Telling Time: Joshua

Joshua’s Grail watch. The Rolex GMT Master II with meteorite dial. Source: Rolex

Q: Who are you? Where are you from? Where do you live? What do you do for a living?

A: My name is Joshua! I originally hail from Boston, but recently relocated to the Bay Area, where I work in a variety of industries, spanning healthcare analytics, web/e-commerce development, and product design.

Q: How did you first get into watches? What interests you about watches?

My interest actually started with horology more generally, rather than watches specifically. I remember fiddling with my grandparent’s mantle clock every time I visited them in my youth, for instance. I was also the one to wind and set the grandfather clock at home growing up, as I enjoyed doing so. Later in life, I was fortunate enough to be gifted a pocket watch that had been handed down in the family. I even made a point in my first visit to London to visit the Royal Greenwich Observatory for the day (and can highly recommend it!).

That interest only recently crossed over into watches specifically. I bought my first watch — an Apple Watch — while in college, and some years later took the opportunity to pick up a ‘nice’ watch in celebration of hitting a milestone for a business of mine. I expected the watch to be a ‘special occasions only’ accessory, but I quite liked it, and found myself wearing it every day. I’ve since picked up a few more watches!

Q: Do you collect? If you could make a collection, what are 3 must-haves at any price point?

It’s funny; I don’t see myself as a collector, but how many watches does it take before it’s a collection? I wonder what others would say.

Right now, I have six of the ten slots in my watch box filled, and my goal is to never exceed ten, instead adding or swapping watches until I am content with my selection for the long haul.

If I could have any three watches, though? They would probably be the following:

* The Rolex GMT-Master II in white gold with meteorite dial — For me, this is without question the best manifestation of Rolex’s best professional watch. It is easily my ‘grail watch’ and I consider it almost perfect for what it is.

* The Rolex Day Date in rose gold with olive dial — I was a sucker for green dials before they were cool, and this watch has one of the best, paired with a complimentary copper hue comprising one of the best bracelets and case designs in the business.

* The A. Lange & Sohne Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar — in particular the Handwerkskunst special edition. Seriously, look it up — it is simply unbelievable in its design, detail, and complication. It feels like it shouldn’t exist, or at least, that it should only exist behind a few layers of bulletproof glass in a Genevan museum.

Q: If you had to sell all of your watches and just keep one, which one is it and why?

I’m surprising myself by saying it, but probably my Rolex Explorer. It’s my newest watch, and the 36mm size makes it delightfully easy and comfortable to wear and (especially) travel with. The dial on the Explorer is also, in my view, nearly perfect for a three-handed watch. It is almost never inappropriate to wear.

Joshua’s Rolex Explorer 36mm dial. Source: Rolex

Q: What is a watch you would love to see in real life? (real or imaginary)

Probably the aforementioned Lange. I mean, look it up, if you haven’t yet. It’s just ridiculous.

Q: When you are looking at watches, what is one thing that stands out about a watch?

Having done product design myself (in other industries), I’ve developed a habit of analyzing creations by asking what decisions I think were made by the creator that ultimately led to its design. There are obvious considerations like color or shape or features, of course, but there are also more subtle ones like the use of spacing, the manufacturing capabilities available, and the intended experience in use.

Ultimately, all watches deliver upon the basic promise of telling you the time, but when you consider everything from design and heritage, to construction and craft, to the tastes of customers and markets… there are endless permutations that are ultimately an interplay of design choices by watchmakers and the constraints those choices must be made within. The interaction of those is simply fascinating to me, particularly for the more prolific references that have endured and evolved over time.

Q: Watch Stories — How did you get it? Why is it special? What memories are tied to it?

My first ‘nice’ watch is easily the most special to me — it is a Rolex GMT-Master II, with black ceramic bezel. I purchased it in celebration of a sales milestone for a side-hustle, and it was bought after considerable research, as the world of luxury watches was still new to me. I selected it because of my affinity for travel and my need to work across time zones (particularly, SE Asia and the US), which made a GMT complication the most useful.

When I wear it today, I am reminded of the early days of that venture, as well as all the trips I’ve had the good fortune to take over my lifetime. Particularly during the pandemic, that was a great reminder to carry with me day-to-day, and a source of some optimism during a crappy time for everyone.

Q: What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? What is one piece of advice you would give someone?

About watches? To try what you like, but buy what you love.

About anything? To aspire towards confident humility.

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Bridging the gap between digital and physical collecting

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Bridging the gap between digital and physical collecting

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