Monday, March 20, 2017

Watch Enthusiasts of India GTG - Pune

Back again from another GTG or get-together, and this time it was in the charming city of Pune. Like the previous GTGs, this was organised by the Watch Enthusiasts of India (WEI) and the date was set for the 18th of March 2017. The watches I chose to bring along for this GTG were:
  • Rolex Submariner 14060M
  • IWC Portugieser Chronograph IW3714-45
  • Panerai PAM005

Pune is about a 3-4 hour drive from Mumbai (sometimes more if the traffic is bad) and is connected by the lovely Mumbai-Pune Expressway which can get very scenic during the rainy season. I along with three other members, Aravind, Pattabhi and Santanu, set off at 11 AM. Here I would like to thank Aravind for driving us all in his car.

Pune, here we come

On reaching Pune we were warmly greeted by Manish and after quickly checking into our hotel, we were off for lunch. Before heading to the restaurant, we made a quick pitstop to meet and pickup Karan (founder, WEI).

Thankfully Manish had already chosen a nice place for lunch called East Street. Although the GTG was scheduled for the evening, the six of us were already talking and checking out each other's watches. After a few beers and some good food, I had to take leave and head back to my room as I had some work to do. Meanwhile the rest of the gang went to have a look at some watches.

Always great to start a GTG weekend with beer :)
Finally, it was time for the main event and once again, the very helpful members in Pune had selected a nice place called Carnival and reserved a few tables in one section of the venue that gave us some privacy. Apart from the six of us, we were joined by Nikhil, Pankaj, Reggie and Shashank. It was great to finally meet Nikhil and Pankaj in person and like I mentioned in the previous GTG post, it felt like we all already knew each other.

As with every GTG, everyone is waiting for the watches to be laid on the table and it is always amusing to see reactions from other non-WIS people around when that happens. Time for the wrist shots:

Manish's Zenith

Nik's Speedmaster's box - the biggest watch box I've seen

wish every watch came with goodies like these

Can never go wrong with a Speedy in any collection

Manish's stunning Hamilton PanEurop

Karan's titanium Tudor Pelagos - didn't want to take this off my wrist

Never seen this lovely Orient before (Manish's)

Probably my favourite Longines at the moment

All in the family - from left to right: the Black Bay, Pelagos and Submariner

Checking out the lume on the Pelagos

Some Seiko action

Some more Seiko action. Notice despite the big dial size, these Seikos seemed fine on my wrist  :)

Nik's Omega Planet Ocean

I've said it before, my fav Tissot!

And the most unique dial of the GTG award goes to this Klokers KLOK-01
And this is when my phone ran low on power, so unfortunately couldn't take a lot of pictures.

There were easily over a 100 watches, 50 of which belonged to Pattabhi alone! A few people came over to our table and asked if we were selling them and left with confused looks when we told them we are just passionate about watches and like collecting them.

After some more beers and dinner, it was time to call it a night but some of us decided to meet for brunch the next day.

At noon, I checked out from my hotel and headed to Little Italy, which as the name suggests is an Italian restaurant. It was me, Karan, Manish, Shashank and Sameer - another member from Pune who was unable to make it for the GTG the previous night. Once again, there was a good mix of watches, beer and delicious food.

The PAM 005 on my handmade strap :)

Loved this vintage Seiko chronograph (Karan's)

Couldn't get over how stunning the dial looked on this Seiko (Sameer's)

A group shot of my collection at the GTG
After brunch, we bid farewell to each other and Manish and Shashank very generously offered to drive me to the bus station (Aravind had to leave early in the morning, so I decided to take a bus back to Mumbai). At this point I would normally say that I had a great GTG, the best so far and end this post, but little did I know there was more to come.

Onboard the bus, there was an elderly gentleman sitting next to me and I noticed a Baume & Mercier auto chronograph on his wrist. I didn't say anything at first because I wasn't sure of he was a watch enthusiast or not, but soon we got talking and he told me that he used to work for the German car brand BMW and just retired a few months ago. He also told me that he had noticed the watch I had on my wrist (Panerai 005) and as you've probably guessed by know, was indeed a watch enthusiast. He told me about his collection, which included brands like Rolex, Omega, Longines, Cartier, Chopard and even Vacheron Constantin and Patek Phillipe! The whole journey we spoke at length about cars and watches and before I knew it, I was back in Mumbai and at my stop. While departing we both shook hands and hope to meet again sometime in the future.

So yes, now I can say it, it was a fantastic GTG and wonderful weekend. A big thank you to Manish and all the Pune members for making this happen and planning the best GTG experience I've had.

To read about the previous GTGs, click on the links below:


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