Today, we’ll talk about a watch owned by someone that is a voice and face of the watchmaking community, someone that you might have already seen through your screens. Indeed, Marko Koncina is a 29-year-old entrepreneur from Zürich, Switzerland, and he is the driving force behind the Swiss Watch Gang Youtube and Instagram channels. Today, we’ll discuss a watch that is supremely elegant, mechanically complex and rare. Marko will tell us about his great passion for a platinum Cartier Tortue Perpetual Calendar from the all-time classic CPCP collection – also known as Collection Privée Cartier Paris.
Frank Geelen, MONOCHROME – When did this Cartier Tortue become yours?
Marko Koncina, Swiss Watch Gang – It became part of my collection in March 2021 and I bought it from a retailer in Luzern, Switzerland, which had it sitting in the shop for too long. Of course, I had known about Cartier for many years before I ever purchased one, but I was always intrigued by their designs. I probably got introduced to the brand via some commercial, magazine placement or retailer. I live in Zürich, so it’s hard to miss a watch ad. I remember first learning about the Roadster watches and the Ballon Bleu models before I was introduced to the Santos line and so on. The first Cartier I purchased was the first generation Santos, later the 2390 Basculante and finally, the Tortue Perpetual Calendar CPCP which we are talking about today.
What is it in Cartier that you like?
I admire the diversity and how they are able to get away with selling jewellery and watches and being successful at it, a feat not many brands have achieved. I also love the wide range of case shapes they offer, how they didn’t just blow up their watches in size and the elegant appeal they offer. The customer service in their boutiques is good too, I want to give them credit there.
Why did it have to be this particular model?
I had been looking to buy a perpetual calendar for a while, and the first ones I really liked were the ones from Audemars Piguet; round cases but different dial designs, which I saw from my friend Tom Chng (founder of the Singapore Watch Club). Some of them became very expensive due to the recent popularity of vintage APs (not only the Royal Oaks) and so I searched for some alternatives which would suit me. I am a big fan of the Cartier Tortue Monopoussoir with a white dial and blue details, the reference 2396 featuring a special movement developed by THA Ébauche. Since I like that case shape as well and I saw there was a platinum perpetual calendar version out there, I was immediately intrigued and started the search. The main reasons for buying this watch were 1: I wanted this perpetual calendar, 2: Cartier is growing on me as a brand, and 3: the price was right. So I took the opportunity before I would regret it.
I would love to own more Cartier watches in the future, as I currently have three different models in my collection (Santos, Basculante, Tortue). I wouldn’t mind adding a Tortue CPCP monopusher chronograph, an Asymetrique and of course a Crash, if I am ever lucky enough to purchase one.
What is it you like in a perpetual calendar?
Well, for me personally, the most interesting complication in a watch is a nice column-wheel chronograph, due to the number of components it often features and the architectural aspect. A perpetual is arguably more impressive and to think that in such a small space you can fit and calculate a mechanical device to remember the end of the month jumps and even the leap year is, I think, beyond impressive.
And how do you feel about the aesthetics of the watch design?
I am big on symmetry, so I love the well-balanced aesthetics on the dial because of the 4 subdials. Why I chose the platinum version is simple, I was never a big fan of rose gold or yellow gold. If a watch comes in white gold, stainless steel or platinum, I’d rather go for those versions. Maybe this will change in time but currently, I prefer white metals, unless the watch is iconic for being in rose or yellow gold, of course, but I’d still opt for white metals if I can. I currently only saw this model in a yellow gold case but what is good is that Cartier models are almost always rarer in a platinum case so this was a nice added bonus.
Furthermore, I love the Tortue shape and I think it’s often overlooked by the classic Santos line or the iconic Tank models. It’s not something I think you go for as your first Cartier, but once you get one it grows on you quickly. It’s very comfortable to wear, the caseback is slightly curved and because it is a small watch the weight of the platinum case comes in handy here…
And now you tell me it has gone back to the Cartier service department after only a few weeks…
Well, when I bought the watch there was a bolt missing on the caseback, so I knew that I would have to part ways with it soon after purchase. I am excited to have it back and not worry about any water resistance issues or problems that may occur with a missing bolt. I am also bugging my Cartier contact person here in Zürich about the status of the watch as any watch collector can surely relate to. As the bolt is something they don’t have just laying around, they told me that they will have to produce one, which means a longer wait time but that’s ok, I know it is in good hands and will come back ready to be worn.
Do you wear your watch a lot?
To be honest it gets a lot of wrist time. I wear all my watches and I do not babysit them one bit. This model is not really vintage so I think it can handle quite a lot of wear and the good thing is that most people don’t know what I am wearing. I wear this watch to the office, to photoshoots, client meetings and also some casual shopping. It’s cool to style it with street-wear clothes and visit watch stores and really be under the radar with this watch until people ask me what I am wearing and that’s when my cover is blown and they see the importance.
And then what happens?
Well, with this particular watch I get a lot of questions from fellow collectors and enthusiasts about the watch: where I got it, how much I paid and just to tell them as many details as possible. My family, on the other hand, cannot keep up with what I buy and sometimes when I buy something, I don’t even tell them unless it is something really, really special, since none of my family members are watch collectors. My friends who are watch collectors are happy for me and immediately want to see the watch which is a lot of fun, of course. To be able to share the enthusiasm of the find and your latest purchase with like-minded people is great. It is a very strange and expensive hobby if you´re not into watches and don’t share the passion, but for those who do, it’s great to hang out with. On Instagram, it´s sometimes a snowball effect where if you buy a watch people just start searching for one themselves, it happens to me all the time, so my “wish list” constantly grows.
Could you tell us about that list?
Well absolutely! The list is quite extensive and expensive so it will take a lot of time to purchase them all, but it’s also constantly changing. So if you ask me in a few months, I might have different answers or watch choices for you. I definitely would love to dive more into the high-end independent watch scene (Urwerk, MB&F, De Bethune, Grönefeld…) as well as A. Lange & Söhne, Vacheron and Breguet, Ulysse Nardin and others when it comes to more mainstream brands.
Would these match your current collection?
Well, my collection is a hot mess, like some would say. I buy what I like and don’t limit myself to one brand or the ultimate study of one brand. If I see a watch that I like, I do my research and add it to the collection, it’s very diverse and I have a lot of fun styling the watches to my mood, clothes and occasion. It is missing a few watches and categories, but I’m slowly ticking off the boxes, which, if I may add, keep accumulating every year, haha…
Do you know the current market value of this Tortue?
Cartier, and especially the CPCP line of watches, have seen such tremendous growth in the past year so I think the market value changes from month to month and it won’t be until the next auction that I will be able to tell you how much it’s worth. I assume it could be anywhere from USD 30-45,000, but then again, that’s just speculation. Platinum Cartier pieces are rarer and my model is the smaller version. There is also an XL one and since I have all the boxes with it, that adds a few extra bucks to it as well.
If other collectors would like the watch you have, what would you advise them?
The older CPCP line of watches by Cartier is getting more and more popular, so I would advise checking your local retailers, pre-owned shops and auction houses. Anything that the mass market can access like Chrono24 will be immediately harder to purchase or the price might be higher than you are willing to pay for it. And check every site daily or weekly, so you don’t miss out. You can still find good deals and good watches, just try to search where most wouldn’t think of searching and in time you might strike a good opportunity yourself.
And for people who are starting their collection, any good tips?
Start by consuming content as much as you can, via online blogs, YouTube videos and what many forget, books. In books, you can sometimes find models most people don’t know about. This can give you a competitive advantage on some rare models. Buy what you like and don’t listen too much to others, because you’ll be the one wearing your watch after all. I have a few weird watches in my collection, which many people don’t like but it’s OK because it’s MY collection and not theirs. I wouldn’t buy “fashion watch brands” but rather focus on real brands and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. As corny as it sounds, I do believe that watch collecting is a journey and not a destination. We all make mistakes, learn from them and our taste develops as we grow older, handle more watches, meet more collectors and get life experience. Don’t be shy and ask people you follow on Instagram and other platforms for advice, help and their opinion on certain watches they might own, just remember to be polite and most of them will gladly help out.
Are you in touch with other collectors?
Oh absolutely, I’m in touch with many of them. Because I am very active on Instagram, YouTube and now ClubHouse. I used to visit all the watch fairs, locally and internationally, I have met many wonderful people who I consider friends to this day. Watch collecting is overall rather a niche hobby, although it’s becoming more and more widespread, so meeting somebody who loves watches as much as you do forms a special bond. I talk online to watch collectors daily and, from time to time, also offline here in Zürich, it really depends on the current global situation, our time and how much we can meet up in bars and at events. I met some of my best friends because of watch collecting, so I cherish this hobby and lifestyle a lot! It’s always fun to meet a fellow watchgeek!
Maybe you could elaborate a bit more on what you aim for with your channel?
As a content creator, I am always learning and discovering new platforms and ways to reach more people and pull them into this beautiful world of watchmaking. That is why I decided to create a YouTube channel. I started my first Facebook page in 2014 and my Swiss Watch Gang Instagram channel where I post original photography in mid-2017 and I always wanted to venture into videos and YouTube. As many creators can relate to, making YouTube videos versus Instagram photography posts is like day and night. Where 1 picture of a watch for Instagram can take me up to 15min if I know how I want to photograph it 1 video on YouTube takes us days. I say “us” because there are three people involved in the creation of my YouTube videos.
The aim of the channel is to entertain, educate and grow the community. To showcase as many different watches, collectors, locations as possible from as many angles and stories as possible. Since we started in August 2019, we featured over 72 different watch brands on the channel, some who didn’t have a YouTube video before or maybe only 1 with original content and that was and still is one of the main driving factors for the channel – showcase watches you wouldn’t usually see (not with pictures but with original video content). The goal is also to keep having fun, collaborate with more creators and brands and just always keep exploring.