FRESH PRINCE OF BELGRAVIAUNITED KINGDOM
The Fresh Prince of Belgravia is a UK collector of vintage timepieces as well as a keen interest in collecting independant watchmaking brands. He gives us a little insight to why he collects.
– What is your name and/or the alias you would like to go by?
Fresh Prince of Belgravia
– What country are you based in?
– As a collector, what do you like to collect and what started your collection?
I bought a few different watches to begin with but really started to get interested in vintage watches upon receiving my Grandfathers Omega for an important birthday many years ago. The charm from a vintage watch just doesn’t exist in modern watches. From there I researched and began to buy vintage watches and found a real interest in 18th century horology, in particularly with Breguet, as well as vintage Rolex and Patek Philippe, generally anything from the mid 20th century. Today, my interest lies very much in independent watchmaking where I see the most innovation and true development and have begun to focus my collecting there. I have found watches that are finished by hand or that have interesting mechanisms, are what have captured my attention over the last couple of years. There is something very special when you can see a human touch that has gone into the anglage on a bridge or the guilloche on a dial. Something that is rare by it’s very nature of being handmade and not because of hype or artificially limiting stock is special to me.
– Could you further explain why you collect?
Most people outside of watches instantly jump to some notion of “showing off”, it really isn’t and I think a lot of people miss that point. Each day I could be wearing anything from a Swatch to a Rolex to an FP Journe. There is no vanity involved when wearing a plastic £80 Swatch to drinks after work. It’s about looking down at something on your wrist and it reminding you of someone in particular who may have gifted you the watch, a great night out with friends or perhaps the excitement of the day you finally got the call for a watch you had been waiting on for years. Even though the very essence of building a collection means you have more watches than you can actually wear, it really isn’t as materialistic as people may think. One of the main reasons I have continued to put as much time as I do into furthering my collection is the people I have met and friends I have made over the last decade or so. Many are now some of my closest friends and people who I wouldn’t have met if it weren’t for our mutual interest in watches and horology.
– Have you ever considered collecting something else other than what you already collect?
Every day! Historically I have not had a set rule for collecting but I have gravitated toward watches that I have always wanted to own. Now that I do, I am focusing on consolidating a little and buying only important and rare watches as I have begun to do over the last couple of years with a focus on specific dial configurations, certain movements and adding different case materials to my collection. I usually find myself getting excited over something and have learnt to wait a couple of days or weeks to see if I am still as excited as I was before buying something, usually it’s just a passing phase and I move on.
– As a collector, who would you say inspires you and why?
I wouldn’t say there is one specific person; I think copying someone else’s collection is too easy. You can usually tell quite quickly who is enthusiastic for the right reasons and has a genuine knowledge of horology and those people I tend to ask their insights. I have no qualms in admitting I don’t know everything so people who know more than me in the areas I am interested in I try and learn from.
– What’s your opinion on reselling items you have bought for your personal collection?
I don’t see any issues. Your taste and knowledge changes over time and inevitably you will make mistakes or move on to different areas of interest. I think I only have one watch today that I had 10 years ago so it is very much an ever evolving collection, I dare say some of what I own today I will not own in 10 years from now. With that said, I am really only trying to buy watches that I see myself keeping now.
– As a collector, have you inspired or convinced others to also start collecting?
I wouldn’t say I have started anyone off collecting however from meeting so many people over the years who were perhaps in the early stages of their collecting or building different areas of their collection, I have been and am always happy to lend any knowledge I have to help with specific references or areas. There have certainly been a few watches that I have encouraged people to buy after discussions we have had. It’s no coincidence that I have multiple friends who have the same watches as I do in my collection.
– And our final questions will be, will you ever stop collecting?