James is one of our buddies when it comes to the relationship we share and are involved in – the love and hate relationship with LAW. That’s right, dreadful stuff, but rewarding at the same time! (I guess) And what else, we also share the same love, for watches.
And therefore ladies and gentlemen, we need not say more. Everything else here is pretty much self explanatory.
It is an absolute pleasure to have James on board for episode 20. Enjoy, you watch nerds!
Watches keep track of “our” concept of time, and we are all on times time.
James Joslin (@thecharlestonwatchsociety on Instagram)
How it all stated?
I can remember always loving watches. Growing up I always had some sort of watch on my wrist. My mother was into swimming, so in order to time her laps she always had on a nice watch. I must have been around 9 or ten years old, and I received a Swatch Watch. (I thought it was the coolest) I felt so proud to have my own watch, it definitely became a source of pride for me. I remember putting that watch through the ringer and it just kept ticking. At some point it became customary for me to get a watch every Christmas.
Even at a young age, I was into laying them all out in the order they had come. I would keep them in a cigar box that I stole from my dad. I remember that sense of excitement right before opening the box! Then collecting the different pamphlets started to become as much fun as the watches. As I am writing this now I can see that the bug had bit fairly early on. I am not sure how old I was when I received a Timex Expedition Field watch, but I can remember feeling as if I had hit the big leagues. I guess I have always had an appreciation for Milstyle watches. (Enter smiley face emoji and wink face here)
When I graduated High School my parents gave me a Tag Heuer Carrera ref. WV211B-0. This watch was incredible; it was a 40mm polished Stainless Steel case. The face was jet black and it had the most beautiful silver hands and indicators. The watch was so elegant and streamline, I couldn’t take it off. I loved that watch, and in hindsight that’s when the bug bit.
My father took me to the Jewelry store where he had bought it from, which was located in North Jersey. (Yes, I am originally from good old Jersey) I walked into the dimly lit store, and I was amazed to see all of the different display cases. At the time I had no idea what brand was what, but I was in awe of everything around me. The owner came to great us, and we walked and talked our way around the store. He stopped several times pulling different watches out to show my father. I remember listening to them talking about each of the watches and was blown away. I cannot fully describe the incredible feeling I had while looking at these watches. They where beautifully lit, standing tall in their cases, and that incredible joy I felt has never left. An image that stood out to me was the beauty these watches projected as they shined and glistened in the light. I distinctly remember a certain smell, a smell that only a jewelry store has. That smell is nostalgic to this day, and it brings back memories every time I enter a jewelry store. The owner went over the entire watch with me. He explained it was automatic, and what that was. He showed me how to set it, told me about the brand, materials used, and how great of a watch I had. (He told me before I left, that I would be back) Unfortunately my Tag was stolen out of my dorm room my freshmen year of college. That was extremely depressing and I still miss the watch to this day. I am always on the look out for them, and I will definitely have another one before too long.
What was your first watch?
My first watch was definitely a Swatch 325 Winter Sport, or another Swatch similar to it. I currently have the Swatch Winter Sport, and more keep popping up as my parents continue going through stuff at their house. I would consider my Tag Heuer Carrera as my first “real watch.”
What do watches mean to you?
Watches mean many different things to me, it is hard to put it all in to words. The saying, “Time waits for no one” has always been something that stood out to me. Time is the one thing that money cannot buy, and that people spend tons of time trying to figure out. We have a general concept of time, but that’s just because we have been conditioned to look at the passing of hours in such a manner. I can definitely ponder and come up with different theories about what time means. But that’s for another day, and a couple of drinks. Watches keep track of “our” concept of time, and we are all on times time. That’s a universal concept and norm that we all have in common.
People as well as relationships come to mind when I think of collecting watches. I have met so many great people through this incredible hobby of ours. I have met tons of people in the flesh, but even more through IG and the Internet. I would name you all, but there isn’t enough space. Big shout out to everyone I talk with regularly #WATCHFAM! I love meeting new people, and talking with you guys as much as I love my watches. It is crazy to think about all that has happened, and the friendships I have gained through our common love for horology. There are few other hobbies one can build a personal friendship, and then take it a step further to create a professional relationship. (Shout out to Nick, from @watches_by_nick) Marshall right here at Chronomatick, we have had some pretty cool conversations, and I look forward to the day we meet.
I have a laundry list of people that I want to meet from IG, and that’s all come about because of a commonality, collecting and loving watches! I love learning new things, and then turning around to sharing that knowledge with others. So collecting watches is so much more then the physical act of owning a watch. Do not get me wrong, searching for the next great watch (the Hunt) is awesome and exhilarating. Once I get a watch? I want to know as much about the piece as possible, so I may truly appreciate it. I don’t know how to answer this question any simpler. Watches are the physical instrument that draw us together, but once together it becomes so much more. I guess that means that watches are almost a second to this intriguing world that I am so fortunate to have found.
What is the focus of your collection?
I have never had a general direction I followed in regards to building my humble collection. For the most part, I focused on collecting watches that produced a solid bang for my buck. Being in Law School it is hard to spend a ton of money on watches, although as time goes on I continue to raise the bar for what I am willing to spend. It seems that bar (no pun intended) becomes higher by the day. I have never had a specific goal or theme in mind while collecting. Like I said, I focused on getting as much bang for my buck! That has led me to fall in love with many of the brands you see in my collection. I have, and will always have an affinity with Seiko. Seiko is such a killer brand, and if you do a little research into the companies history you will instantly have respect for them.
As is such with any type of collector, I think your direction can start to change as time goes on. The more I learn about watches, I can say my wants/ needs are changing. I believe that is a natural progression with anything that someone pursues. I try to buy watches I know I will enjoy, and appreciate several years from now. (Although I see how easy it is to become a perpetual flipper) I am all about any and everything vintage right now! Specifically, I am currently focusing on vintage chronographs, super compressors, alarms, and mil-style watches. I am looking at a lot of different brands as well as years, but again there is no ulterior end game other then purchasing something awesome.
What was the last watch you bought?
The last watch I purchased was the Alpina Alpiner Automatic Chronograph 41.5mm. I just bought it several days ago, and I am absolutely obsessed. I noticed this watch when Alpina first released it. A little later I read the Worn & Wound review. I forget about it for a while, then over the summer I did a piece on the history of Alpina for my IG page, (Alpina Enjoyed it) and I didn’t pursue anything further due to their price tag.
I started seeing more Alpina’s recently, and I became intrigued as Alpina has a strong rich history. They have always appealed to me aesthetically, and mechanically. Alpina’s tend to run on the larger side, and I much prefer smaller watches. This watch is powered by an AL-750 i.e. a semi-customized Valjoux 7750. Coming in at 41.5mm its right in my sweet spot (36mm-42mm) and I love its vintage inspired look.
Alpina did a great job with the watch; their attention to detail is on point as to be expected. I instantly fell for its vintage styled pushers, as well as its color combo. The sapphire box crystal comes strait out from the bezel, and blends into a nice smooth dome. It gives the sapphire crystal a vintage acrylic look, again just adding to the over all feel. It also allows for some seriously cool looking dials shots! Overall, it is an awesome watch, which I am still having a ton of fun getting to know.
Which is your favorite watch in your collection?
This is really hard for me, as I truly love each of my pieces for different reasons. I am going to have to go with my Hamilton Khaki Field Watch 38mm auto, Ref. H70455533 I love that watch for so many different reasons, and it is definitely a watch that I am going to always hang onto. Its measures a true 38mm’s, which is so awesome.
Again I like watches that are military inspired. The field watch doesn’t get much better then that in terms of inspiration and its lineage. I recently just wrote a review for this exact watch on watchesbynick.com under the blog. (I am doing weekly reviews, so check them out) An Eta 2824-2 powers the watch; the 2824 movements are tried and true workhorses. The dial is simple yet it gets the job done in a traditional fashion. I love the monochrome dial, the true black background against the white numerals? (BEAUTIFUL) Hamilton really hasn’t changed much from when they first started producing the Khaki field watch until now. That is not only rare with a company, but also awesome.
Most of the watches that I can think of that have stayed relatively the same, are in a whole other price range. I was just thinking about this the other day, and I would have to say that the Hamilton Khaki is probably not only one of my favorite watches. It is also top 3 watches that I would recommend to a new collector on a budget. It is a little more then most people start off spending, but its extremely reasonable. Actually if you are a collector with money to burn, then go find a really old mint Hamilton Khaki with B & P’s.
What is the dream watch?
Grails….. I believe anyone who collects watches has one, or maybe a few! I also know the meaning of a Grail is different to everyone. Many people consider a Grail to be a watch that they will never own. I consider it to be a watch that is extremely hard to attain, and somewhat elusive. You know that it exists, and you hear whispers about where it is. Then right when you show up, someone else grabbed it. That’s a slightly romanticized version of what I am trying to get at. Hard to find, it will definitely cost an outrageous amount of money, but it is attainable. I know that eventually I will own every watch I want. Some will absolutely take longer then others and a lot more money! Without further ado, I am absolutely in love with the Rolex MilSub double reference 5513/5517 and I think that would be an incredable joy to own one day.
If I had to focus on just one watch, for the purpose of this piece, that’s it! I became really intrigued with Rolex back when I first did a presentation on them for a public speaking class in college. The intent of the project was to sell the class on a brand they were already aware of. The more I researched Rolex, the more it became impossible to not only respect them, but to love them.
If you follow me on IG, you know that I have a Steinhart OVM. However they are worlds apart, the Steinhart pays homage to the Milsub. The 5513/5517 is definitely going to be harder to get considering they are quite expensive, and aren’t just floating around town. I am obsessed with their look, and feel. I have seen a couple over the years, and my fiancé’s father has one.
To be able to own something that was produced by a brand that I respect, at a time I respect just as much will be insane. The 5513/5517 is a watch that was made for the British Royal Navy (And actually worn by them) and is literally oozing cool. The history behind them is just an incredibly awesome concept to me, and I love Rolex Submariners. (Second favorite sub, the 5514 Comex! After that I love the 1655 ExpII (71’) That covers a few Rolex models) The “hunt” will be almost as fun as owning the watch (If I don’t drive myself crazy).
I look forward to the day that I am able to partake in such hunts, and I am working hard now to be able to attain such things.