MF: Why do you like vintage watches so much?
AVDM: I consider certain vintage watches as pieces of art, the result of design, development, and production executed by a team of artists in their own specific field. Such timepieces can be compared to the old master paintings of which we now know that also these were the result not of one master but of several apprentices who all contributed to the result.
When I saw top watchmakers in Schaffhausen overhauling a Minute Repeater or Grand Complication, I noticed many similarities with micro surgery in my profession. Such a watchmaker is a top surgeon and his patient is the watch. When it works again flawlessly, the family of the patient would say to the patient: “You look wonderful, you must have had a top surgeon.” The patient might answer: “I feel terrific, everything works fine.” But both the patient and the family have not seen the patient on the operating table, cut in pieces, and put together in a way only a top surgeon could do.
MF: Finally, can you offer words of advice to newer collectors?
AVDM: The most important advice: “Take your time!” It costs time to learn collecting. There is abundant literature on all watches also the ones just issued. Fortunately, this is not all heavy stuff or technical, dead boring data. The Collectors’ Forum is an excellent data base, but it remains difficult to find sometimes what one is searching for in the ‘archives’.
My second advice: Try to attend a collectors’ meeting, SIHH or local IWC event. But beware! Once affected by the IWC virus, you are lost!
MF: Thank you, Adrian, for your insights and words of wisdom.