The Collector’s Series – Dean Girling (one half of shoemaker Gaziano & Girling) and his Rolex Submariner 16610
Many wouldn’t believe it. We have run The Collector’s Series for almost 8 months now and not a single modern Rolex has featured. Of course we did feature Chris’s vintage one here a few weeks back. But that doesn’t count, I am referring to post 2000’s here! If you had asked me if that would be the case before we embarked on this journey, I would have laughed you out of the room. Truth is, we have left it completely at the discretion of the collectors to which watch they chose to discuss with us. Our guest this week is a master craftsman with a huge reputation with those who appreciate fine footwear. And on top of that, he’s also the proud owner of a Rolex Submariner 16610.
Tony Gaziano & Dean Girling co-founded Gaziano & Girling in 2006. They make some of the finest shoes in the world at their English factory in Northampton. I had first noticed Dean Girling’s watch when I visited their store on Savile Row last year. Gaziano & Girling produce bench-made shoes with the feel of bespoke. This was their stated aim when Tony and Dean first set up. They had both come from roles with some of the best know English makers of both ready-to-wear and bespoke. However, they both felt they could create something unique by combining the best practices of the latter with the quality and consistency of the former. Much like in the watch world we appreciate the finishing of a movement or case, the work around the waist of their shoes in particular, and oak-bark soles, set them apart.
It was fascinating to understand why a gentleman of his calibre, who prides himself of such meticulous attention to detail and quality choose that particular watch, a Rolex Submariner 16610. Needless to say, I found out when we sat down in Mayfair last week.
So Dean, when did you first get into watches?
I would say I had an interest from the age of 20.
What is it you appreciate about them?
I’m fascinated by the precision engineering of a watch. Although when you see a watch factory the clinical dust-free environment is like a laboratory – quite different to a shoe factory. There’s a number of similarities between that and shoemaking in that they’re both very old crafts. With watches, it is the handcrafting process with fine components.
Can you tell us a bit more about your Rolex Submariner 16610?
The Rolex Submariner 16610 is my everyday watch. This particular model I’ve owned for about five years. I like that it’s both a sports watch and a classic. It’s practical – and even if I do not dive, I use it to tell the time. I don’t wear a suit every day so I usually wear it with casual clothing. I would still wear it with a suit, probably with a classic pair of Chelsea boots, which are a favourite style of mine.
Why the Submariner?
I wanted an everyday watch, that suited my lifestyle. It is a classic piece.
How does it fit in with your lifestyle?
It is reliable. Consistently good in its performance.
What three words would you use to describe it?
Timeless, reliable and practical.
What do you look for when buying a watch?
Its residual value.
What would your advice be to anyone looking to buy a watch?
To think before you buy. Trust in a brand plays a vital role. Rolex has the residual value that not all Swiss watches have.
Do you get many questions about it when you are wearing it?
It is most definitely a conversational piece.
Can a collector ever be fully satisfied?
There will always be something special, rare and unique that catches a collector’s eye. So I guess the answer to that is no.
What, if anything have you got your eye on next?
A Frank Muller… not sure which one just yet, but I love the case design.