A Question of Time: 10 questions with the Time+Tide team – Jamie WeissJamie Weiss
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 preferences, quirks and prejudices of our contributors and editors. This week, Time+Tide’s new Australian Editor Jamie Weiss takes the hot seat.
When did you first become interested in watches?
Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always been obsessed with clocks, watches and gauges. One of my first words was “clock”, actually. Watches have always been in my family, too: my family were the first official distributors of Eterna in Australia. As I got older, my dad really cultivated my appreciation of timepieces, as dads often do – but the real turning point for me was when I finished high school and did a Rotary youth exchange year in Switzerland. It’s hard not to end up loving watches after living in Switzerland.
What was your first watch, and your first “serious” watch?
It’s hard to say what my first watch was – I went through a succession of hand-me-down Casio G-Shocks which my dad gave me, and somehow I managed to destroy a whole bunch of them. My first serious watch, however, was a Certina DS Podium I got when I was in high school, which I barely wore because I wanted to keep it “nice”. I’ve still got that watch, and I absolutely adore it. Certina is a criminally underrated brand.
What is your collecting style? Does it have a particular focus?
Not particularly – which is kind of the point. While there are some complications I gravitate towards more than others, I’d rather have a diverse and versatile collection of pieces I can wear on different occasions rather than focus on a single brand, model or reference.
Which watch do you wear the most?
My Citizen Promaster Diver ‘Fugu’ Full Lume, which I bought on a whim and absolutely fell in love with. Reliable, robust, handsome… It’s everything you’d want out of a sporty daily wearer. The full-lume dial is a great party trick, too, as is showing off the cute lil’ pufferfish on the caseback.
Your house is on fire and you can only save one watch. Which watch would you save?
This is like getting you to pick who your favourite child is! It’s a toss-up between my Certina and my Tudor Black Bay Pro. The latter isn’t just (currently) the most expensive watch in my collection, but it too holds sentimental value for me: it’s the first luxury watch I bought for myself as a watch writer and for me represents my coming-of-age as such. It’s my “I’ve made it” watch.
What’s your favourite watch brand and favourite complication?
Another tricky question. Put a gun to my head and I’d probably say Vacheron Constantin – partly because it’s my dad’s favourite brand too and he’s always said that if he wins the lottery, he’s buying an Overseas Dual Time (which would also be one of my grails). I just love their approach to watchmaking: uncompromising, tasteful, and traditional yet also avant-garde all at once.
My favourite complication is an easier answer: I love GMT watches. Not only are they practical but there’s just something fundamentally romantic about a GMT. Whether you’re at home or abroad, they remind you of the pleasures of travel and the fond memories you’ve made along the way. They’re also a way of reminding you of family and friends across the world.
The A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Titanium. I just love how much of a conundrum this watch is: a sporty piece from the most elegant and traditional of brands. It’s why I like Vacheron Constantin, too, or Mercedes-Benzes or Bentleys in yellow. There’s just something very cool about a traditional brand letting its hair down a bit; I love the contrast.
What “tweaks your tourb” the most?
I’m with my colleague Borna in that I think that the watch industry’s obsession with in-house movements is a bit frustrating. Yes, that a brand is capable of producing its own movements says something about their seriousness as a watchmaker but there’s nothing wrong with using a third-party movement. I’d rather have a watch with an easy and cheap-to-service, reliable ETA movement than some weird exotic in-house calibre I’ll never be able to service (or will cost an arm and a leg to do so).
I also think something the watch hobby particularly struggles with is separating price tags from the culture. From my perspective, there’s often an air of conspicuous consumption and “flexing” that influences watch culture more than many other hobbies where the cost of entry is relatively high. For instance, car culture doesn’t feel as influenced by money, even though cars are much more expensive on average than watches – you can love both Fords and Ferraris. There’s no getting away from the fact that mechanical watches aren’t cheap but it does bother me sometimes how frequently money enters the discussion; like how some watch fans will dismiss some brands simply because they’re cheap or not household names. Watches should be more egalitarian.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone just entering the world of watch enthusiasm?
Do your research and keep an open mind, but also don’t let people tell you what you should or shouldn’t like. Also, just have fun! Watches are fun, slightly frivolous but indescribably beautiful things. Enjoy yourself.
If I didn’t work with watches, I would want to work with…
Honestly, I’m not really qualified to be anything other than a writer so the question would be “what would you write about instead of watches”? As you may have guessed, I’m a real revhead too, so I’d love to do the car beat full-time, or potentially indulge my pretentious gastronomic pretences and become a food writer. Preferably with a cravat, a la Matt Preston. If I wasn’t a journalist? Maybe I’d be a lawyer. Somewhere where I can get paid to argue would be great.