Life and Times of a Horolo-holic
Here at The Watch Review Site we would like to welcome our latest contributor to the team, Dieter Schanzer whose everyday life as a Chartered Surveyor led to an alter ego as a Timepiece Consultant. His enthusiasm and drive is surpassed only by his knowledge and love for watches, Hence we have named Dieter the Horolo-holic….
Hope you enjoy this series of articles by Dieter about the life and times of a worldwide timepiece consultant with a few reviews thrown in for good measure along the way.
Part1 The Begining – My Love of Watches Saved Me
Written By Dieter Schanzer
Have you ever sat in a meeting and let your mind wander and then suddenly…..wham!!…you look up and everyone around the ever so corporate table is staring intently at you for an answer…..normally, I would panic….but on one serendipitous occasion when this actually happened to me, I casually raised my left eyebrow ala Roger Moore, cocked my head to one side and looked longingly at the CEOs wrist….
“Beautiful Audemars Piguet”, I said…..
His face lit up and the course of the meeting tacked completely……
“I’m very impressed Dieter, very impressed……you like watches?” said the CEO
The remainder of the meeting (to my relief) was taken up by me and the once ever so corporate CEO talking Audemars, Parmigiani, Vacheron, Girard, Rolex, ETA vs in-house, whilst the remaining board members looked, well, bored.
My love of watches had saved me on that day twenty years ago.
I could never have imagined that also on that day a new parallel career as a broker of fine watches would find its’ way to me.
My life up until “that Audemars meeting”, as I now call it, was as a somewhat “maverick” Chartered Surveyor; exploring new territories where my expertise in corporate real estate strategy and Valuation techniques for lending security allowed me to travel extensively and advise mainly Banking Institutions as what to do and what not to do in terms of lending – they rarely listened.
However, it paid handsomely and allowed me to indulge in some beautiful watches……..In short, I quickly became aware that I really didn’t derive much intrinsic satisfaction from my day job as a Chartered Surveyor, so after “that” meeting I began telling Surveying Clients that what they really needed was “a watch like this or that”….and out would come a box or two of watches…..and that’s how I started a private brokerage for fine watches .
How I got Hooked on Timepieces
But it really all started in Dortmund Germany in July 1973 at the age of 7 when my Aunt gave me and my brother Kienzle watches each – mine had luminous minute markers and hands, an orange face (very 70’s!) – that watch absolutely fascinated me I would wear it in bed and stare at those illuminated hands until I fell to sleep……
Thereafter the first sight of Telly Savalas and his LED Hamilton and of course then there were the classic Pulsar PS1 and 2, now those really set my pulsar racing.
My father god bless him, also indulged in a square-faced 18k yellow gold serpentine bracelet black face Beuche Girod in 1977 which I thought was just beautiful as no doubt the thief did who stole it in 1985.
I also remember being “besotted” by a Raymond Weil in 1979 that was a tank shape, black face with two rows of vertical diamonds which was worn by a waiter in my Father’s restaurant…..it was “la passionata”…I was hooked.
Back to 2012… some watches, or should I say the people who wear without regard “any” watch, really depress me – almost always these are male.
What saddens me most is that I know of some £1m per year salaried Savile Row suited, Lobb shod, Hilditch & Key shirted city boys who will wear, well, a piece of crap on their wrist but as mentioned, the very finest of everything on the rest of their body!
Why do I find it so nauseating that some people “don’t care” about what watch they wear, it’s beyond me, beyond me, completely….but it shouldn’t be beyond me, as we all know, a person’s choice of timepiece truly reflects them as an individual – if they’re happy to wear a plastic-digital-mass-produced $5 watch with absolutely no personality (note the “no personality”), so be it……you can never convert “those” types into aficionados.
Women on the other hand, are much more in tune with wearing a “quality watch” and adore being told about the lasting appeal of a Cartier Tank or a Jaeger leCoultre Reverso….I sell a lot of watches to ladies.
One of my Little Adventures…
But getting back to awkward meetings, one of my first Client’s was an Uzbek gentleman not noted for his sense of humour ( by his “victims” shall we say as I later found out).
Imagine this, Tashkent, the middle of nowhere, a blacked out Mercedes arrives at my Hotel and out steps Mr Black (made up name) and a super model which I assume to be his significant other. I greet him with an outstretched hand and he doesn’t reciprocate, “fine” I thought. One of his (two) henchmen tells me to “sit” as we enter the lobby….Gulp…his beautiful Amazonian wife faked a “sort of smile” and extended a seemingly never-ending leg and entwined it so gracefully over her other leg as she got comfortable, I was instantly distracted…ahem..
“I always get what I want Mr Dieter, and if I don’t, “we” get unhappy, especially my wife, she get very angry with you…..” said Mr Black
“Of course” my newly falsetto voice replied as I tried not to make eye contact with his beautiful wife, but failed….
“…Okay you show me all watches, I hope you bring me good watch” said Mr Black
“Of course” I squeaked and opened up my case of beauties handing them to him one by one with a loving introduction to the maker, model, and specification of each…
“No, no, I don’t like, no, not this one , nor this, no, not that either…..” said Mr Black
“Oh dear”, I thought…..
Then, in the style of an Uzbek Matt Lucas in a Little Britain sketch he uttered the immortal words ” I want that one”, he was pointing at my wrist.
What could I say other than “Of course”, whilst smiling as his wife had done when we met. I handed “it” over – a deal was done, papers and box soon followed by courier. “It” was a rather special Rolex Submariner with a rare dial in 18k gold. Boo Hoo!
However, Mr Black and his wife were happy and I was still alive, but in need of a new watch …..excellent. Win/Win.
More tails of high jinx, watch deals and maybe a review or two next time……….
This Article was written by Dieter Schanzer for The Watch Review Site you can follow Dieter on his Facebook Page Schanzer Timepieces Consultancy here but we will surely be providing you with the rest of Dieters adventures here on The Watch Review Site so stay tuned…