EP29 – #Wristalk – Michael (@houston_watchaholic)

Here on Chronomatick, we love covering stories of watches with a higher end.  Mr. Michael here was bitten by the watch bug at a very young age (at 7th grade!), and has come a long way to own watches from Seiko, Rolex, Omega, Panerai, and Patek Phillipe. However, it is interesting to note that there is a Swatch Sistem 51 in the midst of his collection! So without further ado, let’s delve into his story about how he got into the world of watches. 

This is EP29 of #wristalk. Enjoy.


Being on time has always been very important to me.

How it all started?

I remember back to the early 1980’s when I was in my mid-teen years and living in Saudi Arabia. My father had owned a stainless steel Rolex Datejust 1603 which is still in his possession until today. This was an iconic watch for me due to its shining fluted bezel and jubilee bracelet. On top of that, I was intrigued by the fact that it was a self-winding automatic watch, at that time to me it was something so extraordinary to the point that  I considered it to be a form of magic.

Rolex 1603
Vintage Rolex 1603

What was your first watch?

It all started back when I was in Saudi Arabia and while I was in the 7th grade, my parents had bought me a Seiko 5 automatic and the watch bug pretty much got me. In the late 1980’s, as most watch enthusiasts at that time I experimented with quartz watches and acquired a Movado Museum and a TAG Heuer Formula 1 and may I say these 2 time pieces were very iconic for their time.

Fast forward a few years in 1989 I graduated from University of Texas and as a gift my parents gave me my uncle’s Rolex Datejust 1601 from my birth year which is the year 1966. Now with a Rolex on hand, I figured I was at the horological pinnacle and ready to begin my career as a Chemical Engineer. Little did I know that the learning curve is about to get steeper and there are still plenty more for me to discover.

Photo Feb 06, 8 31 24 AM
Vintage Rolex Datejust 1601 from the year 1966

What do watches mean to you?

Being on time has always been very important to me. Since I was very young, I felt very awkward if I was not wearing a watch on my wrist. With the Rolex 1601 I knew I had something special and took a great interest in learning more about the watch itself and as well as learning more about the Rolex brand.

My education in horology took me to other classic brands such as Omega and Panerai where I appreciated their long and storied history and their unique sense of design. In addition to this I also started to learn about the inner working of the watches and how robust the simple Rolex 1565 movement was. I also started to see the movement itself as a work of art and was amazed at the display case backs of the Panerai watches.

Photo Feb 06, 8 29 19 AM
The heart of Panerai

What is the focus of your collection?

As you may be able to guess, I am drawn to iconic designs. Recently, I have been very intrigued by some of the new micro-brands that are emerging. I love the level of passion as well as dedication that some of these brands bring to the watch scene. At the moment my current collection consists of:

  • Rolex Datejust 1601
  • Baume & Mercier Hampton XL
  • Omega Seamaster 2254 and Speedmaster First Omega in Space
  • Panerai Luminor 351 and Radiomir 504
  • Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167a
  • Oak & Oscar Burnham
  • Swatch Sistem 51
Photo Feb 06, 8 35 44 AM
A truly wonderful collection

What was the last watch you bought?

I love the sense of community that watch collecting enables, from the Panaristi community and WatchUSeek  Forums to the Instagram #WatchFam of which I am still a relative novice. I have to admit that I was seduced by the wonderful #SpeedyTuesday pictures of the Omega Speedmaster on Instagram. I had been looking for a chronograph to add to my collection, and the Speedmaster First Omega in Space (FOIS) fits the bill with its smaller 39mm size that goes back to the design of the very early Speedmasters.

I toyed with getting a vintage Speedmaster and even attended a preview showing of Christie’s recent Omega Speedmaster 50 Auction. However, I realized that I needed to educate myself more about vintage watches before diving into these dangerous waters, so I bought the Omega Speedmaster (FOIS) in December 2015 from an online retailer. Maybe someday I will dip into the vintage market, there are some fantastic Rolex and Omega vintage pieces out there that I would love to add to my collection.

Omega Speedmaster (FOIS) “that’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” -Neil Armstrong-

What is your favorite watch in your collection?

The favorite watch I have in my collection must me the Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167a. It has an understated elegance and simplicity that allows it to be worn in almost any environment.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167a -la Tour Eiffel-

Could you tell us about the most interesting piece you ever owned/found?

While on my honeymoon in Florence, Italy in June 2013, I of course had to visit the historic Panerai boutique. It must have been the excitement of the trip and the spectacular surroundings that drew me to purchasing a PAM 504 Composite material hand-wound Radiomir.  What was most special about this event was that my wife was just as excited about purchasing the watch as I was and I knew then that Cindy was a keeper. Since then, I have drawn her into the watch world with me with her own collection of Cartier, NOMOS and Omega pieces.

Panerai Firenze
Panerai Boutique in Florence Italy.

What is the dream watch?

I would love to own a perpetual calendar someday. Something along the lines of a Patek Philippe 5140, or perhaps an A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk.

Patek Philippe 5140 perpetual calendar
A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk

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