This week on the Collector’s Series allowed me to go hands on with personal favourite watch of mine. It’s a world timer and it comes from one of the most underrated (in my opinion) manufactures out there. Joseph McKenzie is a business owner, watch collector and friend. He runs Xupes.com with his Father in the UK. A family run, online luxury business that cover fine watches, jewellery, handbags, investment wine and art. We have shared watch stories for many years and it felt right to ask him why he chose the Girard Perregaux WWTC.
When did you first get into watches?
I’ve always liked nice things. My wife brought me my first Hugo Boss watch when I was 16 when we started seeing each other. Back then, I couldn’t stop looking at it and enjoyed wearing it every day for a couple of years until I upgraded to a Jaeger-LeCoultre. I’ve always been intrigued by mechanics and the way things work. I used to repair gearbox’s on airsoft guns as a teenager (my first little business), something I taught myself through trial and error. I actually taught some of the first repairers in the country who now have big businesses in this sector. Although a lot bigger than watches there were a lot of parts which I had to work out how they operated together. This fascination may have come from my great grandfather who was actually a clock maker.
What drew you to Girard Perregaux?
I’ve always been drawn to less ordinary mainstream brands. Girard Perregaux are a great brand, with a long history, dating back to the 1700’s and they have manufactured some beautiful watches. Yet, most people haven’t heard of Girard Perregaux and they remain one of the lesser known brands. Yet, their quality is excellent – I admire the fact that they produce their own movements.
Why the Girard Perregaux WWTC?
I have always liked the Girard Perregaux WWTC since I started in watches. This watch combines useful functionality in a modern case size at 44mm that is both wearable and has some good wrist-estate! I also like complicated dials. The complications of a watch interest me. The Girard Perregaux WWTC has a few and it is well balanced. The function of the 24h World Timer is easy to use and this combined with the chronograph works well. Although if I am honest I do not use either function much. I just like the look of the watch and the quality of finish. The caseback also has an exhibition glass showing the movement – I never get bored looking in.
What is more important to you : accuracy / rarity ?
Rarity. Accuracy is important but I always set my watch 10-20 minutes fast so I try to arrive on time. I think most people who know me always joke about how can I be running late when I run a watch business. But I like to have things that other people don’t. Things that are a bit different and cannot be brought elsewhere. Accuracy can be corrected. Rarity can’t.
Do you tend to go for aesthetics over brand heritage ?
That’s a difficult one as I will say its often a combination of both. I am always interested in the history, story or heritage behind something. This is what makes an item interesting and something you can talk about. I love reading up on brands, evolution of ranges and technical specifications of watches. This always informs any purchase. Aesthetics are equally important as you have to like the look of something too. A good example for me personally is Romain Jerome – I love the ideas behind their pieces but I am less interested by the aesthetics. But that is down to personal taste.
Can you tell us more about the movement?
The movement is a variant of GP’s in house calibre GP03300, which is a bit of a workhorse. It also features time, date and a 12 hour flyback chronograph. Its reliable and has stood the test of time remaining relatively unchanged since the Girard Perregaux WWTC was launched.
How much wrist time does it get?
Its my daily wearer at the moment, so a lot. Sometimes I will mix it up with my IWC Portuguese but I like the rose gold for work.
What sort of day/event do you find yourself strapping it on?
As above I love the rose gold. This can be dressed up or down but it particularly works well for work/business. It fits well under a shirt cuff. But you can also pull it off with a t-shirt – it’s pretty versatile.
What does the Girard Perregaux WWTC say about you, do you think?
It says I’m a bit different, I appreciate quality and prefer to be understated.
Do you seek advice of anyone before buying?
Not really but if I ever get stuck I always ask one of our watchmakers. They are absolute experts and help out particularly on vintage. I have a set of rules I tend to always follow, as I have had my fingers burnt in the past.
What (if anything) have you got your eye on next?
I have my eye on two actually – the Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometer Quantieme Lunaire and the Lange & Söhne 1815 Perpetual Calendar, but these will have to wait as I am building a house. But the Lange and Sohne has been on the list for a very long time! I’ll have to keep saving.
Can a collector ever be fully satisfied with his/her collection?
I’m not sure about other collectors but I don’t think so. They’re are so many great brands coming out every year and new models that I don’t think you can ever stop. For most collectors I believe your collection is always evolving. Tastes and styles change and its only until your own and wear a watch that you realise if you really love it. Yes, there are keepers but there are always pieces which come and go. I try not to get too attached to watches as I also look at them as an investment. This is important to how and when I buy something. I know some people buy purely because they love something, and money does not come into the decision, but I get a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction about enjoying what I wear but knowing I could sell it and recover/make something on what was paid for it.
Other than Girard Perregaux, which brands do you think are doing interesting work out there?
There are a lot of brands that interest me. I love MB&F and follow them closely. I also like some of Arnold & Sons recent creations, then there is FP Journe, Speake Marin and De Bethune. Armin Stroms range at Salon QP earlier this year also caught my eye.
What piece of advice would you give to someone considering starting a collection?
Make a considered purchase and do your research. Buy from somewhere reputable and use a protected payment method if you can. Think about the objectives for your collection. Are you buying for investment or to enjoy and keep forever? There is an awful lot of choice out there and its important to try a selection of pieces on.
When collecting do you think its important to stick to a brand or a category? (Patek/IWC or aviation/dive)
This is usually guided by a need or purpose for a particular use or function. Or as I have already mentioned investment. If you are buying for this purpose, then Rolex and Patek are usually safe bets but it all comes down to the price. A watch is a self-expression or your tastes and style or even your mood so I would say its always nice to have a variety of brands/categories unless this is an objective for your collection.
What three words sum up the Girard Perregaux WWTC?
Same answer as earlier – Understated, quality, different.
Is the Girard Perregaux WWTC a keeper?
It is for the moment but if a good offer came along it may have to go…