Episode #4: The man looking to change the way we sell and buy watches!
Adrian Hailwood has been a very busy man of late, what with the launch of his new venture, watchcollecting.com in 2020 and the first auction having taken place in March 2021. Luckily for us though, Adrian set aside some time for a chat so we could find out what makes him tick!
Adrian is a seasoned pro with over 25 years in the industry and is well-known as a writer, speaker, journalist and watch valuer. His breadth of knowledge is vast, having worked for many big-name brands before venturing out as an independent.
We couldn't run this series without chatting with Adrian, so here we go!
1. Let’s start with something everyone is always interested in, what’s on your wrist at the time of writing this?
Omega Aqua-Terra 2503.33. This was my 40th birthday present from my wife and is my ‘Go Anywhere, Do Anything’ watch. You can swim with it, dress it up, put it on a bracelet (current), alligator, military nylon or Perlon. Being one of the first co-axials it’s probably the closest I’ll get to owning a Daniels creation.
2. What was the first watch you remember that left an impact on you?
A silver Dent pocket watch that I was given ‘not working’ around the age of 10. Gleefully took it to bits – was only 30yrs later that I put it back together and made it work.
3. How did you start working in and around watches?
In 1992 I took a job working for Cartier. I immediately knew that it was watches rather than jewellery that were 'my thing'.
Finish the following sentences:
4. The best-kept secret in watches is….
It’s all supposed to be fun…
5. The one watch that got away from me was…
A Smith Astral Diver about seven years ago when £600 seemed too much – now sellers are asking (not necessarily getting) circa £2,400.
6. If I wasn’t in watches, I’d be working in…
Probably a detective – I love a mystery and a bit of research.
7. What is one thing you think is missing from the watch industry today?
Open-mindedness from buyers. Every year they clamour for a watch that is genuinely new or different and when it arrives they just say ‘meh’ and buy something with a coronet at 12.
8. Tell us about one watch that took your breath away recently?
anOrdain’s new fumé dials. It’s hard to be breath-taking with a 3-hander under £2,000 but their new dials are mesmerising. It’s the kind of thing you would keep looking at and still not register what time it was… absolutely beautiful. It’s not fumé in the classic, smoky sense but more ‘glowing with an inner light’.
9. What is your most prized possession in your collection?
I have several that I wouldn’t part with because I would probably never replace them at any money, but if I had to save one from the flames it would be my steel JLC Reverso 270.8.62 Grand Taille. Wanted one for years – bought it and it didn’t disappoint.
10. Date or no date?
Both have their place but if I had to choose – no date.
11. What was your most recent watch purchase?
A Seiko 6602 for parts. I have another 6602-8050 with the most amazing dial patina (water damage), something between Damascus steel and oil reflections. Sadly it had broken balance pivots…
12. And the next watch you’ll be adding to your collection?
Hopefully a Schofield Daymark – it’s been a while in the planning.
13. What is something you feel passionate about in the world of watches?
The social context– the ‘why’ that sits alongside the ‘what’ in the history of watch development. That and getting past ‘marketing’ to the truth, which may be messier but is far more interesting.
14. What is one piece of advice for people out there looking to make it in the world of horology and watches?
There are lots of opinions but no one knows everything, even the brands. Keep reading and listening. Every day is a school day.
15. What is something in your watch world that you’re excited about at the moment?
Watchcollecting.com - it’s pretty much what I live and breathe at the moment, offering the absolute best value and service to buyers and sellers.
Keep up to date with everything Adrian Hailwood by checking out his website. We'd like to take this moment to thank Adrian for his time and for featuring on 15 Questions With.