Confessions of a watch addict
Any regular reader of this column will know of Benjamin Clymer, as I’ve talked about his excellent website, Hodinkee, on many occasions. He is one of the pioneers enlisted by the DFS Group for its sixth annual Masters of Time event in Macau — Asia’s most prestigious watch and jewellery retail exhibition, which will feature over 300 masterpieces on December 6th. I spoke with him to find out more about the event and, most importantly, learn which of his many beautiful watches he takes with him on holiday…
Sam Truman: What’s your go-to watch?
Benjamin Clymer: There are so many that I truly love, but one that I find myself wearing often is my Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, but a very special one. It is called A Double Swiss Underline Daytona and it is one of the earliest known examples. I was fascinated by this watch for years, and spent hours researching it, trying to find just how the first-series Daytonas should look. Eventually I was able to find one in original condition, and turned my love for this watch into a report for Hodinkee that has become a reference on the first-generation Daytonas that were made for just one year. It is a small watch that looks beautiful on a shell cordovan strap, and sporty on an Oyster bracelet.
ST: What’s the one watch that you would take on holiday with you? I am asking this because as I can never decide what to take and need to know if other watch guys face the same dilemma.
BC: I absolutely face the same dilemma! It really depends where I’m going, but I like to dress the part. If I’m going to Milan or Rome, it is a Daytona for sure. If it’s Lake Como or the South of France, perhaps a 1950s Universal Geneve chronograph in pink gold. In Geneva, it has to be a Patek Philippe. In the Vallée de Joux, it’s an Audemars Piguet. If it’s California, it’s a Datejust. If I’m going to Montana, it’s my Tudor Marine Nationale. If I’m going to the SIHH, maybe it will be an FP Journe or Laurent Ferrier.
ST: A Rolex-related question: would you pick the GMT, Explorer/Sub/Sea Dweller or Daytona?
BC: For me, it’s all about the Daytona. I’ve owned all the rest and I find myself always coming back to the chronograph. I am a chronograph lover, Rolex or not, and the Daytona is truly a special piece that stands out from the rest. That said, I also love Submariners and have owned many (I own just two right now). There are special Submariners, like those with Explorer dials and of course the British MilSubs that I would put right up there with your average Valjoux-powered Daytona.
ST: Now onto the Masters of Time. Could you give us the lowdown on the event and how you became involved?
BC: Masters of Time is the largest retail exhibition of real watches and jewellery in the world. It’s something I’d heard about through friends for a few years and I always wanted to see it for myself. To participate in it, acting as an expert and commenter on the amazing collection, is a fantastic way to do it. I love to travel, I love watches, and I love sharing my passion for both with others — which led me to start Hodinkee — so it is a natural step to participate in it and continue to spread the gospel of fine wristwatches.
ST: The event is being held at the T Galleria Macau, Shoppes at Four Seasons…
BC: Yes, it’s one of the largest and most legendary retail environments in all of Asia. It’s something that people all over the world talk about, and this year the entire venue will be transformed into a space-orientated destination, focusing on new developments and pushing forward advancements of all kinds. We’ll be highlighting new movements, new designs new materials, all within this theme. It should be amazing.
ST: Will it be a mix of the well-known, along with some of the more independent brands?
BC: You’ll see over 300 individual watches from over 40 of the best brands in the world. There is really nothing like it. Where else can you see a Laurent Ferrier next to Ulysse Nardin, next to an Arnold & Son, next to a Van Cleef, next to a Jaeger LeCoultre?
ST: I understand there are several rare and limited-edition pieces being shown, along with some Asia debuts?
BC: Sure, for the very first time, Asia will see two of my absolute favourite pieces from the Masters of Time this year — Van Cleef & Arpels’ Midnight Planétarium, and Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Grande Tradition À Quantième Perpétuel 8 Jours SQ. The Planeterium is pure artistry and romanticism, taking a special approach to the lifespan of a watch, while the Jaeger-LeCoultre is cutting edge horology in a traditional sense with 8 day perpetual calendar and flying tourbillon escapement, with the finest Swiss finishing. Both are truly exceptional.
ST: I also hear there will be new watchmakers as well as industry leaders at the event?
BC: Yes that’s true. It’s important to support the individual artisans who keep this craft alive not for money, but purely for passion.
Below are DFS Master’s of Time’s watches to watch out for. For more visit www.dfs.com