainable to most, Madhav quotes “Nothing fuels my passion to achieve the impossible, than watches”.
Photographer, author, watch-writer
“2020 was a good year for my collection. I bought a Rolex Explorer II “Freccione” ref. 1655, a Rolex Sea-Dweller ref. 1665 “Rail Dial” and a Linde Werdelin 3 Timer NORD. All the amazing watches” says Kristian.
A published author of seven books on horology and a keynote speaker, Mr. Haagen does have his favourite. “The one that really made me smile was the Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921. Not only have I been lusting after this watch since it launched in 2008. It is also an important timepiece for the manufacturer, as the American 1921 was the first watch to use the in-house produced calibre 4400” says Kristian. “On the wrist, the American 1921 makes quite an impact. I realised that when I took one of the very last drives on my motorbike in October 2020 and checked the time without lifting my hand off the handle. That proved the original purpose that made the watch in 1921. But also proves its purpose in modern times.”
Sales – Healthcare Industry
“I reside in the US in New Jersey. I’m a Sales Professional in the Healthcare Industry and outside of that I have a huge passion for music, photography, writing, and most definitely watches’ says Jeremy Caparas.
“My love for watches started at a young age due to my amazement of my father’s love for watches. He gave me a few, but the one that really created my true passion for them was the Rolex Gold Yacht Master 16628. To this day, I still wear it as one of my most special pieces and it’ll be one that’ll never leave the collection”.
“In 2020”, says Jeremy, “My most exciting purchase would have to be my Omega Speedmaster Professional 1863 ‘Sapphire Sandwich’. Quite a few years ago, I had to sell a Seamaster I owned and wow that was a really hard one to let go of. For years I told myself that I would add an Omega back in the collection and one timepiece that always struck me was the Speedmaster. I was always fascinated by the history behind it and was always a huge fan of chronographs. Also, I have a huge love for see-through case-backs and being able to admire the beautiful calibre 1863 movement at any time makes this piece even more exciting”.
“2020 was such a crazy year for us. Everyone all over the world has been affected somehow. It was a year that was all about staying strong, embracing the little things to be grateful for, and to push through to achieve your goals no matter what”. Jeremy resonates with our sentiments when he quotes “Timepieces not only tell time, but they capture time and when I look at this piece, it will always symbolize 2020, staying positive, being grateful, and achieving your goals”.
MD – Sri Agarwal Ispat
“My one watch from 2020, would be the collaborative watch by H Moser & Cie. and MB&F, the Endeavour cylindrical Tourbillon” says Umesh Kumar. “I could be biased on making this a choice, even though I most love the other watches in my collection, but this is what happens when two passionate watchmakers collaborate. The two most conspicuous and successful entities of the century”.
“The funky fume blue dial creation is the very essence of the watch and the one I acquired, it is one of the fifteen watches made and unfortunately one was stolen in transit” says Umesh.
“Helical hairspring and the flying tourbillon is the heart of the watch and the core character which is a rare and unique sight. The incredible domed sapphire glass is the only caveat in the watch as the height increases considerably. The time display is at 40degree angle shows the audacity of max Busser and HMC, like, who in the world would even imagine to display time in this manner. The watch is 42mm, comfortable to wear and the Tourbillon with a helical spring in action is a sight to behold!”
Watch and jewellery connoisseur
“If the Pandemic has taught me anything it would be to focus on what truly matters and to filter out all the noise and all the clutter away. The pandemic has shown me that this is the time to express your love and appreciation to those that matter most” says Katia.
“In previous years I had always planned endless wish-lists of watches that I wanted to obtain for my own personal pleasure. But 2020 is different in every way. My most prized acquisition in 2020 is a gift to my husband which is the Patek Philippe Aquanaut in rose gold. This is the time to show the people that we care about what they truly mean to us and to do so, in the timeless essence of fine watchmaking”.
Mr. Gurmeet Sethi
Distribution – Automotive Components
“The watch that I added in 2020 was the Grand Seiko SLGH003” says Gurmeet, better known as ‘Sunny’ to his friends. “The first time I saw a Grand Seiko was at an event in New Delhi. I was intrigued by what they showcased, but as a product I was not quite convinced enough to pull the trigger. A dear friend of mine, Kairav got me into GS. When the watch was launched, I was immediately captivated by the changes they had done to the bracelet. With the thickness of the case reduced and the rave reviews about the movement, I was convinced. Although, most of my watch purchases are aesthetically inclined, for me; the only expectation I had, as far as the movement of the watch is concerned, was that it should be an in-house produced and a certified chronometer, at the least”.
“I must say, I wasn’t disappointed at all when I received the watch” confesses Sethi. “The fine details GS executes when they make and design a watch, are truly inspiring. Everything about this watch, be it the choice of colour of the dial or the beautiful zaratsu polishing on the case, makes it an exemplary package. My watch obsession is now almost two decades old, but this one just strikes a different cord than most of the other brands, in its price category”.
The collective being vehement for fine-watchmaking and quest for all things alluring, it’s a joy to share the love and knowledge with like minded individuals; for whom a timepiece transcends beyond an inanimate object. Afterall, as diverse as the watch community may be, it is our passion for watches that unites us.