Jarrod Gill is an enthusiastic collector of contemporary IWC watches and a frequent contributor to forum discussions. In this interview he tells about his travels, how his interest in IWC was born, how his collection has grown and where it might be heading.
MF = Michael Friedberg, IWC Collectors’ Forum moderator
JG = Jarrod Gill
MF: We don’t have many forum participants from New Zealand on the forum. I’m sure forum members would like to learn a bit more about you.
JG: I’m married to Steff and we are currently between cities. We sold our house and are traveling for the next 12 to 18 months. We did live in Auckland but will be relocating to Wellington, New Zealand.
I grew up on a farm in a small town in New Zealand called Te Kauwhata. Population of about 1000. I moved to Auckland in the early 1990's and ended up working in the car industry. Before I quit my job, I was the National Manager for a Lease Company. Basically my role was to oversee the retailing of ex-lease vehicles.
I met Steff when she came to work for the company for a brief period. We have been together nearly 13 years, married for nearly 4. No kids. We decided early on not to have children. We do have 4 cats though.
MF: Please tell us more about the world tour.
JG: Yes, we are currently travelling. In a nutshell, since the first day I met Steff she has wanted to live and work overseas for at least a year to experience a different country. Neither of us is getting any younger so it was a case of now or never. The timing was right for us so we quit our jobs, sold our house and basically hit the road.
Traveling is our thing; we both love it. And it was an opportunity we couldn't pass up. So basically we have just spent time in LA, London, Ghent, Brussels, and Dusseldorf with a two week cruise around Northern Europe thrown in. We have had to pop back to NZ for a few weeks unexpectedly but we will be heading to Toronto in a few weeks later.
The plan is to live and work in Toronto and use it as a base to travel for the next few months. We hope to see a lot of Canada and the United States while we are there. Basically we have the freedom to move around if we need to so we are not really sure where we will end up. But living in Toronto should be a great experience and we are really looking forward to it.
MF: When did you get first interested in watches?
JG: Steff and I have always traveled a lot since we have been together. We have spent a lot of time in airports with time to kill. I spent a lot of that time looking at watches. I remember it was at Dubai airport in 2004 when I first really started taking notice of wrist watches. That is how my interest started and it grew from there.
MF: And how did you first learn of IWC?
JG: I was walking past the Authorized Dealer on Queen Street in Auckland. I looked in the window and saw the Da Vinci that would eventually become my first IWC. I just loved it. Of all the watches I had seen over the years, this one was so different. I went in and they gave me the latest IWC catalog. I was hooked from that moment on.
MF: Which Da Vinci became your first IWC watch?
JG: The watch that first got me interested in IWC was the Da Vinci Chronograph Ceramic. (3766), which also ended up being my first purchase. I spent hours reading the catalog and looking at all the various models. But it was this one that I ended up purchasing. It is still my favorite watch in my collection today. There is nothing else like it. It is unique.
MF: What attracted you to that watch?
JG: The tonneau case, the materials used, the see through case back, the movement, the depth of the crystal, the details of the dial, the uniqueness of the piece. I'm a fan of Leonardo Da Vinci so once I read about the ideas and details behind the design of this watch it was a no brainer. Best watch buying decision I ever made. I am constantly banging on about how beautiful and under-rated the tonneau Da Vinci's are. Not sure if anyone listens but I'm not giving up.
The watch that first got me interested in IWC was the Da Vinci Chronograph Ceramic, (3766), which also ended up being my first purchase
MF: Since then your collection has grown tremendously. Could you tell us about how it expanded?
JG: Once I had my first IWC I thought that would be it. I didn't really think I would get bitten by the bug so badly. I think it was about a week later I went back in and the AD had the Vintage Collection Da Vinci on sale. I walked out with that one on my wrist. So my first two IWC's were both Da Vinci's.
I then started buying older IWC catalogs at that point and spent hours and hours just reading them over and over again. I decided I would like to get an IWC from each different line and I would be happy with that.
Well, it didn't really work out that way. I then picked up a JC Aquatimer followed closely by a Laureus edition Yacht Club. Then an Ingenieur Mission Earth. Then I got the idea that I would like to have all of the Vintage collection so I started to collect those. Then the CF3 popped up and I needed that. And a Big Pilot!
And if you are an IWC fan a Perpetual is something to aspire to. I therefore managed to convince Steff to let me get one of those too.
Part of the fun of traveling is finding old stock IWC's at dealers around the world. I recently picked up the Vintage Collection Portuguese which I am very pleased with. I am yet to buy a Portofino but I am sure it won't be far away. And I have an endless list of older IWC's that I will need to find second-hand. There isn't really a second hand watch market in NZ so I am looking forward to hunting down some of the ones on my list while we are in Toronto.
MF: What does Steff think of all this watch buying?
JG: I am very lucky in that regard, Steff is actually very supportive of my hobby. She is actually becoming quite a big watch fan herself. She recently got her third IWC (a Da Vinci) and she has her eye on a few others too. Not sure if that is a good thing or not?
MF: When you buy a watch, is there something is particular you look for?
JG: I usually know exactly what I want before I go shopping. I have only once turned up at a dealer and purchased a watch without going there specifically to buy a certain model. I spend so much time reading on the Net and in catalogs that I know what I want when the time comes.
I consider myself a modern IWC fan. I love the history and heritage of the brand but to me it's not the be all and end all when I am deciding on what I want next. Because IWC has so many lines and so many models that I wish to add to my collection, new and old, my list is huge. It's really just a matter of prioritizing which one I would like to add next.
MF: Has the IWC Collectors’ Forum helped you decide what you want to get next?
JG: To be honest, no. There are so many wildly varying opinions on the forum that you would probably go mad if you considered all the comments made when deciding what to purchase. I pretty much make up my own mind. I do use the forum for information and research.
But at the end of the day it's my money, my watch, my wrist. If I like it that's all that really matters to me. My LPP Big Pilot is not anti-magnetic and it has no "9". To me it's a beautiful watch that I absolutely love with a perfectly balanced dial. To some others it might be the decline of western civilization disguised as a watch!
MF: Any other thoughts on the Forum?
JG: I love the forum. Not hard to guess as I frequently post there. To me it is great fun, interesting and something I really enjoy. There is a lot of passion for IWC and not everyone agrees with their current direction. But at least people care.
I do think the forum needs modernizing. Posting photos needs to be simplified. If you post a thread it can disappear in a day and be lost which needs attention. I think there are a lot of simple things that could be done to make it more interactive and user friendly that wouldn't be expensive.
But I really enjoy the forum and I think it is very important to IWC collectors. I have met some really great people on the forum and that alone makes it a very worthwhile place to be.
MF: beyond the forum, you also attended SIHH this past January. What were your expectations? Were they met?
JG: I really didn't know what to expect at SIHH. I’m not a suit-and-tie person so the whole thing was a bit daunting. But I have to say, I loved every minute of it. It is just a fantastic experience.
And one thing that IWC excels at is looking after their clients. I felt a bit like a deer in the headlights to begin with but after getting to meet some of the fellow collectors I relaxed a bit. It was a real privilege to be invited and something I would recommend to anyone if they get the chance. It's not every day you get the chance to do something like that and IWC need to be congratulated for making the effort to include collectors.
MF: Do you have any plans for your next watch purchase?
JG: That depends. I still need the Portofino and Pilots’ watches to complete my Vintage Collection. But with the trip to Toronto on the horizon it could be any number of second hand IWCs that I have on my list. But also since we are going to Sydney in a week I may see something there I can't resist. I can't really answer this question actually. Who knows?
MF: One last question, that can be answered: what watch are you wearing today?
JG: Today I’m wearing my Laureus Da Vinci. A very, very special watch. Regulars on the forum know the story behind it. I love IWC's Da Vinci line. And this watch has a special history.
MF: Thank you so much for your time, your interest and your passion!
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