One of the special pleasures of this watch collecting hobby is that, every once in a while, we get to actually meet the wonderful people that we chat with all the time, by e-mail, on discussion forums, through Twitter and Facebook, and by telephone. Over the years, one of my favorite “pen pals” has been Ken Jacobs, the owner of Wanna Buy A Watch, a watch store in Los Angeles. Based on his selection of watches, I can say that Ken and I have the same eye for watches. Over the years, I have bought several watches from Ken, gotten some good advice from him, and enjoyed all our conversations. In addition to having a great “eye”, I have always found Ken to have good integrity. When he describes a watch and answers your questions about it, you will know what you are buying.
Ken sent me a message a few weeks saying that he would be visiting Atlanta, and we decided that we would get together for lunch. I promised Ken that I would bring a few Heuers for “show and tell”, and he asked whether there were any particular watches that I might like to see, from his store.
Shown above are the watches that I brought along . . . Going across the top row, we have (a) an 18 karat gold automatic Carrera, Reference 1158 CHN; (b) a black PVD Monaco, Reference 74033N; (c) a first execution Autavia, Reference 2446, and (d) a Chronomatic Monaco, of the “Paintless Wonder” variety. Across the bottom, we see (a) a white-on-black Carrera 12, Reference 2447 SN, (b) an early Abercrombie & Fitch Seafarer (Reference 346 case), (c) a black-on-white Carrera 12, Reference 2447 SN, (d) an Abercrombie & Fitch Seafarer (Reference 2447 case), and (e) a Chronomatic Autavia, Reference 1163 MH.
The black PVD Monaco occupies a special place in our relationship — a gentleman walked into Wanna Buy A Watch a few years ago, wanting to sell this watch. Ken was kind enough to call me immediately, and the watch was in my hands the very next day. Yes, it’s good to have relationships with guys like Ken!!
I asked Ken to bring one watch, which I might be interested in buying. Here’s how I described that watch to Ken. It should be a Rolex Submariner, from the mid-1960s (say, between 1964 and 1968), with no date. I wanted a good honest watch, but was not interested in any of the elements that tend to make the Submariners more collectible (and more expensive). In other words, I was not interested in having “meters first”, the “Bart Simpson” coronet, underlining in strange places, or any other special elements. All I wanted was a good old Submariner. In terms of the color, I told Ken that I like aged lume, that has turned to a cream or amber tone.
One reason that I wanted Ken to bring a Submariner to Atlanta was that I did not want to become an expert in these watches. Instead of studying the watches, and the market, and learning to detect the watches that have problems, I simply wanted to buy a Submariner from someone who I could trust. Sometimes it’s fun to become an expert; sometimes it’s more fun to trust an expert.
The watch that Ken brought along was a Reference 5513 Submariner, from 1966.
The second I saw the watch, I knew that I wanted it. The color of the lume is absolutely amazing . . . very consistent across the dial, with nicely matched hands. Everything appeared to be original. Yes, Ken knew exactly what I had in mind when I told him that I wanted a “good honest Submariner with warm lume.” Ken was also kind enough to leave the watch in Atlanta, so that I could wear the watch for a few days, before committing to buy it.
When we put the Submariner among the watches that I had brought, it seemed to fit right in. Yes, I have wanted a Submariner for a long time, and was happy that Ken chose this one for his visit to Atlanta.
Of course, we had a great time chatting about watches. After some many conversations over the years, it was great to actually meet. I am more convinced than ever that we do, in fact, have the same taste in watches, and it was good fun to swap stories. Of course, we recounted the story of the gentleman who walked into his store with the black PVD Monaco, moment by moment!!
It was great meeting Ken, and of course I will always remember the time when I said, “You wanna have lunch?” and Ken said, “Sure. You Wanna Buy a Watch?” It seems to have worked out well for both of us.
Here are a couple of additional photos of some of the watches that I took for Ken to see, and the Submariner that I took home, as a wonderful memento from our lunch.