Of what interest the watchmaking awards can be to watch collectors and sellers?
Although I am dealing with vintage watches, of course, I do collect modern pieces, too. Gathering in one place everything most important in a year, GPHG inadvertently helps to make sure you did not miss anything. For example, after the ceremony of 2015, I literally fell in love with Slim d’Hermes Perpetual, which won the category “Full Calendar Watch Prize” and eventually got the same for myself. It turns out that the prize fulfills two fundamental tasks at once: it pays tribute to the brands for the work done and their contribution to the development of horology while drawing the attention of potential buyers to the winning timepieces.
Do you often find something truly revolutionary at exhibitions and prizes?
One probably should not expect sensations on a regular basis; still sometimes significant breakthroughs do occur. Take at least the 2016 winner in the nomination “Mechanical Exception”, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie. I’ve got to hold the timepiece in my hands several times, and believe me, the volume level and timbre of its repeater are fascinating.
How does receiving an award affect the collectability of a model?
It’s hard to say for sure. It only provides more publicity; the rest depends on collectors themselves.
Manufacturers of which countries, apart from Switzerland, have made the most impression on you lately?
I would recommend giving attention to the Japanese, first, Seiko and its subdivisions Grand Seiko and Credor. In recent years, they have been able to bring a lot of interesting things to the industry. These are the latest versions of the hybrid Spring-Drive movement, and the constant attention to both aesthetic and functional sides of the issue. Do not forget about the independent watchmakers of the region, take at least Hajime Asaoku, who developed his own versions of the tourbillon and chronograph.
What in your opinion is the most important chorological achievement of the XXI century?
Probably, the introduction of new materials. In a sense, it changed the landscape of the industry. There are innovations like silicone springs and escapements, obtaining details with a 3D printer, increasing the final accuracy and the periods between service. Panerai, for example, released this year a watch with components of carbon and tantalum, which do not require lubrication and can work for up to 50 years without having to take them to a watchmaker.
Could you give some piece of advice to the novice collectors?
Buy what you like. There is a huge amount of watches in the world, you do not have to worry that you cannot get them all. Size is not the main thing. I get sick every time someone complains about the “too small” 38-millimeter case. Look closely at the vintage watch market, because many outstanding modern models are literal reissues of classics. And most importantly - properly examine the timepiece before buying.
Let’s play an oracle: what would be the forthcoming big trends in the vintage segment and in the modern one?
Rolex will continue to dominate the vintage market and auctions; the prices will grow. In the modern segment, I would bet on traditional designs and sizes.