Something for the weekend: Time for watches

On Monday FT Edit launches Inside Watches, a week-long series showcasing the very best FT articles about the world’s most incredible timepieces, the people who make them — and the buyers who spend a fortune on them. Here, George Kyriakos, the FT’s watches and jewellery editor, gives us an insight into what drives the obsession.

Twenty years ago, one Egyptian horophile had accumulated more than 50 Patek Philippes — not one of which he had removed from its hermetically-sealed plastic packaging.

His explanation? “That way, the enjoyment of anticipation never goes away.”

In contrast, others collect because they cannot resist the next big thing, because they have become fixated on a particular brand, model or type or, quite simply, because watches do not present the same storage and maintenance problems as other typical collectibles such as classic cars. motorcycles, wine or books.

For super collector Patrick Getreide, it is all about condition, rarity and provenance, His remarkable OAK Collection (for One of A Kind) of more than 400 pieces may not be the biggest in the world, but it is likely to be among the most valuable.

“As soon as I achieved a moderate level of success I began to buy watches at prices I could afford,” says Getreide. “Gradually that amount increased, the watches became better and the passion for collecting them became stronger.”

The result is that Getreide now owns dozens of watches valued at more than £1mn apiece, among which are five Patek Philippes that once belonged to the celebrated prewar collector Henry Graves Jr — the largest holding of such watches outside of the brand’s own museum.

But part of the joy of watch collecting is, perhaps, the fact that it does not need to cost a fortune.

Interesting and attractive vintage pieces can still be had for hundreds, rather than thousands, and those prepared to explore lesser-known contemporary brand names will find an abundance of well-made and wearable watches.

And while they may not cost as much as the famous, high-end models, the design and style can be just as good — not to mention the pleasure derived from collecting them.

Catch the Inside Watches series starting on Monday in FT Edit.

Our favourite pieces

I worked as a foreign correspondent in China for eight years, leaving at the end of 2014. Even back then, it was clear that the country’s demographic crisis, a legacy of its one-child policy and rapid urbanisation, was on the minds of Communist Party bosses: would China grow old before it had created a high-income economy? This week, our reporters in China visited Rudong, the oldest county in the country, for a preview of how the challenge will play out.
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Editor, FT Edit

I was delighted when the chef and entrepreneur Thomasina Miers selected Tim Hayward’s paean to the cheese toastie for her guest edit this week (UK edition only) — and not just because I would, left to my own devices, quite happily eat this unctuous, oozing snack every meal for the rest of my life. Tim has a way of writing about food that’s thought-provoking, humorous and always leaves you wanting seconds.
Hannah Rock
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The Humbling of Shane Smith. How to Lose Half a Billion Dollars. Why New Media Is a Shaky Investment. The Folly of James Murdoch. I learned so much from Anna Nicolaou and Sujeet Indap’s brilliant Big Read where they explored how Vice went from private equity darling to bankruptcy. As a former copy editor, reading a story filled with juicy tidbits makes me want to write and rewrite headlines to tease out all the different elements. Read “The fall of Vice: private equity’s ill-fated bet on media’s future” and see what fascinating revelations stick with you.
Caryn Wilson
US editor, FT Edit (@CarynAWilson)

Something to listen to

Rachman Review — If you want an idea of where China is headed, it’s worth looking at its young people. The Chinese-born Economist Keyu Jin argues that China’s next generation is more open-minded and will write “a new playbook” for the country’s role in the world.

Behind the Money — The European Central Bank is dead-set on launching a digital euro to counter the decline of cash. But, as Behind the Money finds out, lots of people aren’t happy with the idea.

FT Weekend podcast — You’ve probably thought about what advice you would give to your younger self, but Robert Shrimsley turns the trope on its head and asks what advice he would give to his older self.

Something to watch

Last weekend was the FT Weekend festival in Washington DC. Among the guests was author Salman Rushdie, in one of his first public appearances since he was stabbed on stage in New York last year. You can watch his discussion with Edward Luce below.

This post was originally published on Financial Times

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