As the Managing Director of Oakleigh Watches Ltd I thought it right that I should kick off this series of blogs based around the Watch Box and its contents.
Over the coming weeks we’ll be asking various friends, family and customers – all watch lovers – to talk us through their journeys through the world of watches.
As you’ll see from reading an earlier blog piece here, my Dad wore a 1962 Omega dress watch for the whole of my childhood so lovely watches have always been around.
My watch journey began at a very young age when my parents bought me this Texas Instruments TI-503-4 LED digital watch for Christmas – it was 1976 and I doubt they had any idea of the monster that they had created….
I was eight years old so obviously I thought that having a sleek black watch that lit up red when you pushed a button was the coolest thing in the world – my dad was less impressed saying “wouldn’t be much use to a one-armed man“ but I enjoyed it all the same.
The Texas Instruments was the first mass market digital watch and the American company retailed it for “less than $20”. This was 1976 so it wasn’t exactly cheap but only four years before, Hamilton had released the first ever LED watch with a retail price of $2,100 (Almost £10,000 today) so it was something of a breakthrough and when I wore it I was the bomb!
After a few dalliances with the kind of things that all the other teenagers were wearing, including the early Swatch in the photos below, my Dad gave me an Omega Constellation. It was a mid 1960’s with gold hands and markers – a 2852-6 and the die was cast – The Omega was a seriously classy watch, one that I would be proud to wear now, 35 years later but I’m afraid it’s long gone.
I wore that until, a few years later and by now a trainee banker, I went to a jewellers in Cambridge looking for the Rolex Datejust that I had decided was just the thing for me. Unfortunately, having tried it on, I didn’t like it! I left with the stainless steel Cartier Santos that was my constant companion for the next ten years.
From that point on, my love for watches grew and grew and led me to the point that I’m at today –
And so, to my Watch Box – There are three questions that I’ve been asked to consider today:
- How many watches are in my watch box?
My personal collection currently runs to around 15 watches.
- What’s my favourite watch in the box?
That’s a tough choice to make but my favourite is probably my 1966 Rolex 1675 GMT Master – It’s the perfect specification for my tastes (unfaded bezel insert, Jubilee bracelet and creamy hands and markers) and I love the look – it’s also very special to me and we’ve been through a lot together over the years.
- What’s my ‘Grail’ watch?
When you work in this business as I do, this becomes a tricky question because I have access to some pretty special watches all the time. As a result, my ‘Grail’ has to be something virtually unobtainable. I’m fortunate enough to have a stainless steel AP Royal Oak in Boutique Blue in my personal collection and I love it. While the blue is pretty rare, the same watch with a salmon pink dial is genuinely, spectacularly rare – they made 300 of these as a 20th anniversary watch in 1992 and they have since become highly sought after and extremely expensive – house in the suburbs kind of expensive in fact.
AP recently re released the salmon dial on its white gold Royal Oaks and while they’re eye-wateringly pricey, they’re still half the price of the steel… I guess this will always be my ‘Grail’, which is kind of the point I think.
And so, that’s it.
If you enjoyed this brief insight, keep reading our blogs and you’ll see more of them on the way.