I actually am very excited to be able to share this special episode with you guys, because Mike and I go waaaay back, well not exactly but approximately 3 years ago – which was when I first started to get into watches and the world surrounding it. And I have to say, in my eyes his collection has definitely developed throughout the years and not only he has a tasteful collection to date, he has also matured so much as a collector. A quick glance over the photos you can probably tell that his collection mostly consisting of vintage sporty-utilitarian chronographs (my favourite vintage category)and more.
Like any of us, Mike also appreciates the the little details that really matter when it comes to watch collecting – the history, provenance, condition, and most importantly the journey itself.
So let us all welcome Mike, all the way from the land down under!! (‘STRAYA)
That being said, ladies and gents, this is episode 42 of #wristalk. Enjoy.
“People sometimes ask me why I love watches so much and my favourite response is to tell them is that they’re just another art form to appreciate.”
How it all started?
I guess I’ve always been a watch person, when I was young I had a fascination with digital timepieces & received a Casio G-Shock from my grandmother when I was around 10. After that, there was quite a long stretch where watches held no interest for me, but once I discovered Watchanish & started travelling in Asia my passion for horology came into full bloom.
I remember seeing all the incredible pieces displayed in the boutiques, especially this art collection of Vacheron Constantin I saw in the Marina Bay Sands (Singapore) which depicted each of the seasons in enamel artwork on the dials, I began to see and understand how diverse and beautiful the world of horology was.
What was your first watch?
My first watch was a quartz Pulsar Day-Date, given to me by my uncle as a confirmation gift when I was around 12-13. I’m not sure how much wear it got back then, but it undoubtedly began my passion for watches which resurfaced many years later.
What watches meant to you?
People sometimes ask me why I love watches so much and my favourite response is to tell them is that they’re just another art form to appreciate. Taking in the many facets involved when producing a new watch, for example this absolutely stunning yellow gold ’28 Sarasamon’ piece unique by Kari Voutilainen.
It becomes obvious that there can be years of design & manufacturing behind a piece before its creator deems it worthy for sale to the public. There’s also the historical significance which comes with vintage pieces which really appeals to me, some have been involved in wars and conflicts, while others like my Universal Compax were given as gifts to loved ones but all have passed through countless hands before they made their way into my watch box and that really appeals to me.
What is the focus of your collection?
Buying based on brand has never been something important to me. Ever since I first started collecting, it’s always been about pieces that speak to me on an emotional level as strange as that may sound. Given my love of vintage, it has certainly become the focus of my collection but when funds permit I would definitely like to add some independent brands such as Urwerk, and the aforementioned Voutilainen and MB&F.
What was the last watch you bought?
The last watch I bought was a Wittnauer chronograph from the mid 40’s which I purchased from a friend at a get-together in Sydney about a month ago now. I’d been looking for a piece with a ‘snail’ style dial layout for a while and I absolutely love Breguet numerals so the fact that this one had both as well as being in fantastic condition made it far too difficult to pass up.
Which is your favourite watch in your collection?
It’d have to be the Universal Compax. Although it’s a solid gold watch, it works just as well with a t-shirt and jeans as it does with a suit and tie and is still in incredible condition for a piece made 70 years ago.
Could you tell us about the most interesting piece you ever owned/found?
The most interesting piece I’ve ever owned is my Heuer Bundeswehr 1550 SG Flyback or ‘Bund’ for short. After about 6-7 months of research and hunting around, I came across an amazing example for sale on Chrono24.com but after messaging the seller I found out it’d been sold the day before to a collector in Los Angeles.
He then mentioned to me that he had another coming up for sale in a week from his own personal collection, which he was regretfully selling to help pay for the restoration of a 1972 Porsche. The watch itself was in absolutely mint condition which I found astounding considering it was originally issued to high-ranking officer of aviation unit Jagdgeschwader 74 (the 74th Fighter Wing), and based on the age of the watch it’s probably seen a lot of hours in the Lockheed F-104G Starfighter, which is very cool.
What is the dream watch?
Honestly this is an extremely difficult question. I’ve always had many watches I aspire to own, but there’s never really been a definitive piece which reigns above all so recently I decided to compile a ‘List of Grails’ instead.
At its current stage it contains about 40 pieces ranging from the Heuer Autavia 2446, Universal ‘Nina Rindt’ to others like the A. Lange & Söhne Grand Lange One ‘Lumen’ and the Jaeger LeCoultre Gyrotourbillon.