Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Just Another Obsession?

All my life, I have had a number of obsessions. Obsessions that I completely devoted myself to. Obsessions that eventually die after a short period.
Some of them were:
Stamps - I had stamps from all over the world, had a few stamp books. Could recognize stamps from a lot of countries.
Fish (keeping them) - My brother and I had two aquariums in our room. We bought books on the different kinds of fishes, what they eat, like/dislike and even how to breed them. We could recognize most of the fish that were available at pet stores in my city at that time in a hearbeat.
Art/Painting - I was always pretty decent at drawing and painting (or at least thats what people said), and there was this phase where I had books on all the famous great artists in the world. My favourite was Vincent van Gogh and I tried recreating a lot of his works. If you come visit me, you will see some of them still on the walls.
And then there were watches - but this time it felt different, it felt special...

My brother (Bio) actually got into it a bit before me. He wanted a new watch and did a bit of reading online before buying it, a blue Vostok Europe Gaz-14 Limousine.


 He had never heard of it, but was intrigued and went ahead and ordered it. He read all about it and told me about its history, which honestly, didn't sound too interesting at that time. Then a few days later, I thought about buying a watch for myself as well. I was looking to spend some 'serious cash' as I thought I would keep that watch forever. By serious cash, I meant $400 USD. I did a bit of online searching and ended up ordering a Movado Museum. I loved its simplicity - yet elegant look. I still feel its one of the better looking watches out there and regret selling it in absolutely mint condition, but that watch changed the way I looked at watches forever.



No more did I believe the 'one watch is good enough for me' ideology. I was truly intrigued. I wanted to dive head first into this new world where a watch wasn't just a tool to tell the time. I learned the difference between quartz and mechanical. Why an 'automatic' was so named and why its a thing of some engineering marvel. I wanted to know everything about everything. I joined forums, not one, but three. I had some wonderful conversations with some wonderful people from all around the world. I was proud to be a WIS (Watch Idiot Savant). If that wasn't enough, my twin brother was proud WIS too, and we had endless discussions everyday. ETA and Miyota were terms used quite often in our conversations. At work people called us 'The Watchmen'. Anyone and everyone who wanted to even think about buying a watch, came to us for our opinions first.

Our collection grew steadily, at first, with a lot of quartz and affordables. We had a watch-box that people wanted to see when they came over, and always had one question - 'what do you do with so many watches?'


We started noticing and looking at people's wrist, hoping that if we spot a good watch, we might bump into another WIS, and actually did bump into a couple or so.

We had updates for each model for all of our favourite brands. We even started a blog, which received way more visitors than we ever expected. There was something interesting to share every month. We even completed a intermediate watch making course - all was good.

Now, there comes a time in every watch aficionado's life, when he has some cash to spare and thinks about 'refining' his collection. Affordables are great, but for me personally, I always wanted a high end watch. A company with a history and something thats 'Swiss Made', something that in itself was classic. My brother and I both decided to go for our 'grails' while we still could afford to spend some cash, and we did. He bough an Omega 'Great White' and I a Rolex Sub 14060M or No date, non COSC version. We were on top of the world and couldn't believe what we had managed to achieve.


Our collection grew even more!

 Although I try my best to hide my Sub, especially at work, I won't lie, I admit that its nice when someone does appreciate the watch, as long as they don't ask me how much I paid for it (which does come up more often than not). I started flipping watched in order to refine my collection. My affordables were sold and I started buying the ones on my wish-list. I still have a couple of affordables, but the ones that I wear more now are:
Rolex Sub
Laco Pilot Type A 'Bremen' (ETA)
Orient Mako (Pepsi) - my beater


My wish-list was 'refined' too. It contained some really nice watches, all with a nice price tag of course, and thats when it all started to change...

As with any other human being, my wants were endless, but my bank balance wasn't. In fact, in India, you'd have to be at a pretty decent position to earn nearly enough to satisfy this hobby. As a VFX artist, its not easy at all to. My hopes started dropping. My brother and I decided to try out something with a couple of friends to earn some extra dough. Unfortunately that wasn't nearly as profitable as we had hoped and ended up taking a lot of our free time too. My hopes dropped even further and so did my interest eventually. Forum visit became less frequent, the gap between posts on my blog increased and soon it seemed that those things were a thing of past. Maybe this obsession wasn't different from any other. It was just a phase and I seemed to have moved on. I felt guilty about ignoring the blog I had cherished so much at one time, but ignored now. One thing neither my brother, nor I stopped doing was looking at people's wrists, but thats about it. I lost track of whats new in the world of watches and what was announced at Basel World.

We had moved on from the business with friends and started working on something a bit more serious and which seems much more feasible Its kept us pretty busy all last year and is still in the works. Last weekend,I had a meeting I was supposed to dress formally for. At my current job I am not required to dress formally, in fact its totally the opposite. So when I do get to wear a suit, I look forward to wearing a dress watch. Now my options were, as stated earlier, a Sub, a Pilot (Laco), or a beater (Mako). I would have normally gone for the Sub or the Laco, but this time I had a presentation to give, so I though maybe I should wear something a bit more 'dressy' (if thats a proper word). I remembered that last year, my dad had come to visit and left his vintage gold Omega with me. It has a brown strap, and I was already wearing a brown belt and shoes, so I thought, it would be perfect. I took it out of the box and put it on my wrist, when something happened. I just started at it for a while. It amazed me by its beauty, everything seemed to be rushing back, it made me smile.


That same night, I was out for a couple of drinks with my girlfriend, and I was talking about the Omega with her. I am not sure if I was boring her, but she always assures me she finds watches interesting (after being with me for a couple of years) and actually enjoys a conversation, even though she may not have a lot of knowledge about them. She then told me about a friend who we both know, and that he had recently purchased a Rolex Submariner with a 'blue dial and gold center links'. I instantly said, "Oh! You mean the...umm...that model...". I couldn't believe it! I just couldn't remember the model number, and of a company I read so much about. I had to look it up that instant online - it was the 16613. I felt a bit ashamed of myself for forgetting something that a year or two ago was like second nature to me. Today, I opened my blog and looked at it, what it was and whats it's become. I then logged into a forum to see whats up. I saw a lot of familiar sounding posts, saw introductions from new watch aficionados and remembered how I used to love going through all this every single day.

(image taken from online)
 Its going to be a while before I get back to what I was, to what's the latest models and movements. I still can't promise frequent blog updates, but sure hope I can from time to time. I looked at my wish-list and do aim to get the next one on it - maybe not anytime soon, but some day. The thing I am glad about the most - this obsessions wasn't like the others, I knew it was special and it certainly is.


16 comments:

Wajih from Karachi, Pakistan said...

Hi, could you tell me the name (brand and model) of one of your watches in the fifth picture of this post - third watch in fourth row. It looks like Movado Museum from here but I'm sure it's not.



crazyfingers said...

Hi Wajih,

Thanks for visiting the blog :)

The watch is actually a Edouard Lauzières Tuscany.
http://www.edouardlauzieres.com/Mechanical/Tuscany.html

The same watch is on our banner too :)

Yeah, in the picture it does look a little like the Movado, since its a bit dark.

Regards,
Crazyfingers

Unknown said...

hi,
let me first congratulate you for the excellent blog. It is rarer to find this kind of information , mainly india specific.

My interest in watches is fairly recent. helping my grandmother in her housecleaning led me to my grand father's watch. It is a tissot from 1940s. It is not in working at present. I want to restore it. And I have no idea how. Researching on the net was not much of a help. The branded showrooms like titan won't even open it. And I am not sure how much I can trust a generic shop.

I am sure you guys have traveled this road before . Few pointers from you will be helpful.

Unknown said...

I forgot to mention that I live in kolkata and visit delhi sometimes, in case you have any specific information.

crazyfingers said...

Hi,

Thanks for visiting IWB and really appreciate those nice words :)

I can understand what you are going through while trying to get you grandfather's vintage watch restored. I too went through the exact same dilemma trying to get my dad's vintage Omega restored. You can read more about it here: http://watchesindia.blogspot.in/2010/08/so-excited.html

In short, tried going to an authorized service center but they gave up and asked me to send it to Omega in Switzerland. Yes, you can do that if you have the funds and the time, but there are other options:

1) Search around and see if you can come across a reputed watch service guy. I got lucky and managed to find someone who specialized in repairing vintage watches. If you can't find someone in Delhi or Kolkata, you can try calling the guy I went to - the place is called Singapore Watch Company. It's here in Mumbai and they did a very nice job on the Omega. Unfortunately they moved out of the shop I found them at, but I did a bit of searching and it seems like they are still operational. Here are the numbers I found online (022) 26498364, 26484160, 65149999

2) If not in India (again this is a more expensive option), you can send the watch to some reputed watch guy abroad. I know one in Singapore called JW Watches. This place is truly excellent and if you ever plan on going to Singapore, you should try checking this place out. They have a website too - http://www.jwwatch.com/


Ultimately it depends on how much restoration you require - whether you just want it to be cleaned and working again, or whether you want all the old parts replaced with brand new ones and polished and restored as if it was just purchased. The second one is no doubt going to be more expensive and for that I would suggest you either go with sending it to Tissot Switzerland or to that JW Watch in Singapore (cheaper than sending to Tissot).

In my case, I just wanted the watch to be cleaned and functional again, so went ahead and trusted the guy at Singapore Watch Company (Mumbai). I'm glad that they delivered and did a good job. It's always nice to know a good watch guy in your country if not city.

Thanks for sharing your story and I really it goes well for you and the watch. Once you do get it fixed, please do post here and let me know. if you need any other help from my side, I'm always here :)

Regards,
CF

Unknown said...

hi,
thank you for the response.
I just want my watch up and running with minimum replacement , except possibly the crystal. I don't mind it looking 70 years old. I kind of like it.

Actually , the crown is so tight that I can't wind the watch. Hopefully it is just jammed with dust. in that case just cleaning should be sufficient.

There is a particular street in kolkata , where a lot of watch shops are concentrated including very old ones. I am thinking of trying my luck there.

I certainly let you know , if there is a happy ending.

crazyfingers said...

Cool, all the best! Hope it goes well :)

Unknown said...

ok, so I hit some shops. A big one (anglo swiss watch company) was not interested at all to even see what is wrong with the watch. The guy had a cursory look and said nothing doing , the main frame is broken.

I showed the watch to a road side shop. That guy told me the balance stuff is broken . It can be replaced and the watch needs some cleaning. But I have to leave it for at least half a day.

Now I am in a dilemma. I have no idea how good is that guy or whether I can trust him. I guess my watch is not that expansive but even Rs. 10,000 can be incentive enough.

crazyfingers said...

Hmm, when you say road side, do you actually mean one of the small one-man shops? If you have the patience, I'd suggest looking around some more. Although half a day doesn't sound so bad (my Dad's watch took over a week), if you can't really trust the guy, you will always keep wondering about whether he took out some original parts and replaced them with cheap ones, even after the watch is fixed.
Try having a look at some of the other watches he has for repair in his shop, do any of them seem expensive or are they all really cheap ones?

Unknown said...

yes, it was an one-maned temporary shop. There were few old watches with him. I saw one omega and one tissot .

I also talked to my local watch shop (it is more than 25 years old) . While I don't have much idea how skilled he is , he is less likely to swindle me. His diagnosis is same about the watch. He asked me a week to get the spares and repair the watch.

I don't know how complicated it is to change the balance stuff. But I have decided to take the chance with this guy.

crazyfingers said...

Yeah, I think you did the right thing. A week sounds about right - to procure the parts and fix it up.
Do keep me updated, I'm eager to know how this turns out. Hopefully all goes well and you'll have that watch back to you in working condition, plus you may now have a tursted watch guy :)

Regards,
CF

shanthi d said...

Nice collections..Thanks for sharing information... watches

Unknown said...

hi,

I have got my tissot back and am wearing it since last week. The only thing that I have noticed is it is running slow , 2 min/day . So I may have to take it to the watch guy again.

It was a nice journey for me from the moment I got excited about the watch. Thanks to internet and your blog, I have learnt few things about watches.

crazyfingers said...

Hey,

Really happy to hear your Tissot is finally ticking again :)
2min/day is quite a bit, but hopefully it can be regulated without too much toruble.

I'm glad to hear this blog could help you out and thanks for sharing your story here :)

Regards,
CF

Anonymous said...

Nice blog. I also find myself in the same boat as you . been thru a lot of intense interests and then moving on. Now into "watch buying" hobby. And reading a lot. Keep us posted.

crazyfingers said...

It really is addicting, isn't it? I'm seeing myself getting back into it again after three years.