The first vehicle I ever owned was a Vespa 50cc scooter and when I first sat my 16-year-old ass on it (yes I can remember that far back) I didn’t give a shit about the numerous far superior alternatives on the market, as mine was red! As I learned more about my bike and its various alternatives such as the Lambretta or FSE 50 I soon realized that what I actually had was a lawn mower on wheels. This stark realization soon led to my next bike which led me to my next and so on until I nearly ended up on a Brough Superior for 25k that would be worth around 200k now. However, profits sadly are not how it works for me with vehicles. It seems I am desined to donate at least the amount I could have bought the Brough for annually to the great ‘Motor Gods Charity’ in the sky, as some sort of self-abuse exercise. I truly pay for my addiction to motor vehicles! Cars and bikes being inextricably linked over the years brings me on to our next ‘Toys for Boys’ journey, watches. Most perhaps start with a Tag Heuer, then maybe a Breitling before ending up in the safe hands of Rolex. However, safety isn’t really what the Watchoholic is after so we continue our journey inviting more esteemed, not to mention expensive, brands into our lives such as Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet. But then we slowly come to the realization that being able to go into a shop and buy an expensive watch isn’t exclusive. 20 years ago, perhaps, but wealth is far more widespread today.
What the ridiculous English upper class system refers to as ‘New Money’. So what’s the next step?
Next we decide the way forward is vintage watches. Timepieces you have to seek out, search for in specialist shops or markets even. Gradually the whole philosophy of why we were attracted to watches in the first place changes. We no longer want a shiny dick extension on our wrist; we now seek out watches like ‘James bond Submariners’ or steel vintage Patek chronographs that look like nothing to the uninitiated. But we don’t care; as we are part of the 1% club whose very ethos is knowledge is power. Secretly we long to end up at a dinner party and be seated next to someone wearing a shiny dick watch so as to feel pity for him like a child whom has fallen and cut his knee! In actual fact this inverted snobbery of sporting unassuming steel watches is anything but discrete as invariably the conversation ends up as watches at some point and there’s always someone brave enough to ask the burning question . . . “God you’d never know it was worth that to look at it” at which point everyone discusses your now ridiculously indiscrete watch around the dinner table! Whilst the pursuit of quietly humiliating the uninitiated at the dinner table, as I pitted my 1463 SS Patek chronograh against the Jacob wearing buffoon opposite, was fun for a while it didn’t really seem to hit the spot any more. Partly due to the numerous others who had trodden the same path as me all now lusting after the same pieces but mainly due to watch collecting being a horrendous progressive disease! Some think of me as a maverick or even rebellious I suppose. If those are the names associated with someone who doesn’t want to follow the crowd then they’re right. Though in truth I think it’s more like vanity, wanting to stand out. Anyhow, I decided to do a 180-degree turn. The way forward? Diamond clad pieces. Not after set Day-Dates normally associated with the dodgy used car dealer as this would be like wearing a vintage Rolex with a restored dial, but a 6269 pave dial Cosmograph. It ticked all the boxes. Stunning to look at, rarer than rocking horse shit and more importantly offensive to all but the truly horologically enlightened. The 0.1%! Complication has been used to death today and means very little in the skilled watch-making department. You can see Tourbillions retailed today by various nondescript brands for as little as 1500 Euros. This is mainly due to the fact that corners have been cut so severely by Swiss outsourcing to China that it’s come round to bite them in the ass.
You play with fire you get burned. This however is not such a piece. This is a tourbillion amongst tourbillions and the fact that Mr. Mille made one of the 30 pieces with a baguette set case? He must have been thinking of me! I wish I were so important! He actually set 5 of the 30 with stones. OK, sales pitch over and I’m not saying there isn’t anything seedy about diamond set watches. That would be stupid. To the uninitiated of course they look like something from a cheesy porno film and actually I do have a little bit of a dirty secret . . . One of my greatest pleasures is diving into the ocean wearing an offensive diamond clad piece. Some might say it’s actually the relief of seeing it still on my wrist as I get out but it’s not. Gold, diamonds, sun and salt water are the best ingredients for one of life’s ultimate cocktails of debauchery. So what next then? Nostradamus said that world war 3 would be fought with bows and arrows. So perhaps shortly I’ll go back to wearing Tag Heuers again. But that would be just fine by me as theone thing that dealing an collecting watches has taught me over the twenty years is, it’s the journey not the destination that matters.
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Like the reintroduction of the Mini motorcar over a decade ago, this reinterpretation of Big Pilot by IWC is better than the original. This 1st series Platinum example is of course the top of the top.