A Question of Time: 10 questions with the Time+Tide team – Fergus NashFergus Nash
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 contributor Fergus Nash takes the hot seat.
When did you first become interested in watches?
My watch nerd origin story is actually quite well-documented in the first article I ever wrote for Time+Tide. The short version is that I found my grandfather’s 1958 Seamaster in the drawer of an antique sewing machine. I’d seen it a few times in the past while searching for rogue batteries or pairs of scissors, but that final time I decided to get it fixed up. Learning about mechanical movements and servicing instantly sparked my obsessive mind, and I was delving through the depths of Wikipedia and YouTube for months afterwards.
What was your first watch, and your first “serious” watch?
I’d say that a vintage Omega Seamaster is a pretty serious first watch, and before then I really didn’t like wearing watches very much. I think I may have had a Timberland watch with a laser-cut tree on the dial which I quite liked, but it was far too big to be comfortable on me. If we’re talking about the first watch that I bought with my own money, I rather irresponsibly bought a 2008 Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean that cost more than a month’s salary, and loved it for many years.
What is your collecting style? Does it have a particular focus?
My style has evolved significantly over the five or so years I’ve been involved in the hobby, and that probably has something to do with my journey of gender expression too. I’ve always loved vintage watches, but overall I think my passion lies with any watch displaying a big personality. The Cartier Pasha 1033 is the watch I most regret selling, and in the past year or so I’ve only really been buying quartz-powered women’s watches.
Which watch do you wear the most?
Lately the watch which has captured my heart is a Seiko from 1981, with the reference number 1320-5490. I scored this in an eBay lot of 4 vintage Seikos for only AU$44, and it became my favourite as soon as I opened the package. Every aspect of its design and finishing is incredibly ornate, from the spiralling tangle of art nouveau lines which make up the bracelet to the frosted silver texture of the dial. The bracelet length fits me perfectly without adjustment, and the steel case works with pretty much any outfit. Being quartz, I don’t have to think about setting the time before I leave and it’s so easy to throw on and feel fancy.
Your house is on fire and you can only save one watch. Which watch would you save?
Without hesitation, it has to be the 1958 Omega Seamaster. Even if it wasn’t a family heirloom, it signifies the beginning of my wristwatch journey that quickly became a career. It’s also my oldest and most valuable watch now that I’ve sold the rest of my luxury pieces. I keep it in one of those modern Omega Seamaster timber watch boxes, so it’d be pretty heavy to grab in an emergency, but it’d definitely be a priority.
What’s your favourite watch brand and favourite complication?
My attachment to Omega used to make it the default brand for this question, but I think Cartier have gradually won me over. Aside from all of their beautiful and quirky designs, I find that there’s something unpretentious about them which greatly appeals to me. It’s not that they’re humble watches by any means, but their origins as a jewellery brand means they don’t use tenuous stories to justify themselves like a lot of other companies do. With the exception of my favourite, the Pasha of course.
As for the complication, I’m actually going to give a cop-out answer and say none of them. Truthfully my favourite watches are time-only, and while I have previously owned watches with chronographs and power reserve indicators, I tend to find them a bit distracting. I can tolerate a date display, especially if the frame has been designed well, but any more than two or three hands is a bit too many for me.
For years my grail watch was the Omega De Ville Tourbillon reference 5133.30.00, but as my taste has matured I realised I was mainly just in love with the yellow-brick-road-style gold bracelet. I now find the central tourbillon overpowering, and the surrounding dial a little bit bland in comparison. I haven’t settled on a specific grail since ditching the De Ville, but until the position is taken I’d say I would most want something like the Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Moon, which I recently featured in my Dungeons & Dragons article.
What “tweaks your tourb” the most?
There isn’t a lot which really grinds my gears, but my pet peeve is similar to D.C.’s in a badly-placed date window. Whether it’s at a distracting angle or cutting into a numeral awkwardly, it seems like such an oversight to ruin a perfectly good dial for the sake of cramming one in. If it’s a matter of efficiency to use a movement with a date display, I would much rather it was still covered up by the dial and ignore a ghost date position on the crown.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone just entering the world of watch enthusiasm?
The main thing I like to preach is to own your individuality. Watch culture can be very prescriptive, especially on social media and forums where everyone seems to think their opinion is the law. Instead of trying to fill up your collection with the obligatory diver, field watch, pilot watch and chronograph, find something which aligns with your values and you’ll get much more out of it. Yes, even if it’s a cheap quartz watch that’ll break in a year and people turn their noses up at it.
If I didn’t work with watches, I would want to work with…
Before I got into watches I mainly worked in the music industry as an audio engineer. It’s an incredibly tough and competitive industry with little to no job security, but I still take the odd gig here and there because I love live music so much. I also write creatively in my spare time, and hope to eventually publish a novel and see it in a bookstore.