CONFESSIONS OF A COLLECTOR

Just before Christmas last year, it only took 13 minutes to make history as the Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 watch, which boasts a stainless steel perpetual calendar with moon phases, became the most expensive wristwatch ever sold at auction at a price of just over 11 million Swiss Francs (10,2 million Euros). Winning the highest bid, out of 400 people present in the Phillips auction hall in Geneva and another 500 online or by phone, was an anonymous private collector. Because the world of watch collection is like that: a pleasure to live, not to show off. To understand the habits and passions of this hardly small “sect,” we met one of its followers able to provide us some insight, but- it goes without saying- that he asked to remain anonymous.

Why be passionate about watches?
In my case, I wasn’t looking to become passionate, the passion found me. For as long as I can remember, even at a young age, I always looked at watches in shop windows or asked for one as a gift. It’s a very relaxed world, one that moves slowly and marks time without rushing. First I became interested in Rolex watches, then I moved to Patek Philippe (for my collection) and then finally to the hard to recognise niche brands for the watches I wear, but I also wear Rolex watches often because it they were my first love.

How do you build a collection and what budget should you have at your disposition to start out?
It stands to reason, a lot. You can specialise in collecting watches with certain features or from a particular brand or era. Every collector has his own focus: Rolex, in my opinion, is a must, although I focused more on Patek. Someone could even collect watches that cost 50 Euros, it depends on the collector’s economic ability. I always say choose what you love, because watches are objects to be worn, they transmit emotion.

New or vintage? And why?
It depends on the type of collection. I am more interested in recent watches.

Can you still get good deals on watches?
In the long term I would say so, yes. It’s not an easy thing, though, because in the last few years the prices have risen markedly, so in order for a style to appreciate and for the seller to earn a profit, it’s now necessary to wait a long time.

Where can you find more information online?
I follow various forums for the timepiece world: Timezone, Hodinkee and in Italy, Orologi & Passioni

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