This interview is with George Clarkson. He is a hobbyist watchmaker from Germany and recently started a webshop, Only Vintage Watches. This is a young company where you can find vintage watches for a decent prize and with an honest description. They are collectors themselves and only offer what they would like to add to their collection themselves.
How did your love for vintage watches come to be?
It all began some years ago, removing from a dusty drawer the Seiko 7A34-7010 gold plated watch that belonged to my late father. I had previously tried to put it back to work changing the battery, but apparently, the years of use and probably some unwanted received shock had caused more damage than what could be seen. I then started looking online for a possible solution, or a how-to to restore the watch and I found a forum dedicated just to this brand and series of watches. Who might have known…
How is your collection made up?
I’m mainly collecting chronographs, both quartz (but only Seiko from the 80’s and 90’s) and mechanic, which I like to buy in pitiful conditions to restore.
Currently, what is the watch you love to wear the most?
It’s a vintage Landeron 248 based chronograph by the French manufacturer HEMA. I bought this working but in need to be serviced, and it was a joy to do so.
What is your vintage watch top 3?
Hard to say! There are many watches out there. If I had the money, I would definitively buy a Vintage Patek Philippe Split Chronograph in Steel, the Omega Speedmaster ref. CK 2915 with Calibre 321 from 1957 or 1958, and finally any vintage chronograph with a Valjoux movement (you can dream can’t you?)
What is your grail watch?
I don’t have a grail watch per se. I love chronographs, so the best quality chronograph I could put my hands on, would be the grail watch (at least for that moment). There is though, if I may be honest, a watch that intrigues me and make me say “wow” all the time. The Patek Philippe 1518 in Stainless Steel.
What is the watch that is now on the wishlist but you’ll eventually own it?
I hope to put my hands on an Omega Speedmaster very soon. Of course a vintage one!
If you’d start over, what would you do differently?
I would have invested in a proper watchmaking course. I researched online and there are not so many options. Here in Germany, watchmaking is considered a dying art. There are obviously schools, but either they are too expensive or… they are too expensive.
What is the next brand that will go through the roof price wise?
I don’t have the slightest idea since I don’t follow the market of modern watches. If we’re still talking vintage, then I guess Omega is a good candidate. But then again, there are many more brands out there that are already collecting serious money on vintage pieces.
Do you have any tips for starting collectors?
I’d say: read, inform yourself, read again, and focus on one brand/model. Learn all there is to know about it. Collecting watches is a full-time job.