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Experiences

Nad Zakem

I love the message of a good brand

Text — Dirk Rheker Photos — Maurice Haas Date — 1 January, 2010

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—Eight years ago, Nad Zakem bought his first IWC. Since then, the Canadian has turned into an expert, and passionate collector

They really exist, those moments in the life of a man with the power to change everything: the first love, the birth of a child, the first million. Or that moment in Montreal at the jeweller’s shop on De la Montagne Street, Chateau d’Ivoire, when you first hold a watch made by IWC Schaffhausen in your hands. A GST Chrono-Automatic Reference 3707, to be more precise. And you just feel that something is joined that truly belongs together.

That was eight years ago – and Nad Zakem can still remember the precise moment with perfect clarity. “It was an aesthetic revelation: the beautiful dial, the distinct crown – simply overwhelming!” He’s been hooked ever since, an aficionado of chronometers “Made in Schaffhausen”. A passion that “my wife merely smiles upon regarding the less expensive models, while occasionally frowning over the even finer and more costly ones,” the Canadian admits with a grin. He never would have thought that his passion for luxury watches could be this consuming. “For 18 years I’d been wearing an Omega Constellation – a wedding gift from my wife – without ever giving it a second thought.”

Maybe the time had to be ripe. Maybe Nad Zakem was simply too busy with his company and his career. He and his two brothers have been successful with sports licensed apparel products: the family holds the marketing licences for the merchandising of professional sports leagues such as the Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League. “We can’t complain,” Nad Zakem comments with modest understatement on the business success of his clan, originally of Lebanese decent.

He’d much rather talk about watches, though. Right after buying his first IWC in Montreal he acquires the Pilot’s Watch Mark XV with a white dial. Interest becomes passion. He visits the factory in Schaffhausen and Kurt Klaus himself guides him through the workshops. He becomes engaged in Internet forums and deepens his knowledge of the company’s products and history. He’s not merely a collector, but a hunter as well – “Every time I can, I get my hands on a rare piece at auction or through a private sale.” The Internet fuels his passion. It is his marketplace, communications platform and has even helped him forge new friendships. “I love the camaraderie on the Net,” he candidly admits.

The Internet is also, how Nad Zakem found his Portuguese Automatic Reference 500107, in stainless steel with silver-plated dial and blue numerals – to this day one of his favourites. He tries to explain his fascination: “I love the message of a good brand, this distinctly masculine DNA the company has represented from the beginning. Every IWC exudes an aura of exclusivity; almost no other watch represents the certain quality of unobtrusive luxury that men are allowed to display.” Naturally, each new piece in his collection appeals to the sensualist in him – yet at the same time each IWC watch also provokes his rationality because “in the end, some of these watches also conserve their value and are a true investment in fine watchmaking.” Amid this equivocation of motives, he treasures one aspect above all: the uncompromising perfection that characterizes all products in the IWC family. “The company always holds true to its course: a clear-cut design, a consistent company policy, and always confident in its choice of style. These attributes help to foster desirability and brand loyalty.”

When, in 2005, he acquired a Big Pilot’s Watch, Reference 5002 in Hong Kong, he had long since become a “Lifestyle Collector”, one whose collecting interests are no longer determined by mere chance, but rather by deliberate strategy – “except when I occasion- ally become overwhelmed by a spontaneous passion,” he reveals with a smile. Like when he bought a Portuguese watch in platinum Reference. 2000, the first watch that pushed him “over a certain financial sound barrier”. And which presumably raised a frown on his wife’s brow…

One year later, he got hold of an Ingenieur Automatic watch, which he resold after a short time, “only to suffer from the pangs of separation and reacquire it again, only to sell it a second time.” In 2008, once again in Hong Kong, he found a ceramic Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph, Ref. 3799, in the limited edition produced for the jeweller, Carlson, and later a Portofino, from the IWC Vintage Collection, and a Pilot’s Watch UTC Edition Antoine de Saint Exupéry.

His favourite timepiece? Nad Zakem has to ponder this long and hard, because it’s one of the most dreaded questions for every serious collector. “Maybe it’s the Cal. 89 from 1954, the year of my birth,” he finally attempts an answer to the unanswerable, “a wonderful IWC watch with the legendary in-house caliber”.

It is this melange of sensual passion, focused on the aesthetics of the watch, and deliberate calculation that sets Nad Zakem apart as a collector. And which, naturally, has also been passed along to his four daughters. They have long realized the fashion statement an IWC watch makes on a woman’s wrist. Sure, he’ll let them borrow one of his prized collector’s watches for a special occasion every now and then, but he admits that he always does so with a hint of reservation. Of course, the ladies know quite well how to twist their dad around their little finger. They also know to never quite put the ultimate, agonizing ultimatum before him: either the watch or us.

Every IWC exudes an aura of exclusivity; almost no other watch represents the certain quality of unobtrusive luxury that men are allowed to display

—Nad Zakem

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IWC Portofino
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IWC’s renowned Portofino line reflects classic design in its simplicity.

IWC SCHAFFHAUSEN PAYS TRIBUTE TO SAINT-EXUPÉRY’S LAST FLIGHT

70 years ago, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry took off on a reconnaissance flight over France and never returned. Now, IWC Schaffhausen commemorates the last flight of the celebrated pilot and author with three special limited editions, thereby strengthening its long-standing partnership with Saint-Exupéry’s descendants.

Kurt Klaus
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Every watch tells a story – about its origin and age, personality and character, tradition and culture, and not least about its owner.

Aquatimer video Screenshot
IT'S AQUA TIME - The new aquatimer video

The evolution of the diver’s watches from IWC continues.

The Next Generation of IWC Engineers

For over 60 years, IWC has been training generations of watchmakers in its own workshops. Candidates need to be deft with their hands and have a flair for technology. After completing their training, most of them remain loyal to the company in northeastern Switzerland for many years.

Swiss National Day
Swiss National Day

Experience the secret talents of the IWC watchmakers.

The Time is Right

The parallels are endless: technology, innovation and cutting-edge design dominate both businesses, and they’re both defined by time. The MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One™ Team tries to beat the clock in FORMULA 1 motor racing; at IWC Schaffhausen, we are the clock.

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The sculptor-designer is a phenomenon. Even if you are not at all design literate you will know him by reputation. His name has become a synonym for severity.