A Watch Lover From An Early Age

Have you ever had that feeling where you believed in something so much that when others said, “just wait, it’ll happen” or “patience is a virtue,” it made you feel like they were completely in the dark?

Welcome to the life of a 6th grader in 1995 when the new Timex Ironman Triathlon Datalink landed and was going to revolutionize the way this student would ace science class! My parents and I argued for months about why I needed a $100 watch and what value this would bring over my trusty paper and pencil. Ultimately, my dad conceded after months of pestering, but he shared in my zest of technology and recognized I would use this watch to its max potential.

The Timex Datalink series was co-developed with Microsoft in 1994 as a computer watch replacement for personal digital assistants (PDAs). Each morning as my CRT monitor would flash pulsating lines across the screen, I would proudly tilt my scrawny wrist up to the glass monitor and smile as all those bits of data were being transmitted wirelessly through the optical sensor of my watch. The experience was magical and, for that era, quite an achievement in such a small form factor. Little did I know this watch would become the start of my obsession with the world of horology and timekeeping.

A Watch Collector’s Growing Fascination

From middle through high school, I became obsessed with building websites, learning how to code, and studying watch movements. I took apart my Timex Datalink and put it back together no less than 20 times and this started a burning passion for understanding circuitry and how quartz watches functioned. The Internet was still relatively new so I relied heavily on Encyclopedia Britannica and Microsoft Encarta. You can imagine the look on my face when I first saw videos of a watchmaker carefully attaching a watch hairspring onto a balance wheel and letting it run on its own; he had given it life. The ability of that watch emulating a human heartbeat is what motivated me to become an engineer. I wanted to create and build things with meaning and coincidentally found my calling.

I went to engineering and design school and, with little to no money, started my own business building websites for bars and clubs. For four years I kept mental notes of all the watches I came across in VIP sections of the clubs I supported. I researched each of them and kept a database of all the details ranked by movement type, power reserve, complications, and so forth. In design school, I was intrigued by typography and it’s still why I spend so much time analyzing Eastern Arabic and Roman numerals used on watch dials. For instance, I noticed trends in how Bauhaus design principles were practiced in brands like A Lange & Söhne with “form following function,” while a completely different manufacturer, namely IWC, kept a classic Arabic definition with their characters.

I came to the realization at the end of my senior year in college that one should buy what you like and not follow a crowd simply because it’s temporarily popular. I made a promise to myself that I would purchase a mechanical movement soon after leaving college and this was fulfilled with a Tag Heuer CJF2118 as it had a proven Calibre 16 I still proudly wear today.

Creating Lasting Partnerships

As my career progressed and many grey hairs later, so did my passion and hunger for more complications in watches and I gravitated towards pieces like the IWC Portugieser 7-day automatic and Panerai PAM00233 8-day GMT. I knew I wanted to create a relationship with the right partner, and for that reason, I visited almost 20 ADs across multiple countries and eventually chose Reis-Nichols after a phone call with none other than their long-time watch/jewelry associate, Therese Lopshire. We spoke on the phone for 20 minutes and there was a feeling of warmth and genuine sincerity that I had not experienced across any store in all my years of watch collecting. Upon arrival into the store, she and another watch expert, Andrew Pyke, sat with me and discussed a variety of options for what seemed an eternity. I left so happy from the store and that culminated into the relationship we have today—one of loyalty and respect for one another.

Our most recent journey led us down a path where I customized a Nomos Tangente 38mm for watches@, a watch club of Googlers (a private group of horological enthusiasts that has no affiliation or sponsorship with Google or Alphabet), and none of this would have been possible without a strong partner who is equally as passionate and forward-thinking about the world of horology and technology. I’m uncomfortably excited about what we can design and engineer together next!

June 25, 2020