EP19 – #wristalk – Josh Kohn (@lactardjosh)

I have been an avid follower of Josh for as long as I can remember (on my private account), back then I remember him owning this particular vintage Seiko, definitely a 6139 (can’t remember the reference) with a really nice beige-coloured patinated dial. Yup… irrelevant! But anyway, Josh is one of the main characters in the community who runs the weekly infamous #head2headcopycat hashtag and also if you’re a #strapnerd, you might have just found your new best friend. This is EP19, enjoy guys! I know y’all waited long enough!

-Marshall-

Even as they progress technologically, watches hold on to the past.

Josh Kohn (@lactardjosh on Instagram)

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How it all started?

I’ve been fascinated by watches since I was very young. My grandfather had a number of watches and at that young age, I was amazed that some of them would keep running just by the movement of his wrist. I’m lucky enough that he’s given me one of his watches already – a small Bucherer that he bought on a trip to Switzerland in the 1960s. I remember him wearing it when I was little, so it’s very special to me. Interest in mechanical watches was very natural to me. I was constantly taking things apart as a kid to see how they worked. And even back then, the ticking sound of a mechanical watch was very soothing to me. To this day, I like holding a running watch up to my ear to hear that wonderful sound.

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What was your first watch?

My first watch was a Swatch around 9 or 10 years old. I barely remember it. I lost it a week after getting it, while on vacation with my family. The first watch I owned for any significant amount of time was a digital Casio that I got when I was 11. I loved that watch so much. I wore it every day for years. Showered with it on; slept with it on. The only reason it came off my wrist was when the original rubber strap broke, which was then replaced with a cool Velcro strap. I wish I still had it, but it got lost in a move years ago after I had stopped wearing it regularly.

What do watches mean to you?

As I mentioned earlier, I’m fascinated by mechanical movements. But in a greater sense, it’s the entire package that appeals to me. A great movement inside a terribly designed watch is not interesting to me. I’m a curious person, so I like to read and learn as much as I can about a given subject. I read a ton about watches, constantly looking for new insights. If I don’t understand how something works, I try to figure it out. That’s one of the reasons I assembled my own watch using off the shelf parts. It helped me form a better understanding of how watches work, including the energy and dedication required to produce these little machines. It made me re-look at the aesthetics of design and the limitations of certain designs. It made me appreciate fine independent watchmakers.

Even as they progress technologically, watches hold on to the past. They’re a professional connection to my grandfather, a bridge to broader history, and beyond.

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What is the focus of your collection?

My collection centres on affordable watches, typically under $1000. Understandably then, Seiko is at the core of my collection. I’m a huge Seiko fan, love both their vintage and modern designs. Their importance in the watch world cannot be overstated, though I believe they are often under-appreciated by many WIS. Seiko is one of those brands that you must have in your collection.

I am usually drawn to simpler, cleanly designed watches, like a classic three­-hander. For a long time, I didn’t have a traditional diver with an external bezel in my collection. That’s changed in the last year and now I have

I’d like to expand my collection to include what I call curated pieces, a term I first used while discussing a friend’s collection. A curated watch is one that you own because of its uniqueness, a design curiosity, or historical significance. It’s not a watch you wear often, or ever, and it’s not a watch you would ever consider selling. As an example in my collection, the Swatch Sistem 51 is a curated piece. Its horological significance is undeniable. It’s not a fantastic watch or a flawless design, but it’s the first of its kind. And it personally brings me full circle back to my first, long lost watch. Another example, which I’d like to own at some point, is an early Seiko 7a28. I’m not much of a quartz guy, but the first quartz analog chronograph is historically significant and important to me.

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I’m currently on a search for an Omega Speedmaster 145.022 with a 37 serial (to approximately date it to 1978). This would be a birth year watch for me and the watch I’d hope to pass on to one of my children.

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What was the last watch you bought?

Tricky question, because of pre­orders and other conditions. The white Halios Tropik SS is the watch I most recently bought. I’ve become a great fan of Halios in the past two years, having already owned a Tropik B and admired nearly all of their watches. I really loved the white dial from its announcement, but when it was first released, the timing was poor for me to purchase. I found one on the secondary market recently.

My most recent arrival is the prototype white dialled Carpenter Brooklyn Field, though that was paid for long ago. I had an opportunity to help support Carpenter and was happy to do so.

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Which is your favourite watch in your collection?

Currently, my favourite watch is my Seiko SBDC027, as evidenced by its frequent appearances on my Instagram feed. It’s a fusion of vintage and modern that captures Seiko’s history and design language.

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What is the dream watch?

I always say that if I had a one watch collection, it would be an Omega Speedmaster Professional and a Rolex Explorer I. Those two watches can cover any situation and they’re both examples of classic, near perfect designs, as evidenced by their relative lack of change over the years. However, if I could buy anything without consideration for price, the first watch I’d purchase is an Arnold & Son HM Perpetual Moon. That moon is amazing.

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