The Horological Minute

With The Horological Minute, Eric Ku and 10 Past Ten engage in a fascinating dialog with collectors and members of the watch industry, as they discuss anything and everything about watches. Think of it as the Proust Questionnaire for the watch aficionado.

FEATURING
Eric Wind
Today we sit down and chat with Eric Wind, one of the contributors for our favorite watch related website, Hodinkee. In addition to his weekly "What's Selling Where" column, Eric is a horological historian of sorts- he has written some great articles about historical pieces, including the Eisenhower Datejust. He also recently assisted us at 10 Past Ten in researching a very special presentation Datejust. Outside of watches, Eric is a director at a biofuel company, and recently finished his MBA at the University of Oxford. A true enthusiast of vintage watches and especially historical ones, Eric is this week's Horological Minute.

What was your first watch?

My first watch was a G.I. Joe digital watch in the Casio F-91W style given to me by my parents. It was olive drab and even had a compass in the rubber strap, which I loved. My first mechanical watch was a simple and small gold-filled Hamilton Neil that was given to my grandfather by my grandmother as a wedding gift in 1947. He wore it the rest of his life. After he passed, my mom had it serviced and then my parents gave it to me for my birthday. It started my love affair with mechanical watches.

What was the last watch you bought?

I purchased a very interesting Vacheron Constantin from a surprising place that I think may be an important piece in the company's history. I am excited to get in touch with the Vacheron Heritage Department to order an Extract from the Archives, have it serviced, and uncover its secrets.

Do you prefer vintage or modern?

I am a vintage guy, but I do have a strong appreciation for certain new watches with classic designs, as well, such as some of those from Jaeger-LeCoultre. In addition, I particularly appreciate some of "the independents" such as Philippe Dufour, Laurent Ferrier, F.P.Journe, and MB&F (the Legacy Machine series in particular).

Can you remember your last great meal? Where was it and what did you eat?

I share Chris Rock's philosophy about meals from a Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee with Jerry Seinfeld webisode: "I say everything's about company. A gourmet meal with [a jerk] is a horrible meal. A hot dog with an interesting person is an amazing meal. It's all about the company." I had a simple breakfast of a goat cheese and mushroom omelette at the Soho House New York with Ben Clymer recently and we talked watches and the future of HODINKEE. I am in my fifth year of writing for the site (as a hobby while working full-time or completing an MBA at Oxford) and I am excited for what's ahead of us.

Do you remember what watch you were wearing?

I was wearing a simple unpolished gilt black dial steel automatic Memovox (reference E 855) . Gilt black dial Memovox watches are extremely uncommon. I know of less than ten in existence and it is an under the radar vintage JLC piece that first caught my attention in a big way a few years ago when one achieved a strong result at Christie's.

What do you love about vintage Rolex?

Beyond the obvious aesthetic attraction of great patina, steel cases, and purpose-built designs, I am attracted by the history of these pieces. I also really appreciate the legacy of Hans Wilsdorf - a man who was a visionary and supported the Allies during World War II, including providing chronographs free of charge to those in Nazi prison camps. The Christmas 1942 and 1943 Rolex print ads are the most moving watch advertisements I have ever seen.

Strap or bracelet?

I always used to be a strap guy, but I have now gotten into wearing and collecting vintage bracelets. They add a lot to the look and feel of a watch - let alone value. There is definitely some bracelet arbitrage going on out there, particularly for Gay Frères bracelets. As the weather gets cooler, a strap does feel appropriate and nice. In addition, I love vintage preppy slip-thru grosgrain straps because they often come in striped patterns not made these days and I appreciate that they lack have the extra material that needs to be folded over on NATO straps.

GMT/EXPLORER/SUB/DAYTONA or........?

Submariner - preferably a vintage gilt Bart Simpson one. I just love the simplicity, durability, and beauty of that. We all have a Platonic ideal of a watch in our head. What do you picture in your mind's eye when you hear the word "wristwatch"? I think for many collectors, it is probably a vintage Submariner.

What do you want to see come out from Rolex at the next Basel Fair?

While I would love to see the introduction of a modern perpetual calendar Padellone or a Jean-Claude Killy triple date chronograph, as a more realistic possibility I would love to see a steel Daytona with a black Cerachrom bezel and black dial with white registers or silver or white dial with black registers, sort of like a vintage reference 6263. I think Rolex would kill if they came out with a watch like that and I remember when people thought Roger Federer was wearing one back in 2011 when in reality it was a vintage 6263. I should add that I love what Tudor has been coming out with the last few years. Tudor is doing a tremendous job making timeless modern tool watches.

What's on your wrist today??

A vintage 1961 Vulcain Cricket Nautical, which I think is one of the most underrated tool watches in existence. It has the 3-6-9 Explorer-type dial, had a 300 meter depth rating (better than a Submariner at the time), has an amazing history in connection with Hannes Keller who helped design it and helped develop the ability for divers to go deeper by using a mixture of gases in their tanks, and I actually find myself using the insanely loud alarm to get me up when I need extra help as a sleep-deprived new parent. Very few of the early Cricket Nauticals exist, let alone in unpolished all original condition. I bought it on eBay from the State of Massachusetts as a "Vulcain watch" with a terrible photo, no description, and no ability for them to tell me if it was working given their policy of not winding and testing watches. It sat preserved on the original early Tropic strap with the original steel Vulcain buckle in an unpaid safety deposit box for years. I about died when I saw a large envelope in the mail and could see what appeared to be a bulging watch taped to cardboard inside, but I was so thankful nothing bad had happened to it en route. I had been searching for one for years.

PREVIOUSLY ON THE HOROLOGICAL MINUTE
The Horological Minute
feat. Joshua Ganjei
This week we bring to you an interview with Joshua Ganjei, a second generation watch dealer based in Boston, MA. Joshua got his start in the business early, causing trouble at the European Watch Company store at a very young age. Eight years ago, he officially joined the family business. The European Watch Company has been a fixture on Newbury Street in Boston for over 25 years, and was started by Joshua's father Albert. In the store they carry a fine selection of both new and vintage watches. Joshua's real passion lay with vintage watches, as he as worked hard to expand their business in that area with his knowledge of various different brands, not just Rolex. A genuine vintage enthusiast, we're proud to have Joshua as this week's Horological Minute.
Read The Interview
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