style brick road: Old Time(r)s

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Old Time(r)s

Oh, the unattainable luxuries of life... At moments it's a whole wardrobe of Dries Van Noten and Haider Ackermann, at other ones it's a watch. Yes, just one watch - and an old one indeed. 

My love for watches has always been part of my love for fashion and luxury. It was probably introduced by my maternal grandfather, who always immaculately wore his watch - and loved it to death. He was never really obsessed by how much that watch was worth - it was just the fact that he always (and I do mean ALWAYS) had one on his wrist. He still does, but now it's a watch I gifted to him - and I still can't express the warmth inside my heart when I surprised him with a dark leather Daniel Wellington, one that I ordered just for him... He was so happy and excited, and he still wears it. At any given point... That kind of love for the small tick-tock thingie on the wrist (aka watch) is something that has been one of the trademarks of my grandpa, one that I will always carry on.

And sweet memories often do get back to bite you in the arse, so I started to create a vintage wrist-watch collection of my own. A Montblanc or a Rolex definitely aren't in my budget, but my Casios and Seikos are luxurious in their own way. Ebay obsessing and market hopping are the best ways to build that collection in an accessible way, but dreaming is allowed, no? That's how I recently started digging a bit more into what I soon realised is a black hole of the watch industry - mechanical, automatic or quartz, analog, tactic or digital... It's a field that's almost impossible to grasp for a hobby-ist like myself, so my intention is definitely not to offend a connoisseur that lives for it. My approach was quite a bit more historical and interested into a brand that I find particularly interesting - not only because it's like the Chanel of clock-world, but also because it has an interesting background. But seriously, even an absolute fashion clueless knows about Chanel. Same goes about Rolex.

A brand that was founded by a 24-year-old in 1905, today stands as a notoriously serious and insanely popular Rolex - a globally known brand that produces 2 000 watches per day and earns about seven and a half billion dollars a year. Even imagining how this London-Swiss mixed giant truly works - I would presume it's like the most most complex clockface ever - it's almost impossible. So, my concentration wasn't on the industrial part, but the feeling part. What does a Rolex offer when sold for that (personally) almost uncomofortably, filthy big amounts of $$$$? The brand stands for timelessness, eternity, power, and force. Although quite a manly idea, a lot of the products today state for extremely feminine (yet still powerful) pieces. It just makes me wildly impressed on how notoriously luxurious not only the brand, but the whole industry is. However, when I think a bit more - it does makes sense: in a day that is obsessed with trends, fast fashion and morbidly quick pace of changing our appearance, having that security of a luscious item with you is priceless. A Rolex is like a property that holds the appearance together.

It's definitely interesting to see how that booming luxury market also pushed the vintage market as a tag-along - vintage wrist watches are a category and a field of their own. So many elements and variables that make it what it is, once again left me short - but researching on old Rolex watches left me feeling teary-eyed - I just wanted to try all of them on and flaunter around. Just the imagination of those special pieces being part of me - unbelievable. And while researching on Vintage Rolex pieces, I saw this unbelievably camp but so fun artwork by a Brazilian artist named Jose Geraldo Reis Pfau, whose hobby of creating motorcycle miniatures out of watch pieces just makes me smile - but in a way that still holds an arts-worth point of view. It may be camp and cute, but it definitely holds a strong dose of craftsmanship and artistry inside. But hey - if I ever got my hands on a vintage Rolex, I doubt it would end up as a motorcycle...
One of the founders of Rolex SA, Hans Wilsdorf hinting a bit of his Rolex Jubilee
'Fatest watch breaking the record' - driver Sir Malcolm Campbell wearing a Rolex Oyster in 1935
1967 Rolex Submariner advertising (price of the watch: $175)
Edgar Mitchell of Apollo 14 adjusting his Rolex GMT
Legendary Air Force pilot Chuck Yaeger wearing a Rolex Submariner
Miniature clockface artwork by Jose Geraldo Reis Pfau
Vintage watch from Croots, Hvar
Clockwise (heh, pun unintended) from top: vintage Casio with black strap, vintage Seiko and vintage digital Casio

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