In the inaugural installment of The Video Vault, we looked back at three of the most revered independents in the world of watchmaking. Today, we shift our focus to some of the most interesting vintage timepieces we’ve had the honor of spending time with and filming. Below, I’ve curated three videos that I think capture the ethos and beauty of vintage watches. They include Rolex, Tudor, AP, and Patek Philippe – generally special or unique references that in many ways represent the veneration of vintage that informs much of the contemporary conversation about watches both old and new.
If you’re new to HODINKEE, you probably haven’t seen these; if you have seen them, it’s probably been a while. So let’s go back to a New York City menswear boutique in 2013, the Audemars Piguet headquarters in Le Brassus in 2014, and a private home in Arizona in 2015. Please enjoy our visits with Grahame Fowler, Sebastian Vivas and Michael Friedman of Audemars Piguet, and Jason Singer.
The Thirteen MilSubs Of Grahame Fowler (2013)
Grahame Fowler’s shop in the West Village was not far from the original HODINKEE offices back in 2013, and inside was a tightly packed and colorful array of clothes, accessories, and British paraphernalia – basically an ideal backdrop for filming. And, of course, there were the watches that Ben, Stephen, and I had come to see: the purpose-built military Submariners that have captured Fowler’s imagination – including a 5513 that had lived in the sand for decades. This was one of my early, in-person introductions to the military-themed watch collecting space – a space that has only grown in the years since.
Inside The Archives Of Audemars Piguet (2014)
When you show up for a shoot, you generally kind of know what you’re going to see – kind of. Ben had told me in advance that the vintage AP stuff was really special, but I was still not prepared for just how special. Forgetting for a second that these are functioning timekeepers – these are beautiful objects, plain and simple. The triple-calendar chronographs and perpetual calendars of the 1940s and ’50s are particularly stunning in their detail, symmetry, and proportion. This was a rare treat, expertly presented by AP aficionados Sebastian Vivas and Michael Friedman.
Talking Watches With Jason Singer (2015)
Sometimes you show up for a shoot with fair warning (“this guy has a lot of watches”), and still start doubting your SD card stash when the collector starts bringing out the goods. I think of two Talking Watches shoots in particular: Jeff Stein, and the gentleman you see here – super-collector Jason Singer. Rolex Bubblebacks for days. Rare Patek Philippes. Rarer Patek Philippes. A dining table that might not be able to contain them. And this was just a sampling of Singer’s collection – a collection defined by the pursuit of the highest quality examples that can be found.