A Question of Time: 10 questions with the Time+Tide team – Borna BošnjakBorna Bošnjak
Editor’s note: What makes the Time+Tide team tick? That’s what we want to try and uncover in this new series that will turn the spotlight on the horological preference, quirks and prejudices of our teams of contributors and editors. This week, Time+Tide’s Deputy Editor Borna Bošnjak takes the hot seat.
When did you first become interested in watches?
I’ve always been interested in the idea of watches, and I’m guessing that’s because my dad always wore, and still wears, one. He was never the watch geek I became, but for as long as I could remember, we’d always stop by a TAG Heuer boutique for him to check out whatever new Carrera was out, only for him to glance down to his two-tone Professional 200 and remark “this is still perfectly fine for me”. It became real shortly after I finished year 11. Dad and I were en route to Melbourne where I’d be continuing high school and eventually begin university, and to celebrate my (pretty spectacular if I may say so myself) IGCSE results, I got to pick out a new watch. It was a Seiko SNA413, better known as the Flightmaster. I wanted to find out more about it, which quickly made mild curiosity spiral into obsession.
What was your first watch, and your first “serious” watch?
My first watch was this cutesy Mickey Mouse number. I got it when I was starting school, as my parents were hoping it’d help me learn to tell time. Funnily enough, I couldn’t figure that out for a good couple of years, only really starting to grasp it was later than I’d be ready to admit considering what I’m up to these days. Because of that, I never really wore it, but my mum has kept it safely put away all these years, together with its original packaging, and it’s pretty much in mint condition.
The first “serious” watch is more difficult to pin down, mostly because I’m not quite sure how I’d define that term myself. It’d have to be one of three watches. The aforementioned Flightmaster, which was the first non-plastic-cased watch I had, is a contender, and so are the Alpinist and Black Bay 58, both firsts in their own price categories of nice watches I got for myself.
What is your collecting style? Does it have a particular focus?
I’m probably the most unfocused collector ever. Although I’d like to think that I have an idea of what I’d want my collection to look like, it’s mostly a lie I tell myself to feel better. One day I’m praising the value in microbrands, another I’m scouring obscure auction sites in search of very broken, but very cool vintage pieces, and a third I’m deciding that enough is enough, and I’m only going to buy pieces that I could never consider selling. Given an unlimited budget, I’d most likely be a total hoarder, but considering what my most likely fiscal scenario is going to look like long-term, my collection would ideally include slightly left-field, but nevertheless timeless watches. And lots of broken vintage stuff.
Which watch do you wear the most?
There isn’t a single watch that I wear most often, though there are plenty of watches that I just don’t wear as much. So far in 2023, it’s looking like a three-way tie between the Black Bay, Seiko Crown Special and the whatever-I-happen-to-be-wearing-for-review.
Your house is on fire and you can only save one watch. Which watch would you save?
This is a really tough one. I’d definitely go for sentimental value over monetary value, but the issue is that I’ve got several watches that I’m closely tied to. If I was really pressed for an answer, it might have to be my graduation watch. Thinking about it now, I think I’ll save that story for a longer piece.
What’s your favourite watch brand and favourite complication?
This is, without a close second, the question I hate being asked the most, especially coming from watch muggles. I’m not quite sure why it upsets me so much – probably because I don’t have a great answer? While my usual response is Seiko, for their excellent affordability and variety of vintage pieces, and the sheer range the corporation has from Seiko 5s to Credor, it’s not quite true. With so many new releases, it’s hard to keep up, and I’m not a fan of their price hikes of recent years, either. No definitive answer here, I’m afraid.
I’m not overly keen on collecting complicated watches, though I do like a nicely executed big date or travel time. What I truly love are unique, but well-executed complications that don’t feel like they were done purely for the sake of saying “we were the first to do it”. Great examples are A. Lange & Sohne’s Zeitwerk, Parmigiani’s GMT Rattrapante (I’ll never omit saying how buttery smooth those pushers are), and Patek Philippe’s Aquanaut ref. 5164A.
A gilt-dialled Rolex Explorer ref. 1016 has been, and likely will be, a grail for a long time. Would’ve been great if John Mayer never wrote that article about it being the best vintage buy for $6k. I’m serious.
What “tweaks your tourb” the most?
If you know me at all, you’ll know that I can have strong feelings about the most minute details. While I’m quite stubborn regarding my own ideas of good execution, there are two things that hugely bother me. The first is an absolute plague to the enjoyment of this hobby, and it’s how hung-up certain brands get on the idea of an in-house movement, going to ridiculous lengths to make it seem like they’re the ones who make it. Words like “manufacture” or “insert-brand-here-exclusive” are just icing on the cake. Just tell us what the movement really is, and I guarantee you enthusiasts will appreciate the candour even though the marketing department may not.
The second goes perfectly with the saying “I’m not mad, just disappointed”, and it basically relates to a watch that could be truly great, but is just a bit shit because of an awry design choice or lacklustre quality control.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone just entering the world of watch enthusiasm?
Don’t take any of it too seriously.
If I didn’t work with watches, I would want to work with…
…computers, and electronic stuff? At least that’s what my university degree says. I always joke that I’m a pretend-engineer, and though working on an engaging electrical engineering project would be great in theory, the six years of physics and math, with very little actual engineering, left only a tiny part of me enthused by the idea.