It’s also important to acknowledge that, even just a few years prior, few if any collectors were looking at vintage Audemars Piguet, therefore the prices represented relatively good value for money. In fact, it felt like collectors were consciously avoiding the genre. “Why aren’t these octagonal?”; “Will they even retain any value?”; “Where are the blue dials?”. The aura of understatement that permeated these watches really drew me in, and that in turn led me to all sorts of interested in-period discoveries: star wheels, shape cases, unconventional time displays…
Did the fact that other people were so dismissive of this style encourage your interest at all?
In a way, yes, but not so much out of the desire to appear controversial or different. It was because during the nascent years of my collecting, resources were most definitely not unlimited [laughs]. There are things in watch collecting that are a given: if, for example, everybody is looking into a single reference or model, that widespread interest is going to be reflected in the watch’s price.
So, if anything, it was the pursuit for value that originally drew me to vintage Audemars Piguet. I never had any grand designs about making it my ‘niche’. I simply thought: “Wow, a perpetual calendar from one of the most prestigious brands, with the same movement that is still in use today. And they didn’t even make that many of them!”