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This Norwegian would collect watches

Category: Articles | Date: July 10, 2017

Learn more about Geckota's newest brand ambassador Morten Paulson - an experienced underwater ROV operator and watch addict.

Originally trained in electronic engineering and automation technology in his home city of Bergen, Norway, Morten has travelled widely working for organisations such as Schlumberger, Technocean and Oceaneering. As well as giving him the opportunity – and financial means – to indulge his watch passion, working on every continent bar Antarctica brought him close to commercial divers and every dive watch imaginable. Now we’re proud to welcome Morten into the Geckota family.

Over the years, during trips to Stavanger or Bergen, Morten Paulson probably pondered his challenging, varied career in subsea engineering. And how, growing up a technically minded ‘typical Lego kid’ Bergenser on Norway’s coast, with its concentration of subsea industry, his career may have been inevitable.

Such journeys are tame compared to his globe-circling to assignments in places including South East Asia, the Americas and the North Sea. Assignments where, since 2004, he’s been a fibre optic technician, field engineer and ROV supervisor.

Watch adverts at Geneva airport

About ‘the watch thing’, Morten says family visits to relatives in Lausanne started it – and his love for the Switzerland where history and horlogerie are intertwined. ‘I recall marvelling at watch adverts in Geneva airport.’

A twentieth-birthday gift, a quartz watch from the Inex jewellery chain, fuelled his interest: ‘I was fascinated by its ‘complicated’ appearance, the end-link strap system and how it wasn’t flat. As with anything technical, I loved it. It was the first of, probably, more than 150 watches that I’ve owned.’

Years working with commercial divers

Around then, while training as a mechanic, Morten’s passion for cars began with an old Opel Rekord – the first of ‘about 50 cars’ he’s owned.

As with watches, the figure is vague. As his watch collection has progressed, so it’s been with cars. His favourite? Probably the 660 bhp Porsche 996 that he’s raced in Norway and occasionally at circuits like the Nurburgring (recording respectable sub-nine-minute laps of the Nordschleife too).

Having owned so many watches, ranging from affordables to Haute Horlogerie, Morten is well qualified to comment on Geckota’s preferred market. Added to his watch ownership, years with commercial divers, exposed to their culture and lore, makes Morten a credible commentator. It explains his thoughtful, informed opinions too – on anything from Rolex Subs to Geckota’s ZD1 (‘…a proper dive watch…tough and water resistant…’).

Diving, danger and luxury watches

Years in this world, where danger, adventure and luxury watches mix, gave Morten enviable knowledge and exposure to dive watches in their natural environment. For decades, since North Sea oil first flowed, the field of subsea engineering has always attracted adventure-hungry young men to work on danger’s edge, earn good money and enjoy spending it – often starting with a Rolex and a Porsche!

From experience, Morten knows long periods at work earn big bucks but present limited spending opportunities. Thus, like so many of his colleagues, hours in airport transit lounges gave ample opportunity to browse watch stores. ‘I’d always bring watches back,’ he explains.’

Now, settled in Oslo, Morten’s wandering is over, but his watch collection remains – albeit constrained by what will fit in his watch boxes.

An accidental brand ambassador

Morten became a Geckota brand ambassador almost accidentally – not by being solicited. ‘My interest in Geckota came by discovering them online, liking what I saw and being impressed when I bought some.’

A January 2017 visit to Geckota cemented the relationship and the brand ambassadorship followed.

‘I’m really impressed,’ he says. ‘If anything, I was initially cautious because the prices seemed too low. Later, I discovered the company, experienced the product and understood the quality and value. I like the respectful thought behind their products, what bargains they are, their ‘good ethic’ and their sensible mark-ups. I honestly believe the current and planned watches could sell for twice their actual retail price.’

Wearing a favourite Seiko Marinemaster (others include an Oris Carl Brashear, Hamiltons, Glashütte Originals and his Geckotas), Morten surveys current and planned Geckota dive watches while on a recent visit to Geckota HQ.

Profound observations on watches

The talk is laden with wisdom such as Morten’s profound observation about Omega’s Seamaster 300 Professional (‘nice watch, but, unlike the Planet Ocean, not a serious diver because of the bezel’). On Rolex’s Submariner: ‘I think the dial’s too small to see clearly through commercial divers’ masks’ segues into tales of saturation divers unscrewing Subs’ crowns to release helium during decompression (‘not ideal near salt water’). Then come tales of losing a Rolex SeaDweller on the seabed – and finding it later. How many people do you know with similar experience?

Morten rates Geckota’s ZD1 (see his Instagram) and is positive about the forthcoming divers – though seeing them, not disparagingly, as great for ‘desk’ and recreational divers rather than out-and-out commercial use.

People listen when Morten speaks

Morten Paulson knows what he’s talking about and people listen when he discusses anything from Seiko SKXs to Blancpains. He also knows how the limitations of some ultra-expensive watches are fatally exposed in the subsea world. And that watches costing a fraction of luxury models can punch above their weight.

He’s impressed by Geckota’s combination of looks, price, quality and specifications including decent water resistance; sapphire crystals; screw-down crowns; large, clear dials and excellent lume. In his experienced mind, talk of selling new Geckota divers at their reasonable prices, sounds compelling.

Another capable Geckota diver

The ZD1’s a serious diver,’ he pronounces. ‘The 500 m K3 is a chunky, capable desk diver that should appeal to Breitling Heritage Edition fans. And the D1 promises to be another excellent Geckota diver, perhaps closer to the dressier end of dive watches with its lower 300 m rating.’

Could the D1 be a potential Seamaster 300 slayer for a fraction of the Omega’s RRP? It’s certainly (sea) food for thought.

We’re thrilled that he’s joined the Geckota family

Morten works closer to home now, but he’s come far since his Bergen childhood, first car and Inex watch. Meanwhile, his watch passion and enthusiasm for Geckota continues.

As a brand ambassador, Morten regularly shares his enthusiasm with others. His knowledge, passion and experience also makes him a valuable advisor during marketing and product development. We’re thrilled that he’s joined the Geckota family.

Morten Paulson lives in Oslo with his wife, children, two dogs and as many watches as Mrs P allows… follow him on Instagram at @pylsogram

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