Interview with Matthias De Pauw
This time I’d like to introduce Matthias.
Matthias is an elementary school teacher who started to intensively collect watches about 4 years ago.
He’s the co-administrator of the ‘Horlogefreaks’ Facebook group and he’s also very active in several other Facebook groups and on forums as well.
How did your love for vintage watches come to be?
I’ve always been somewhat of a collector since I was little.
I was fascinated with all kinds of items, knives, stones, old stuff from the basement etc.
During my youth, I had a few “normal” watches, like a Pontiac quartz, a G-shock (because everybody had one at the time ) and later, my first Tissot Couturier quartz which I got from my girlfriend.
My first step into vintage watches was an old English pocket watch I bought (It was a sterling silver fusee watch from around 1880). I tried to wear it, but it stopped all the time.
When I was about 24 years old, I switched to collecting vintage wristwatches.
I started reading about the Speedmaster and decided one day I had to own one.
Since then, things just escalated very quickly.
How is your collection made up?
I like different types of watches.
I’m not a collector who only collects dress watches, or dive watches, or watches that all have the same style. I’m more of an all around guy.
I’ve got dive watches, chronographs from the 30s-70s, dress watches, military watches.
I appreciate different watches from different time periods and different brands. That varies from a 1913 Hebdomas 8 days pilot watch to a chunky 70s Omega Ploprof.
I never really ‘look’ for a specific watch. All watches in my collection were found and bought locally (Belgium and the Netherlands).
I always see and wait which watches will cross my path.
Currently, what is the watch you love to wear the most?
I’m a sucker for the Speedmaster. To me, it’s the perfect watch.
Most of the time, I wear my 1989 20th anniversary Speedy, limited to 250 copies for the German market.
It’s a fabulous watch because you can wear that thing with every outfit or bracelet and it never lets you down.
What is your vintage watch top 3?
This is a very hard question. A question which I asked myself a couple of times before and failed to answer it every time.
If I really have to choose a top 3 then it would be the Omega Speedmaster Professional from the 1960s, Omega Ploprof from the 1970s and a 1960s Rolex Submariner.
What is your grail watch?
My true grail watch is the very first Speedmaster, the ref 2915, but that’ll probably remain a dream.
But who knows, maybe I get lucky one day, fingers crossed!
What is the watch that is now on the wishlist but you will eventually own it?
That’ll be the 1960 Rolex sub. The last one of my top 3.
I’m not really looking for it, but if it crosses my path and I can make a good trade or something like that, I might pull the trigger on it.
It’s an iconic watch, just like the Speedmaster and the Ploprof.
But you know what they say: the hunt is better than the catch, so I’m very happy with what I have at the moment and I simply enjoy my watches.
If you would start over, what would you do differently?
This might sound weird, but I wouldn’t change 1 thing.
I’ve sold lots of watches from my collection, but every time I sold something, something better came in its place.
I’m not in the position that I can keep every watch I buy for the rest of my life.
I’ve bought watches, enjoyed them and sold them again. I’m happy with where I’m now after 5 years of collecting.
What is the next brand that will go through the roof price wise?
Well, we’ve seen the vintage watch market boom in the last few years.
Apart from Rolex (which has proven to be a good investment over the years), it’s especially the 1960s and early 1970s chronographs and divers from the bigger brands including Heuer, Omega, Breitling etc. that are doing great.
I think collectors are now on the lookout for the older chronographs; 1940s-1950s chronographs and triple date chronographs with Valjoux column wheel movements.
These can sometimes still be picked up for a “reasonable price”, but that has already started to change!
Also, Yema and Lip (the French brands) are becoming very popular, because they’re still affordable and good value for money.
Military watches are also very hot these days and continue to rise in price.
Personally, I think the watch market will evolve in a positive way. A lot of new, young collectors join our ranks and are very passionate about watches.
Lots of websites, forums, Instagram and Facebook groups are available and they keep attracting more and more members.
Do you have any tips for starting collectors?
The vintage watch market is very tricky.
Use the info available and do your research before buying a vintage watch.
There is no shame in asking questions to more experienced collectors. It’ll save you money.
You can’t create your “dream collection” in a few months, not even in a few years. It takes time because you have to build towards it and that is the fun part!
Follow Matthias on Instagram by clicking the photo below.