Not just an old man's game: My Highlights From Those Watch Guys
Something that I have noticed over the last year or so is the amount of younger watch fans entering into the community. When I interviewed for a job at jewellers, the guy was shocked that a guy my age (24) would be interested in watches. Once seen as an older man's pursuit, now thanks to Instagram, social media and the internet in general younger people like myself are able to engage and contribute to this wonderful passion of ours. Two of those younger fans are Samuel Gardner and Craig Moore who run www.thosewatchguys.com , one of the newer vitnage watches sellers who focus on classic brands like Omega, Tudor, LeCoultre and Rolex. I spoke with them about their passion and their current collection and picked out a few of my highlights currently available on the site.
TC: Tell me about yourselves and ThoseWatchGuys.
Samuel: I'm Samuel Gardner; I'm 16 years old and currently a junior in high school. I shoot all of the photographs for the website and run the website's official Instagram account
Craig: I'm Craig Moore; I'm 20 and am currently sophomore at Loyola University Maryland. My job for the site is to find the next great piece that I think would look great on the site and I do a good deal of the communication for the site as well as running the second Instagram account thatwatch_guy. We started ThoseWatchGuys last June and has become a great hobby for the both of us. To us being obviously young it is a great excuse to buy and wear great watches until we have to part ways when they sell. Before the site I know I had a tough time telling my parents "Just spent a few thousand on a new watch". As you can guess when I went through the business aspect, they understood and were very supportive.
Omega Seamaster 120
The Seamaster 120 is one of my favorite "forgotten" Omega dive watches. Everyone jumps straight to the Seamaster 300 or the Ploprof forgetting about this beauty and I don't see why. This example has a gorgeous deep blue bezel (albeit missing the diving dot) and the classic applied Omega logo that everyone loves so much. Whilst I do love the choice of engraving that Omega does currently with nearly every one of their watches, there is a certain something about the harsh unadorned brass of this vintage movement. This after all is a watch meant for doing, not for posing. However unlike contemporary dive watches like the Planet Ocean, this one will actually fit underneath a shirt cuff. Whilst it currently comes on an original stainless steel bracelet, I'd rather change it out for a distressed leather for a more casual look or even an alligator strap if you're looking to go upscale with it. If there is one great thing about these older dive watches, it is their versatility. The Omega Seamaster 120 is currently $1445.
TC: How did you first get interested in vintage watches?
Craig: I was first introduced to watches when my parents got me a watch for my high school graduation and my obsession was soon followed. Over the next few years I read many blogs and watched videos to learn about the vast world of watches. What really got me hooked is when I discovered vintage, it is a completely different ball game. I got Samuel into vintage watches and his love has grown into a hobby and he has really excelled in the photography aspect for us on the site.
LeJour Black PVD Chronograph
I've seen single dial chronos, I've seen two dialed chronos at 6 & 9 or even 12 & 6 but I've never seen any other chronograph at 6 & 12. It's kinda odd but refreshing in a way. LeJour were a mid-tier chronograph manufacture with a history going back all the way to 1873 and whilst they never hit the lofty heights of other brands, they made affordable and reliable watches that still work today. I think of this watch as something cheap and cheerful to be worn at the beach or on a summer's Day. It's something to be thrown into a backpack, to be knocked and scratched. It's something to be used. With it's odd chronograph layout, black PVD case and bright orange second hand, it won't be seen that dinner table but it was never meant to be so who cares! The LeJour PVD Chronograph is currently $475.
TC: What do you look for when sourcing watches for your store? Do you go out looking for a specific reference or just wait to be inspired?
Craig: We don't necessarily look for a specific watch or reference number unless a potential client asks us to source one for them. In which case we are always happy to do so. When we look for watches we tend to focus on things that we don't have on the site. If there aren't any time only military pieces then that's what we're going to look for. In whole we generally like military watches, quirky sports chronographs, and 1950's dress pieces. We would have to say we always look for the next great Omega or Universal Geneve, both of which are personal favorites of mine.
TC: Is there a myth/misconception about vintage watches that you wish to educate the community about?
Craig : One thing that I always hear from people who are hesitant in buying vintage is that they believe the watches will be way too fragile. While they aren’t as durable as they used to be, people can still wear them like most everyday watches. Another is that there is more to find then the popular/ mainstream brands. Some of the most interesting and aesthetically pleasing watches to me have been some brands not many people have heard of. Brands like Enicar, Waltham, LeJour, Helbros and many others. Some very cool yachting chronographs from the 1970’s came from brands I myself had never even heard of but found myself falling love with the colorful and asymmetrical dials.
What is there to be said about the Memovox that hasn't already been said? It is a classic complication by the manufacture of movements, Jaeger-LeCoultre. Branded only LeCoultre in the United States, this memovox has those amazing lugs that we see so often in watches from the late fifties and early sixties. A nice even patina has started to form round the edges of the dial but the blue seconds hand and the "wrist alarm" text are still as vibrant as ever. With the ubiquity and convenience of smartphones I doubt we will see a proper return to the mechanical alarm as a dedicated reminder but this is why these older watches are so valuable. They open a window into a different time where the Memovox was a smartwatch, the pinnacle of technological achievement in 34mm. This is 10K Gold Filled which might not be to everyone's taste but seeing as currently the watch is on sale from $1395 to $1295, it's a steal regardless.
TC: Do you think that in fifty years the watches of today will be revered in the same way that those from the sixties are today?
Craig: I think there will definitely be a similar level of appreciation for the watches made in the past but there will be a lot fewer watches that are in the same condition as you see them today. Back in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s most watches were made with an extremely high level of quality. Nowadays there are only 10-15 brands that produce high quality watches like they did 50 or so years ago.
TC: Is there a grail watch you'd love to see on Thosewatchguys? Or on your wrist instead?
Samuel: Well to be honest; whatever is on the site will likely be on our wrists. But a personal grail of mine is definitely a Double Red Sea-Dweller, or a 1016 Explorer.
Craig: For me I don’t know if I have a grail that I can see myself actually purchasing anytime soon. Either to expensive or it may be my always changing taste. I currently am a huge fan of Omega, military Longines, Nomos and Universal Genève. For now I would like to obtain a Rolex 5513 matte dial or a incredibly clean Universal Tri-Compax.
TC: What watch has been the hardest for you to see go after being sold?
Samuel: One piece for me that was really difficult to let go of was the Omega Seamaster chronograph that was in virtually mint condition. It only took seven hours to sell once listed on the site and is easily my most missed piece that’s gone through the site.
Craig: For me I recently sold an incredible Universal Compax from the 1940’s. It will be missed greatly and it getting increasingly more difficult to find good examples. A positive is always this, when one goes out, another must come in. We try to make the next one better then the last.
Universal Geneve Calatrava
I am in love. Valentine's Day has just come and gone but there is a small part of me wishing that this watch will appear on my wrist in a few days (It's not going to happen). I've spoken before about Universal Geneve and how much I think they offer such amazing value in today's market. This Calatrava has such amazing design that is truly truly timeless. It evokes the simple and elegant designs of the Bauhaus movement with the simple block font and the stick hands yet the exterior minute ring adds just a splash of color that makes the watch for me. At 36mm this is just a wonderful size for someone looking for a smaller dress watch without sacrificing legibility or design and the manual wind movement is a masterclass is stunning. I love it to bits. It's currently $1550 and I think it is worth every single dollar. Get it now before you miss out.
TC: And finally, what watch are you wearing right now?
Craig: I am wearing my recently acquired Universal Genève Polerouter date. As I stated before I am a big fan of UG and had been looking for a nice Polerouter for about 8 months. I finally found a nice clean example with an unpolished case and clean dial that I am keeping for myself at the moment. I plan on having it on the site in the near future but just can't part ways at this moment.
Samuel: I am currently wearing my Tudor Snowflake that is listed on the site. It’s the reference 94110 and is easily has the best looking patina of any Snowflake I have ever seen. The bezel is lightly faded and the lume on the indices and hands are all matching.