Here in The Netherlands, the year 2008 is almost over. Only a few hours left of a very stirring year. I use the word stirring, because a lot of stuff happened in 2008. The two most important events of 2008 are in contrast with each other. The first one is the loss of Speedmaster and chronograph legend but most of all a greatly appreciated (watch) friend – Chuck Maddox.

The second important event is that I asked my girlfriend on first Christmas day to marry me (and she said Yes!). I gave her a Christmas present and had the proposal engraved in the case back of the watch. It took a while before she noticed it (it seems that girls are mainly focused on the dial and case and do not turn the watch to look at the caseback), so I could finally present her the wonderful engagement ring made by Gerton van der Laan. Thanks to Gerton , Jan Klaas and Alon for all the help and work with the watch, ring and diamond 😉 Much appreciated.

Rolex Explorer I ref.114270

Additionally, I managed to successfully finish my post-graduate study IT-auditing at the VU Amsterdam (bought an IWC Ingenieur to celebrate the finishing of my thesis ;)), changed jobs within the same organization, and had some great and impressive vacations.

As for watches, it was quite a fruitful year. Besides the IWC Ingenieur I mentioned earlier, I also added a rose gold chronograph from the 1940s from Titus Geneve and an Omega Speedmaster Professional from 1969. I am extremely happy with all three of them and find myself wearing the IWC Ingenieur most of the time.

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In 2008, I also started this LinkedIn Group (networking site) for watch enthusiasts by the name of a Passion for Watches. With over 800 members, a successful group with a lively discussion on watches and the watch industry. If you haven’t signed-up yet, please do so! My other small project was a Dutch Panerai forum. It has a lot of Dutch and Belgian Paneristi members and although the traffic is relatively slow, the quality of the posts is satisfactory enough!

2008 was also the year for me that haute horlogerie brands like MB&F, Maitres du Temps and Urwerk appeared on my radar. I always kept a bit of distance, because their pricing is far beyond reachable for me, but the creativity in both design and technique deserves a lot of respect imho. I experienced a lot of enthusiasm from the owners of these brands towards internet (blogs, forums) with respect to exposure. However, the more conservative brands are also making big steps.. Thanks to LinkedIn I regularly am in contact with representatives of settled brands that are well willing to provide information on watches I blog about. That’s a great trend!

Last but not least, I would like to wish all my readers, sponsors, fellow bloggers and watch friends a happy new year! Despite the credit crisis, I hope that watches, watch manufacturers and retailers still get your attention [they deserve]!

Warm regards,


Robert-Jan Broer
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Robert-Jan Broer

Founder & Editor at Fratello Watches
Robert-Jan Broer, born in 1977, watch collector and author on watches for over a decade. Founder of Fratello Watches in 2004.
Robert-Jan Broer
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  • Well done, RJ. Congrats on your engagement! Best wishes for continued success in 2009!

    Kyle & friends at

  • Hello RJ – Chuck’s loss and many other happenings during the past year are sad, and the economy is a challenge (my collection still focuses on Seiko and their affiliates rather than more expensive brands), but it’s good to see that you had so many positive experiences this past year. Many congratulations, especially on the “yes”. 🙂 Nice to also see Alon’s name on the list of people helping you with that.

    All the best in 2009 to you, your family and friends, and your readers.

    Cheers from snowy Canada

  • john chan

    Realiseer jij je wel dat die Porsche nu echt een moeilijk verhaal gaat worden :-)…..

    (tot op de dag van vandaag heb ik nog spijt van dat ik die Eames Lounge Chair nooit voor mijn huwelijk heb gekocht)

    Ach het is maar materiaal: Heel veel geluk en gezonheid jullie beiden! en een goed 2008!

    Grt, John

  • @Kyle S.: Thanks my friend. Same to you of course! Let’s work something out in 2009!

    @Harry: Thanks for your wishes Harry. Luckily, I am personally not (yet) effected by the credit crisis. However, it doesn’t feel as ‘secure’ anymore as approx 1.5 year ago 🙂 We will see what happens. Keep on spending cash money to help the economy a bit 😉 I hope you will have a great 2009! Keep on coming with those interesting Seiko blog posts.

    @John: Ik weet het 😉 Misschien moet ik me focussen op een Nautilus of AP RO na het huwelijksfeest (waar je ongetwijfeld met gemak zo’n Nautilus voor kunt kopen, plus een Rolex on the side). Sigh… Zie ik je zondag?