In the words of Eminem, “Guess who’s back?”. Jokes aside, hello again watchfam! We’re back from a 4-5 month long hiatus and I hope you’ve missed us. We shifted our focus from watches to exams for a while, and now because it’s over (for now), we are back on track with the fam!
For this week’s #wristalk, we have Allen Warren. Allen here comes all the way from Toronto, Canada, or as he sometimes put it, “#the6ix” in the Great White North. Allen here, like us, started with fashion watches. There is no shame in that, we’ve all got to start from somewhere. But that all changed when we were exposed to websites like Hodinkee, Worn & Wound and Instagram profiles about watches, which gave us a window into the world of horology. Our buddy Marshall was able to reach out to him to do this episode, and we’re super excited to have him on board in this episode of #wristalk.
Ladies, gents and watchfam, this is EP38 of #wristalk. Enjoy!
The aim for “Wristalk” is to reach out globally through the social networking world, which is where all of this really started ticking for me.”
–Allen Warren (@warrbear)
How it all started?
Many factors come into play when I think about how my fascination for wristwatches began. If I’m not mistaken, it was the summer prior to entering high school when I decided I needed to purchase my first watch. The watch that I obtained was the “Fossil – FS4159.” Mind you, back then I wouldn’t say that I was ignorant, but more oblivious to what the world of watches had to offer. I never knew how to appreciate the inner mechanisms that keep timepieces running. Watches for me were all about fashion. I was never surrounded by wristwatch collectors growing up, so the fashion scene is where I find a fair amount of watch enthusiasts start out, unless you’re born into a family who bleed horology.
A little while back around Christmas time after the fashion scene began to fade, I had requested a few books on watch repair. The three books I ended up acquiring were: “Watch Repair for Beginners,” “Practical Watch Repairing” and “Watch Repairing as a Hobby.” Although they sound similar, each book is a different read. I read through each cover to cover, but I have yet to really indulge in servicing other than changing up batteries in my quartz watches. I did however begin to appreciate watches in more depth and how meticulous they are. During my daily travels I began to notice watches on people’s wrists and also saw myself lugging my better half around with me when window shopping at various boutiques or shops.
Not too many of my local friends are into watches and as I mentioned my family aren’t the type to typically wear a watch, so I saw my passion for watches really lifted off when I joined the Instagram community. After gaining some insight in the horology scene, I slowly started following various feeds such as @practicalwatch and @Watchanish to get a feel for the brands that are out there.
Not only did I take an immediate notice at how photogenic wristwatches can be, but I was blown away to see how tight knit of a community known as “#Watchfam” was. I feel that we all have that perfectionist mentality, which is why both watches and photography go hand in hand. Let’s be honest, every picture looks better with a wristwatch in it. I mean, I branched away from my personal photos and began to upload photos of my slowly building watch collection. Not only have my original followers stuck “through,” but new ones joined the ride daily as well. I try to share a story through each one of my photographs that I upload. It’s a great feeling that people appreciate the photos of my watches as much as I appreciate uploading them.
It was @WrystRyder who really gained my attention after one of his many amazing posts of the Seiko “Prospex” line. I had reached out to him through direct message to express how much I enjoyed his photographs and pick his mind a bit. After a little bit of chatting, he had mentioned that Seiko has to be one of the best bangs for your buck. I don’t know if it was a sign, but not too long after that conversation, I located a family friend from my parents younger days who happened to own jewelry store. I spoke with the associate who had said the exact same thing as @Wryst verbatim. It was then when I obtained my first automatic watch that started it all Seiko SKX007 with automatic 7S26 movement.
What was your first watch?
My first watch, from what I can remember would have to be the Vintage Ronald McDonald Wrist Watch with a Japanese Quartz Movement. The hour and the minute hands are the arms of Ronald McDonald. The watch is gold plated with roman numerals around the bezel. I actually still own this watch to date and had changed the battery the other day after coming across a few little gems from my childhood days. A little bit of patina has formed around the case, which gives it even more of a vintage vibe.
What do watches mean to you?
I feel that wristwatches mean more than just an instrument that tells time. Each wristwatch tells a story of the wearer, they share a piece of history. Each scratch or scuff just adds character; a little bit of flavor might I add. I often hear people who aren’t wristwatch enthusiasts say “I’ve got a phone to tell time, why do I need a watch?” What they don’t understand or refuse to comprehend is that the complications put into a phone can be compared to the complications put into a wristwatch. When you start adding complications such as moon phase or even chronographs; watches just become that much more fascinating.
Vintage timepieces share even more history and not only for the person wearing the watch, but also behind some of the most iconic brands. Some brands that made it in the horology world and other brands that were not able to meet the needs. When I leave my house without a wristwatch on my wrist, I feel bare. It has become a part of my everyday lifestyle as I’m reminded with a watch outline tan on my wrist.
What is the focus of your collection?
I can’t really say that I have a specific focus in my watch collection. In the beginning my watches were more splurge purchases. If it looked cool, then it was definitely a good watch to have. When I look at purchasing watches nowadays, I tend to thoroughly research what I want beforehand. The purchases are more practical towards what I may be lacking in my watch collection, while also keeping in mind of what I can afford.
What was the last watch you bought?
The last watch I purchased was the 2nd Generation Seiko Orange Monster SRP315. It has a flashy bright orange dial with a tough looking black bezel and one of the meanest Lume out there. Already familiar with Seiko and what they have to offer, I knew that this purchase would be worth it. This piece is just perfect for the summer months and even those who don’t really fancy the color orange can grow accustomed to it and really appreciate this piece. I had actually acquired it through a good friend and it all stems back to the #Watchfam community. Without coming across the #RedBarToronto watch enthusiats, I wouldn’t have this piece. Not only did this purchase allow me to add such a perfect piece to my collection, but it allowed my friend to put the money towards another purchase he wanted. “One in, one out,” as we all know it, in the watch community.
Which is your favorite watch in your collection?
This is certainly a very tough decision deciding which watch is my favorite in my collection. If I had to choose just one, it would have to be my Wilk Watchworks Gold Plated Lydian Skeleton. Not only is this watch a sight to behold, Scott Wilk is local talent out of Toronto! The watch is a mechanical piece, so you’re able to not only watch the mainspring wind, but get to hear it. It’s probably one of the watches in my collection that I receive the most amounts of compliments on when I’m out and about.
Could you tell us the most interesting piece you ever own or found?
The most interesting watch that I have ever had the pleasure to come into contact with was the Parmigiani Fleurier “Bugatti Super Sport” which is limited to 30 pieces worldwide. It houses a 10 day power reserve with 333 components and a PF372 Calibre movement. Even though I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a “car lover,” this is one those pieces I can certainly appreciate. Every single angle of this watch looks spectacular.
What is the dream watch?
If I had one grail watch that I could purchase where money is no concern, I would choose the “IWC Portugieser Sidérale Scafusia.” It took 10 years to create this timepiece and the engineering that went into this watch makes it the most complicated mechanical watch made by IWC. I find that this watch is one of the very few where the case back is just as important as the front. Growing up spending a fair bit of time cottaging or camping, I found myself staring at the constellations on clear nights. The case back for this timepiece has a Celestial chart which allows the wearer to view the night sky from a specific point on earth. With a hand-wound 94900 caliber movement consisting of over 500 components, this piece is not for the faint of heart.
by Max, Meor and Zack.