Time is Money: @NYCWatchGuy Clocks In to Talk Daytona
Tomorrow at 12 PM EST, Rally is set to IPO a '1993 Rolex Zenith Daytona "Inverted 6"'. The financials:
> Market Cap: $42,000
> Price Per Share: $21.00
> Total Shares: 2,000
We caught up with @NYCWatchGuy to discuss what he looks for in a watch and get his take on tomorrow's IPO.
1. 33K followers on IG. Tell us about @NYCWatchGuy and your journey to get to this point.
I bought my first mechanical watch back in 2011, a few years out of college. I had no money, and spending $3,000 on a Zenith El Primeo seemed insane to me. I knew almost nothing about watches at the time, other than the fact that the idea of a mechanical time-keeping device on my wrist was the coolest thing in the world. I wore that watch every day for 2 years and was happy as a clam. Funny thing is, I never meant to have a watch account. I only started this account because working in tech, I got some unsavory comments from people when I posted watches on my personal IG, so I created a separate account to share my passion with the community. Then I started making watch memes to poke fun at the industry, and that’s when I really started to make some noise. We’re at the point where I’ve had random people stop me on the street and say “aren’t you NYCWatchGuy?”, so I guess, Mama I made it!?
2. Tell us about your passion for watches. What’s in your collection? What do you look for in a watch?
I’ve always been obsessed with gadgets - as a kid, I was always the person taking things apart and trying to figure out how they worked, usually breaking them in the process and not being able to put them back together, much to the chagrin of my parents. The one thing I was absolutely obsessed with was a Casio calculator watch, but couldn’t afford one. Even when I bought my first mechanical watch, the Zenith I referenced earlier, it was just the one nice watch that every guy should own to me. About 2 years later, I spotted an A Lange Sohne Lange 1 in the window of a store in my hotel in Istanbul, and it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Went back to my room to Google it, and ended up going down a rabbit hole of blogs and forums. Before I knew it, I was hooked. I’ve made a lot of mistakes over the years and bought everything from unique pieces at auction to chronographs from the 1940’s. Today, I’d say I’ve gotten a lot more picky. I tend to focus on independent modern watches, where the watchmakers have a story, and are making really funky stuff. MB&F is probably one of my favorite brands - there’s almost nothing they make that doesn’t make you smile when you see it, because it’s so outrageous. I want the watches made by a guy who is making 30 pieces a year, and is looking at this as a piece of art, not the mass produced product that there are 10,000 examples of.
3. When’s the right time to insure your collection? Who do you use?
I didn’t think about insurance until my collection had gotten way out of control. The reality is, I should have gotten insurance once I had about $40-50K in watches. By the time I decided to do it, the risk was so high, most insurance companies wouldn’t take me on, and those that would, wanted me to go get an appraisal, which is just too much work. That’s one of the reasons I helped to create an insurance company called WAX. It’s a mobile app that lets you take a picture of your collectibles (watches, trading cards, jewelry, art, etc), WAX helps value the items, and then gets you insured.
4. I want to start a watch collection. Where do I start? What resources do I use?
The first thing to do is figure out what you like. While you can read a bunch of the blogs and forums, you really need to put a watch on your wrist to see how it feels. There are many watches that I’ve bought off an internet picture, only to realize that it doesn’t look quite the way I thought it would. You should collect watches because you love them. If some of them happen to go up in value, that’s great. If you’re buying them just to make money, you should treat it as a business, not as a hobby.
5. What’s one “under the radar” watch you absolutely love?
Every 2 years, there’s an auction called Only Watch where 50 brands donate one unique watch that they have each created, with all the proceeds going to Muscular Dystrophy research. Last year’s auction was held in Geneva, and they set a record for the most expensive wristwatch ever sold, with a Patek Philippe going for $30M+. Yet it was lot #1 that I was absolutely salivating over, as this unique piece had a dial that was mesmerizing. It’s made by a company called Gronefeld - 2 brothers based in the Netherlands that make sublime watches. Luckily I was able to win this one-of-a-kind watch, and it’s very special to me.
6. Let’s talk about the 1993 Rolex Zenith Daytona “Inverted 6” upcoming IPO on Rally. What makes this watch special?
The 1993 Daytona, while not exactly vintage, is somewhere between true vintage and true modern watches. There are several things to note about this watch. The first is under the hood, these Rolexes used Zenith movements. It was only a few years later that Rolex ended up bringing almost all aspects of their watchmaking in-house and becoming fully vertically integrated. Until then, many Rolex parts were manufactured by other companies. While generally speaking, an in-house movement is considered to be far more valuable to a watch / brand, because of the history of Rolex, these Daytona’s that house a Zenith movement are considered especially collectable. The next thing is that the “6” looks inverted on the sub dial because of how it was printed, and so it could be mistaken as a “9”. These are the types of little idiosyncratic things that collectors catch on to. You’ll also see that instead of regular indices, this watch has diamond studs. Finally, the entire watch is housed in a yellow gold case with a yellow gold bracelet. These days, steel is the most desirable metal for sport watches, and will often sell for more than a gold watch. Would I want to own shares in it? I’d say the price is pretty much fair market value and there’s basically no reason to believe Daytona’s won’t continue to appreciate in value, so it’s a pretty safe bet.
7. What’s your favorite watch listed on Rally to date and why?
Without a doubt the Omega Speedmaster Silver Award Snoopy. This is a limited edition watch that came out a couple of years ago. I think retail was about $6,500, and they couldn’t give them away. Then all of a sudden, it became a cult classic. I don’t think Omega ended up delivering the full series due to the amount of difficulty in the enamel work on the case back. The lume on this watch is amazing, and overall it’s such a fun watch. I unfortunately ended up paying many multiples of retail price for this watch when I finally got one, and it was really cool to see that this seemingly entry-level watch could reach the point where it’s seen as an investable asset.
Honestly none of them are really my style, but I’d wear the Tornek Rayville purely by a process of elimination, invest in the Daytona and flip the Stella.
Thank you, @NYCWatchGuy! For early access to WAX Insurance, use code ALTAN1.
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