Right now’s instalment of The Collector’s Sequence focuses on a watch that may look acquainted. A number of weeks in the past we wrote about this very good Habring² monopusher chronograph that we, right here at MONOCHROME, preferred loads. It was a limited edition from the Japanese retailer Shellman, and this specific one was on the market as a pre-owned watch. In some unspecified time in the future within the means of designing our personal Montre de Souscription with Habring², we had additionally seen that Shellman version, and oh did we prefer it! For the reason that launch of our collaboration with Maria and Richard Habring was deliberate for final week, Gavin kindly agreed to postpone his interview within the Collector’s Sequence till after the launch of our Montre de Souscription. After all, I’m head over heels in love with ‘our’ Habring², however Gavin’s model with the same dial because the Shellman version is simply drop-dead beautiful!
Frank Geelen, MONOCHROME – Do you bear in mind while you first laid eyes on this Austrian model?
Gavin Douglas – It was across the time their Doppel-Felix received its GPHG class in 2018 – that was after I learn up on their historical past, and a hook was anchored in my thoughts that this was a watchmaker to get critical about in some unspecified time in the future. It was truly watching Richard Habring’s lecture at HSNY (a yr later than it was recorded, to my disgrace) that flipped the swap in my head from ‘will get in some unspecified time in the future’ to ‘should have it now’. And that’s after I acted, round December final yr.
What was it that triggered you a lot?
It was the aforementioned lecture that satisfied me that Richard and Maria Habring, the homeowners of the corporate, have been the actual deal – it was an sincere and interesting communication of a journey from begin to the current replete with unpatronizing technical particulars, and I took an actual liking to them.
After all, I additionally respect that there’s a really skilled and considerably well-known watchmaker on the helm, Richard, and the model is understood for producing problems like Break up-Seconds Chronographs for a fraction of the worth a lot of these items sometimes value (which I believe is their philosophy). And from all my analysis into the standard of their items, they don’t minimize corners. You’ve acquired to admire that.
Was it at all times this specific mannequin that stood out to you?
Ah, now that is the place there was a change from what I initially needed to the watch I lastly requested for. It was at all times their 38.5mm Chrono-Felix I needed, as I’ve an actual love of monopusher chronographs, and initially, I positioned an order for his or her ‘Panda dial’ Chrono-Felix, because it was the mannequin which acquired me at ‘hiya’. It needed to be a monopusher chronograph and one which was nonetheless comparatively slim, so there wasn’t the rest that had my coronary heart proper from the start.
However as a collector, I realised that the extra I checked out my assortment, it turned evident a black dial can be extra appropriate. Then, when wanting by means of their archives, I noticed it: the Japan Shellman version they made in a restricted sequence up to now. Was it attainable that I might have that dial on their extra trendy mannequin? After all, it was as a result of they’re ace.
I really like this mannequin each from a technical perspective and from an aesthetic one. Technically, Richard, as the principle watchmaker of the corporate, is a grasp of the chronograph, together with his historical past at IWC and his time constructing his personal choice beneath their identify together with Maria, who handles the enterprise/advertising and marketing/high quality facet, and little doubt has enter into the design. The variety of modifications they’ve needed to make to create their very own chronographs makes them very particular; up to now faraway from the unique plan of counting on ETA, which ended comparatively abruptly.
They’ve constructed up a community of suppliers and cast shut relationships that allowed them to proceed with their dream, which implies they’re what could possibly be termed a largely ‘horizontal’ manufacture (a mannequin nearly all of the business adopted till consolidation [or supply chain limitation] afforded alternatives for change [or necessity dictated!]), as with these specialised elements being made for them it permits them to make extra fashions per yr in Austria, quite than Richard making all of the elements himself (though he does need to craft some elements), in any other case it could vastly cut back the variety of fashions accessible per yr, and vastly improve the worth – which might in all probability go in opposition to their philosophy.
Aesthetically, the dial I selected has two of my favorite visible features: Breguet numerals and leaf palms. With the spiral tachymeter on the centre and telemeter on the periphery, all of it provides as much as a phenomenal homage to 1930s/1940s chronograph design.
And the place did you purchase it?
I purchased it from Stewart’s Watches in Leicester, the place the proprietor, Robert, helped me each step of the way in which. He’s had a relationship with Habring² for a number of years now, so I couldn’t have had a greater individual to speak to about what I needed.
Does your watch get a number of wrist time? If that’s the case, on what events, if not, why not?
I’ve solely had it a few weeks, so I’m within the honeymoon interval the place nothing else in my assortment will get a look-in. In the mean time there doesn’t must be an event: I put on it mechanically! And in the intervening time it’s my most exact watch, which I didn’t anticipate, however is testomony to Maria’s/Richard’s high quality management.
Do you ever get reactions (from household, pals, different collectors, strangers) if you happen to put on or present the watch? Inform us about these, please.
Everybody who has seen it has immediately preferred it. None of my pals or household is into watches like I’m, so it’s troublesome to convey how particular it’s on many ranges, however the dial and monopusher system universally delight.
Do you care to inform us what you paid for it?
Let’s simply say that it was slightly greater than the usual retail worth of the Chrono-Felix, and I used to be pleasantly stunned at how little. And I’ve completely no plans to promote it!
How would you describe your watch assortment up to now?
It’s reached a sure stage of maturity (a Vacheron, a Parmigiani, an Omega, and a Glashütte Authentic have come and gone), however a collector with extra avant-garde tastes could elevate an eyebrow at its lack of surprises, as there’s one thing of the ‘biggest hits’ to it – though my intention was to go for icons the place attainable. There’s a Rolex Sub 124060, a Lange & Söhne Saxonia Skinny, an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15500ST, a Breguet Classique 5157, a JLC Reverso giant Duoface, and a 1960s Rotary that belonged to my grandpa. The Habring² represents one thing completely new and indicators an intent on the route I imply to go over the following few years.
Are there any extra watches you want to purchase?
Yeah, I’m at all times telling myself, ‘THAT’S IT, GAVIN, NO MORE,’ however I’ve stated that earlier than every of the previous three watches I’ve added, so I’ll lock my superego away for the second and say that if fortune shines, it’ll in all probability be an uncomplicated high-level impartial piece that may signify the crown jewel of my assortment. The Grönefeld Principia in metal with salmon dial is my present obsession. When? Not this yr, that’s for certain.
Do you may have any ideas for different collectors who need the watch you possess?
I’ll provide you with a tip: don’t ask for one, don’t even attempt – I need to be the one proprietor of this specific mannequin in its bigger case measurement!
Significantly (ho ho), both ask your native retailer that shares Habring² (a uncommon factor, admittedly) or strategy Maria straight by means of the contact kind on their web site. There’s a motive I acquired to have this watch so easily – Maria is great at speaking with the client; you’ll at all times get a solution regardless that they should be very busy, and he or she exhibits understanding and endurance, which makes the method particular extra private.
It’s attainable this mannequin that was made for me might turn out to be both one other restricted run, or perhaps a customary choice sooner or later, however I couldn’t predict with any confidence if this actual dial might be accessible. They’re a preferred identify amongst watch fans now and make such small volumes yearly that there might be a wait, so check with my ultimate sentence beneath on endurance.
Do you may have normal ideas for individuals who need to begin amassing watches?
Learn all of the blogs, study all the things you’ll be able to. I’m not in contact with many different collectors but, however it’s one thing I totally intend to do quickly. A terrific supply for information of lore will be the archives on Timezone – Carlos Perez’s articles specifically; and if you happen to’re thinking about a specific watch, attempt to discover a video on YouTube of Tim Mosso from Watchbox overview it – the person is aware of all the things about watches and has a verbal IQ within the stratosphere. However if you happen to’re simply beginning out, it’ll take years to return near having a complete information of the manufacturers, their historical past, after which the complexities and artwork of the mechanical soul, so have endurance and revel in it each step of the way in which.
Be ready to make errors with sure watches you purchase early on. You’ll lose some cash promoting the items you jumped too shortly to get. And also you’ll promote these to get those you kidded your self you didn’t need. I believe I could also be projecting considerably, although!
And if you happen to determine you need one of many items on the market which can be laborious to get: love the chase. It’s a irritating feeling being informed you’ll be able to’t have one thing while you need it, however you’ll like it much more while you lastly get it.