Miles Had Style

Miles Davis is without a doubt considered one of the best and most influential Jazz Musicians of all time.  The guy is also considered to be one of the coolest cats to ever walk the planet.  Apparently, Bob Dylan called him the very definition of cool.  When I found out that he rocked a Breitling Navitimer throughout the 1960s, I was inclined to agree!

I always enjoy hearing what various celebrities wear on their wrists.  I found it interesting that Albert Einstein was pictured wearing a Wyler, Brad Pitt has been seen wearing a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms tourbillion and Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers wore a Roger Dubuis at the 2011 ESPYS.  I am told that the overall watch of choice by athletes at the ESPYS was Breitling.  I know that baseball superstar Carl Crawford supposedly just purchased a Bentley at Breitling’s boutique on 57th street in New York not too long ago.

Miles Davis clearly had an appreciation for the finer things in life.  He had several exotic cars, including a Ferrari, a Mercedes and a Lamborghini.  To read that his go-to watch was a Navi is pretty awesome.  I always appreciated Davis’ musical talent, and now I appreciate his taste in watches.  Well played.

Patek Keeps On Giving

As I was getting ready for work this morning, I saw an incredible story on NBC’s Today Show. In May 1943, Minnesota native Charles Woehrle was on an American bombing mission when his B-17 went under attack. Charles was forced to jump from the burning plane and was then held as a prisoner of war for two years.

Approximately one year into his captivity, Charles came across a brochure for Patek Philippe watches. He then somehow ordered one with the promise of paying for it once he was released. Several months went by, before a stainless steel PP was delivered to Woehrle’s door along with a note from the family-owned manufacturer saying, “We wish that this watch will give you full satisfaction.”

When Charles eventually returned to Minnesota, he paid for the watch as promised. Forty years later, Charles’ house was burglarized and his watch was stolen. Charles’ niece, while preparing a documentary on her uncle’s life, decided to write Patek Philippe and let the brand know of his story.

Just this last week, Patek Philippe brought Woehrle to New York and replaced the watch to help him remember his past experiences. Amazing! What an incredible deed by Patek Philippe! While Charles’ original watch was stainless steel, the replacement is 18kt gold. I am sure, however, that Charles’ does not mind!

I have always said that watches can represent so much more to people than just a timepiece. The sentimental value of Charles’ original Patek Philippe was obviously of the utmost. Charles will never forget those two years he spent as a prisoner of war and certainly won’t forget the watch that was there with him.

Don’t Mess With a Watch Collector!

A good friend of mine told me to watch Crime Inc. on CNBC the other night, so I was sure to tape it. Once I watched it, I understood why she told me check it out.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad people in the world who steal from others. The statistics they were rattling off on the show were startling. For instance, approximately $7 million of goods were stolen during the hour-long program.

One of the stories the show focused on was that of a huge watch collector down in Palm Beach County, Florida. The gentleman did not want his name to be shared, so the show referred to him by the alias Peter Spencer. Peter Spencer is a serious watch collector that owned a watch collection valued at $1,000,000 back in 2009. “I don’t collect a watch that I personally don’t like,” he said. “I must like it and I wear it.”

Peter lived in a gated community in Palm Beach County that no one could drive into without knowing someone that lived there. In June 2009, while Peter was away from his home on business, his house was robbed and his watch collection was stolen. Peter and his wife immediately filed a police report once they knew the watches were stolen, but were told that the odds of the recovering the timepieces were slim to none. Watches and jewelry are extremely difficult to recover after being taken.

This watch enthusiast, however, was determined. He wanted justice to be served. “These are bad people,” he stated. “My main concern was to get them off of the streets.”

Peter started his detective work by checking every watch website that existed. Eventually, Peter saw what he believed to be one of his watches on a reputable dealer’s website. The collector kept a record of the serial numbers of all of the watches he owned and saw a match on the website. He proceeded to call the dealer and confirm that the Jaeger LeCoultre Extreme World Chronograph was his.

Peter alerted the Palm Beach County authorities and provided them with the first main part of their investigation. Apparently, the watch had exchanged hands several times before the dealer bought it. They traced the first sale of the watch back to a Florida pawnshop and eventually, the leader of a serious crime ring.

This gang of six thieves had made $12 million in profit from various burglaries over the course of ten years. In June 2010, they were arrested because of an initial lead from Peter Spencer. The moral of the story, don’t mess with a watch collector!

Ebay… To Save The Day?

While I was in Vegas last week, I overheard a guy say, “I wish I had just put all of my expendable income into watches over the last five years instead of the stock market.  I’d be a lot better off today if I had.”

With all of these crazy price increases from the various brands taking place, there is no question that the value of previously-owned timepieces is going to go up.  Breitling is joining the company of Audemars Piguet, Hublot and Ulysse Nardin by having their second price increase of the year tomorrow.  Patek Philippe just announced that they will be following suit as well in a little over a month on July 15.

Earlier this week, I read an article about a guy in California looking for a way to raise enough money to send his son to UCLA.  What better way to do so than to sell his used watches?  In order to help send his kid to school, he listed his collection of 19 Rolexes on eBay to be sold in entirety.  The auction started at $100 and was at $70,200 with over nine days left.

I have tried to track the auction over the last couple of days to see if we could witness another incredible eBay watch transaction, and I now see the auction has been terminated.  Rumor has it that the auction was canceling for violating the TOS.  Does anyone know the particulars?  I would love to find out!

Either way, look for a big boost in the pre-owned watch market over the next six months.  Believe it or not, new watches are becoming more expensive and less available!!!  I would not be surprised to see or hear about more large vintage-watch transactions over the rest of the year.

Breitling(s) on the Big Screen

Last night I was scrolling through TV channels to see if there were any cool movies on.  I read the review for The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 and saw Denzel Washington and John Travolta were in it, so I figured I would give it a whirl.  It was pretty entertaining.  Denzel stars as a New York City subway dispatcher, who suddenly get puts in the middle of a chaotic situation where four armed men hijack a subway train and take 19 passengers hostage for a ransom of ten million dollars to be delivered within an hour.  Travolta is the criminal group leader and goes by the name Ryder; he plays the role well and comes across as a savage dude who is also sharp and witty.

When I started watching the movie, the fact that Travolta was a Breitling ambassador was not even remotely on my mind.  By the end of the movie, the thing that I could not get out of my head was his Breitling watch.  The weird thing about it is that it seemed as if his Breitling kept changing throughout the thriller!

Since Ryder sets an hour deadline for his 10 million dollars, he is constantly looking at the time.  When he stares at his watch, the camera zooms in on his silver dial Colt.  You cannot miss it.  When you see Ryder talking to Denzel on the phone and at other parts in the movie, however, the ring leader is definitely wearing a dark chronograph of some sort with silver subdials.  I promise you on this!  It is really funny.  Ryder obviously is a serious Breitling collector with multiple pieces in his collection…so much that he switches them out in the middle of hostage takeovers!  Please note the sarcasm.

Has anyone else seen the movie?  I love picking up on what watches actors are wearing on screen.  For instance, I noticed immediately that Pierce Brosnan is wearing a Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso while playing Thomas Crown in The Thomas Crown Affair.  I am fairly certain that other watch guys  pick up on these things the same way I do, right?

Media Spotlight: Celebrities Rocking Breitling

The Breitling brand has such a strong following, that many well-known actors, actresses, singers and athletes are known to wear Breitling timepieces. Interestingly, the Breitling collection is so extensive, offering so many cool and unique pieces, that almost all of the Breitling ambassadors seem to wear different models! Actor Brad Pitt owns an Emergency, which he wears as an alternative to his Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. MLB legend Cal Ripkin Jr. wears a Colt Automatic, actor Harrison Ford owns an Aerospace, actor John Travolta wears a Navitimer, and Phillies ace Roy Halladay sports a black dial Navitimer World. I knew immediately upon seeing a Breitling on Roy’s left wrist at his initial press conference that I would love him as a Phillie! The fact that he is one of the elite pitchers in the entire league does not hurt either….

What other notable celebrities have you seen wearing a Breitling?

Breitling to Open New York Boutique

The New York Post recently announced that Breitling will soon take over the 8,500-square-foot, three-level Nokia boutique located at 5 East 57th Street, perhaps as soon as this upcoming fall.  Nokia has occupied the space for the last four years; the world’s leading mobile phone supplier will soon close their doors for the last time.  Breitling has not yet announced a grand opening date, but there is already great excitement among Breitling collectors and the press.  Breitling will surely renovate the  space and will eventually join Audemars Piguet and Franck Muller on one of Manhattan’s most elite shopping blocks.  This move will be a huge step for the brand as the East 57th Street location will be Breitling’s first US boutique.

To read more, visit The New York Post or iW Magazine.