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Fine Watch Club A Watch Collector’s Story
What to wear, what to buy next, and what to leave in the safe? One Fine Watch Club member and Co-Founder of Motuum.ch, Allen Vernier, shares his journey into watch collecting.
What is your favourite watch?
Can I have two favourites? The first one is the one I am wearing today, it’s the Bulgari Chronograph GMT that was released for the 10th anniversary of the Octo Finissimo. It comes with a signed sketch by the brand’s designer Fabrizio Buonamassa. I was lucky to meet Fabrizio with the Fine Watch Club. We had lunch at the Palafitte Hotel in Neuchâtel and he explained everything to us. I already loved the watch, but to hear about the difficulties encountered making the dial and so forth was absolutely fascinating. They did a lot of variations, but this one spoke to me. It was really something to meet the designer of the watch, he is a very interesting Italian gentleman. I found the project interesting and wanted to find one, but the watches went to Bulgari’s best clients and they sold out really quickly. I bought mine from a collector and not only did I get the watch, but I made a nice contact at the same time.
Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT 10th Anniversary © Bulgari
And for the second favourite?
The second watch – and please forgive me for not talking in reference numbers – is a platinum Patek Philippe Calatrava with Breguet numerals and a beautiful two-tone grey dial. I usually like to see the movement in my watches, but this one has a closed case back. Let me see if I can find the reference number for you. Most Patek enthusiasts talk in numbers but I find it so complicated! Here we go, it is the reference 5196P. it is very simple and thin. It is also a watch that I bought second-hand in Italy and when I saw it, I knew it would be going home with me. It is the most accurate watch I own. As it is grey, I had a grey alligator strap made for me by a craftsman. It is a watch that I wear quite often because nobody notices it.
Calatrava © Patek Philippe
In terms of future purchases, do you have a list, or do you prefer to discover watches as you go?
Watches usually come to me. I don’t have any particular wishes right now, but I have to say that I really like the Freak X by Ulysse Nardin. You can see the balance on the minute hand; it is stylish. I tend to like simple, dress watches with just the hours and minutes, perhaps the seconds too, but now I am starting to look at watches like the Bulgari that are a little more assertive and structural. And the Ulysse Nardin concept, which is a bit crazy.
Freak X © Ulysse Nardin
Are there any complications you like?
It is more the design for me. I have a chronograph but I find that we don’t really use chronographs in everyday life. I don’t have any moon phases, but I find them nice when I see them, like the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde and the Arnold & Son with its big moon, but setting the moon phase is always a bit complicated.
Do you wear all of your watches?
I have a Chronomètre Souverain from F.P. Journe in the safe that I am having more and more difficulty wearing now as it has become quite valuable.
Chronomètre Souverain © F.P Journe
If you could give any advice to a new collector, what would you tell them?
It has become quite difficult today because the prices have gone up. Before you could find vintage pieces, but now I feel that it would be very complicated to start a collection. If I could give any advice, I would say maybe try to start with second-hand, try and meet people, buyers, etc. It is difficult because you never know who you are going to meet. There are a lot of forums though, so that could be a good place to start meeting people.
Bulgari has its own clear definition of excellence, which involves the perfect balance between design, added-value, quality of its products and its worldwide service. In the case of Bulgari...Find out more >
Patek Philippe enjoys outstanding renown and rare prestige, due to the constancy with which the Manufacture has applied its philosophy of excellence ever since it was founded.Find out more >
Combining cutting-edge technology with a unique heritage from marine chronometry is what sets Ulysse Nardin apart from other brands.Find out more >