Episode #15: The horological obession took over in 2016 and hasn't slowed down since...

I started my career in the watch industry listing watches and watch straps on the WatchGecko site back in 2016. My fondness for this quirky but dedicated industry has perpetually evolved ever since.

I’m passionate about telling stories of watches and the people who wear them through images and words. Hearts rule heads when purchasing a watch - there will be a compelling reason why you decide to strap the watch you’re wearing on your wrist right now.

Today it's my time to sit on the other side of this series and share with you my answers to our ’15 Questions With’. I hope you enjoy!

My Cartier Tank with Breguet numerals - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Let’s start with something everyone is always interested in, what’s on your wrist at the time of writing this?

Today I’m actually wearing my Cartier Tank with Breguet numerals on a reddish-brown alligator print watch strap. Although it might not seem it to those who have not worn or owned one, the Tank is actually surprisingly versatile. On this strap it’s elegance and dressy appearance is massively heightened, but on a black crocodile print strap it's ridiculously versatile.

What was the first watch you remember that left an impact on you?

I actually remember lots of watches having an impact on me. Some of the early watches I wore when I was very young impacted me a lot as I distinctly remember feeling like ‘a grown up’ when I wore them. However, the first watch that left an impact on me was actually an old Casio Waveceptor 4798 WVQ- 570 my Dad used to wear.

Horologically speaking it's nothing special of course. But for many years it was one of the main watches my Dad would wear regularly that I always noticed. In my head it was ‘Dad’s watch’ and he would use it all the time. I guess it was his beater watch (a phrase I don’t think was even invented back then) and so for me, it is one of the earlier memories of me seeing someone unapologetically using a watch to its full capacity.

I remember one day when my Dad was done with the watch, he offered it to me to see if I wanted it for my very infant watch collection. Despite the battle scar it wore on the crystal completely voiding any water resistance, Of course I said yes.

In fact, I wore it for a good few months when I first started at WatchGecko until I went on to pick up the Seiko SARB033.

It still sits proudly in my watch box.

How did you start working in and around watches?

Working for WatchGecko (Geckota Limited) was my entry into this industry back in 2016. I remember seeing a job listing for a watch company based just 15 minutes from where I lived. At the time I wouldn’t have said I was a ‘watch enthusiast’ like I am today, but I knew about watches and mens fashion more than most.

I thought more about this local business selling watches and watch straps online and then decided to apply for the job. Unfortunately, Jon got back to me within a few days to say he didn’t think I was right for the role.

However, he did encourage me to apply for another position that was being advertised in the company: E-Commerce Administrator. Taking that sort of response as a good sign, I went for it and a month later I found myself writing product descriptions, removing backgrounds from images and listing watch straps online.

Since then my role has evolved and adapted as our business has and I’ve worn many hats here. From communicating with suppliers, social media, marketing, order packing and photography; I've touched most aspects of the business! Eventually, I found myself becoming the go-to person in the company when it came to wordsmithing.

Now, over five years later, I spend my time writing about watches, promoting our products and putting pen to paper (or I guess nowadays it's fingers to keyboard?) for our websites.

I think it would be fair to call myself a watch enthusiast and collector...

Finish the following sentences:

The best-kept secret in watches is…

Independent watchmakers. In recent years following the auction success of brands such as FP Journe and Philippe Dufour, people are starting to take notice of haute horology independent watchmaking. Boy is there so much to discover.

Brands such as AkriviA, Czapek, Kari, JN Shapiro, Romain Gauthier, Grönefeld and Atelier De Chronométrie all create out of this world watches that wear their passion, craftsmanship and heart fully on their sleeve.

No commercial luxury watch feels quite the same as the Voutilainen 28PI, the AkriviA Chronomètre Contemporain or a Romain Gauthier Insight Micro-Rotor does on the wrist. They’re right on the cusp of being unexplainably special.

The one watch that got away from me was…

I guess every Rolex sports watch that I should have bought 5 years ago? Jokes aside, there aren’t many really. My time in the watch industry is still in its infancy but if I had to say one it would be a Daniel Roth from a few years ago.

I discovered and read up about his watches probably about 6-8 months before their prices began to explode and looking back, I passed on a lot of models for around £2,000 - £3,000 that today sell for around 5x that.

If I wasn’t in watches, I’d be working in…

Likely online marketing or content creation for another industry to some degree.

What is one thing you think is missing from the watch industry today?

A lower barrier to entry in every sense of the word. The obvious one to bring up is price points, however, I feel with the growth and success of fantastic microbrands (some of which I cover in more detail here) with some sensible shopping around, you can easily get your hands on a fantastic, well designed and built watch for a good price.

Real-life, relatable marketing coverage for content such as copy is more what I mean. There is only so much generic press release copy we humans need. Keep that to a limit and talk about watches in a way that puts relatability to your customer front and centre. IWC are an example of a brand I believe are doing a great job at this currently with their marketing push around their Big Pilot Roadshow and new billboards.

Make watch marketing educational and entertaining. Watches are complex things with a perceived level of knowledge required to understand and appreciate them. That is simply not the reality of watches.

Likewise, I’m over fake studio-style images of watches. Give me a shot in the real world, most likely on a wrist showing how the watch is interacting with the user and the surroundings. This way I can fully consume what it would be like to have the piece in my life. Chances are if I like the watch and the image, I’ll buy it.

Relatability is probably the most overlooked aspect of watch marketing.

Tell us about one watch that took your breath away recently?

Oh wow, just one?

First is the Atelier De Chronométrie AdC9 with a rotating enamel dial which depicts the milky way. At 37.5mm wide, this is a gorgeous looking watch that also seemingly offers endless wearability.

Next is a Philippe Dufour Simplicity worn and owned by the daughter of Philippe, Danièla Dufour. She recently celebrated receiving her certificate for becoming a qualified watchmaker which is a pretty special achievement. She is bound to have an incredible career in the industry ahead of her as she continues the Dufour legacy. Check it out here!

And one honourable mention goes to the Baltic Pulsometer Chronograph Monopusher for OnlyWatch with an original 1940s movement powering the piece. That’s pretty damn special in my eyes and I’m sure people will be pleasantly surprised at the final price this achieves.

What is your most prized possession in your collection?

Hmm, that's tricky. If I can relate it to the old scenario of ‘if you’re running out of a burning house which watch do you grab’ it would have to be the Submariner. It was a watch that inheritance helped purchase and was my first luxury watch. It felt like all roads of my watch collection lead up to this piece. It also was a watch that once it was on my wrist, helped me feel like I had properly ‘arrived’ in this industry.

In reality, it was all in my head, there is nothing special about spending a few thousand on a watch. But that emotional reaction was real enough for it to positively benefit my career.

Date or no date?

I’m a ‘less is more’ guy when it comes to watches so I’m saying no date. Although, I did get a date Sub and I do find them extremely useful...

What was your most recent watch purchase?

It was the Furlan Marri Chronograph that was launched via Kickstarter this year. We covered that watch right here on the Online Magazine and I fell in love with it as soon as it arrived.

Okay, that’s a lie as I’d already fallen in love with it beforehand thanks to its brilliant execution of those all important details and insightful chats with Andrea Furlan and Hamad Al Marri.

If you’re wondering, I went for the launch exclusive salmon dial - of course...

And the next watch you’ll be adding to your collection?

I’d love to add a Cartier Basculante 2390 but prices for those pieces have gone crazy in the past 10 months. People who know me will know my Cartier obsession in the past 18 months has spiralled out of control (see question 1) and the hunt for a mechanical Tank in proportions that suit my wrist size has led me to the 2390.

Unfortunately, I think the rest of the watch world came to the same realisation at the same time.

I have people on the hunt for a sensibly priced one for me and I regularly check the usual online shopping spots. I think I’m going to need some luck on my side.

What is something you feel passionate about in the world of watches?

It's super cliche but buy what you love. When you get into watches to the degree that we are, the level of self-expression they offer becomes even more important.

Don’t be afraid to love what you love even if it means you will get fewer likes on Instagram. It will make you a much more interesting person to talk to.

Instagram will tell you what watch to buy. Spoilers, yes the Black Bay is a great watch but there is so much more out there. Hunt out and discover different brands/models and prioritise seeking your own opinion on pieces before borrowing someone else’s.

Oh, and wearability, proportions and design beat whatever is powering the watch. That’s a very hot take, isn’t it?

What is one piece of advice for people out there looking to make it in the world of horology and watches?

Passion is great and most certainly needed, but there are tons of watch enthusiasts out there with that. Look to develop a skill that can add value to companies and the industry so your impact can be tangible. You need to live and breathe it, if not you won’t make any meaningful progress.

That and talk to people! In many ways, the watch industry is pretty small. Everyone knows everyone and you will be surprised how far you can get by reaching out. Send that person a DM over Instagram. Chances are you’ll be having a conversation with them in no time.

Jim Glickenhaus trying on the FORZO x Glickenhaus Edition - Image Credit: FORZO Watches

Tell us about something you’re working on that is really exciting?

Content for the Online Magazine! We’re focusing a lot more on guides recently and sharing our knowledge and experience gained from 10 years in the industry which has been a lot of fun. Readers seem to be enjoying it as well which is the main focus.

Other than that, FORZO! It's a new watch brand we’ve been working on for a handful of years with 2021 being the year all of our hard work as a company pays off. The watches will finally be on wrists around the world very soon. That’s an incredible feeling.

15 Questions With: Tim Vaux, WatchGecko Editor - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

If you'd like to see how other people answered our 15 Questions With, make sure you click here to check out their answers!