Episode #11: A Rolex authorised dealer shares what makes him tick!
You don't need us to sit here and tell you about how important Rolex is. They account for 1/4 of the whole Swiss watch industry, a simply mind-blowing statistic. A good friend of WatchGecko who is extremely familiar with this behemoth of a company is James Grant.
James manages Martin & Co in Cheltenham who just so happen to be an authorised dealer of Rolex. James has been working with Rolex across the country throughout his fascinating and unique time in the watch industry meaning he has built up quite the relationship with the brand. He is always a fantastic guy to sit down with and have a chat with 10-minute quickly becoming 45. A deep passion for watches and a vast experience are a part of his DNA; something which is becoming a bit of a running theme in this series.
Grab your favourite drink, put your feet up and enjoy!
Let’s start with something everyone is always interested in, what’s on your wrist at the time of writing this?
Of course! Right now it’s the Rolex GMT Master II BLNR on the Oyster bracelet (reference 116710BLNR). When we viewed this release at Baselworld I couldn't get over how great it looked, I then bought it for a big birthday seven years ago.
What was the first watch you remember that left an impact on you?
Well, I started in the watch industry in the 1980s which was an interesting time for watches. I remember Omega bringing out a space-age looking DeVille which I eventually bought for my 21st birthday. It had a rectangular case and a tapering bracelet with inlay gold down the edges; very flash and very, very 80s...
How did you start working in and around watches?
I actually initially started in art and design however I found I preferred working in metal so moving in jewellery and watches seemed a perfect fit for my career. My first job being at Ogden’s in Harrogate.
Finish the following sentences:
The best-kept secret in watches is…
that Prestons Timer Division and the distribution of Heuer watches (which became Tag Heuer) in the UK all came out of our basement in Bolton!
The one watch that got away from me was…
Oh, there are many! At Martin & Co we were the first retailer for Bremont in July 2007, at the time I deliberated over getting their first Bremont EP120 Limited Edition.
Unfortunately, I didn't pick one up for myself and have regretted it ever since. A great looking watch.
If I wasn’t in watches, I’d be working in…
Probably in sport or maybe around motorbikes.
What is one thing you think is missing from the watch industry today?
Definitely the parties! In the ’80s and 90s, the parties were amazing and a lot of fun. Although looking back at them now, maybe it's an age thing...
Tell us about one watch that took your breath away recently?
The Rolex Sky-Dweller in all its versions is pretty special, but in steel is a fantastic timepiece.
What is the most prized possession in your collection?
That would be My Dad’s gold watch which was given to him many years ago by a good friend called John Dyson. He had a jewellers in Leeds.
Date or no date?
It’s surprising how many times you check the date! So I'm saying date.
What was your most recent watch purchase?
A Tudor Black Bay! Although not one of the latest releases, I went for the very first Black Bay they released with the black bezel and the ETA movement. These are shooting up in value at the moment and are becoming hard to find.
And the next watch you’ll be adding to your collection?
Oh, there are so many! I'd definitely love to add a Geckota to the collection or one of the FORZO Glickenhaus Limited Edition models.
What is something you feel passionate about in the world of watches?
I'm passionate about getting younger people into watches and pushing for our industry to be seen as a viable career choice.
What is one piece of advice for people out there looking to make it in the world of horology and watches?
Educate yourself. Read up and speak to those in the industry. Everyone from wholesale to retail.
Tell us about something you’re working on that is really exciting?
At Martin & Co in Cheltenham, we're currently building a brand new workshop for our Rolex accredited watchmakers to a very high specification. The completion date for the project is in October so there is still work to be done!
We'd like to take this moment to thank James for his time and for featuring on 15 Questions With.
To hear more from James and what it takes to be a Rolex AD, be sure to check our podcast we did with him in 2020 'The Truth Behind Being An Authorised Rolex Dealer' right here!
If you'd like to visit James, make your way over to Martin & Co in Cheltenham where they not only stock Rolex but also Tudor, Tissot, Bremont and an ever-changing stock of pre-owned watches. Click here to head over to their website.