The Watch Editor’s Pick – Stephen J. Pulvirent

Chronos24.pl and Fratellowatches.com are proud to present you this new, special, bi-weekly section dedicated to our fellow watch journalists and bloggers. Ever wondered what they really like? – read on.

Without going into the long-lasting dispute about who is a journalist, who is a blogger, and which of this two is better (like it matters) we tried to find out about a  more interesting topic: what are the personal favorite watches of watch editors and which timepieces would they purchase when having unlimited resources. In the next coming weeks (every other Monday) we will bring you some of the biggest names from the world of watch editors, both acclaimed authors with an impressive track-record and new-age digital-world bloggers, who re-shape(d) journalism as we know it today.

So without further ado, here is the second “Watch Editor’s Picks”, featuring watch journalist Stephen J. Pulvirent from Hodinkee.

Who are you?

My name is Stephen Pulvirent and I’m the associate editor of HODINKEE. I have been a photographer since I was a child, but I started blogging and writing for magazines while in college, mostly focusing on high-end men’s clothing such as bespoke tailoring, hand-made shoes, etc.

The Watch Editors Pick   Stephen J. PulvirentMy real interest is in craftsmanship and how we form connections with the things in our everyday lives, so watches were of course only a step away. After I attended my first watch auction (the historic Henry Graves sale at Sotheby’s New York) I was hooked and knew I had to learn more. I began with HODINKEE in summer 2012 and since then I’ve become totally obsessed with watches.

What does your ordinary writer’s day look like?

It’s almost a cliche, but I have no typical day. No matter where I am or what I’m doing, I inevitably wake up to a pile of emails from elsewhere in the world, so getting a cup of coffee and catching up with my inbox is always first thing. From there, it’s usually a mix of writing up the latest releases, taking hands-on photographs of contemporary watches, visiting auction houses and dealers to get a look at rare vintage pieces  making sure the HODINKEE store is running and that customers are happy and getting their orders quickly, and meeting with collectors and enthusiasts to learn more about what gets them excited about watches. No two days are the same, and every day there is a new challenge and new pleasures.

If every day was focused solely on products, life would get a little boring, no? One of the most enjoyable things about HODINKEE is that we are constantly looking for the human side of stories and connections watches have to history and other facets of people’s lives. Whether this means telling the story of a clock embedded in the sidewalk of New York City or the amazing hand-made sundials of Will Andrewes, I’m constantly getting to meet fascinating people who are extremely passionate about what they do. Trust me, talking to John Goldberger about watches is a pretty special experience.

What’s your favourite watch to wear (and why)?

Most days you’ll find me wearing a vintage 1970 Rolex GMT Master ref. 1675. It took me quite a while to find the perfect example, with just the right faded bezel, an unpolished case, and full box and papers, but once I did, I knew I’d found the right watch.

The Watch Editors Pick   Stephen J. Pulvirent

I travel a lot and it’s the perfect watch for me – it fits into almost any scenario, I can wear it with everything from a suit to a t shirt, and it helps me keep track of what time it is back at HODINKEE HQ in New York, whether I’m in San Francisco or Geneva.

What’s your holy horological grail?

It might seem like a strange answer, given the watch I currently own, but a stainless steel Rolex GMT Master ref. 6542 is undoubtedly one of my grails. It’s the original GMT and was created for Pan-Am pilots in the 1950s. You can see a great example in this post on a rare gold variant here. I love traveling and to me this represents the days when travel was still aspirational and something that got people dreaming. The bakelite bezel and roulette date wheel (red even numbers, black odd numbers) are just stunning, and the gilt dial with small arrow hand are a little more understated than the dials and hands on later models.

What is your best advice for a beginner collector with a 1500 Euro budget?

If you have 1,500 Euro (about $2,000) to spend, I think there are two ways to go: vintage or modern. If you want something new that you won’t have to worry about and that you can buy at a retailer, my vote goes to Nomos.  You get an beautiful in-house movement packaged in some nice design, plus the watches are just plain fun to wear. If you’re going the vintage route, it’s hard to beat a Rolex DateJust (photo of the Datejust reference 1601 from Vintage Watch Enthusiast).

The Watch Editors Pick   Stephen J. PulvirentFor 1,500 Euro, you probably won’t be able to score one on a bracelet, but it’s a watch that suits any situation, is going to last forever, and you can always trade up to something bigger if you decide you want to invest a little more later. Some real watch guys might find the DateJust a little boring, but it’s a classic for good reason.

The Watch Editors Pick   Stephen J. Pulvirent

7 Comments

  1. Douglas Reply

    I have a budget of £1200, can you recommend somewhere I could purchase a vintage Rolex from as the more I look at dealers the more confusing it gets.

    1. Robert-Jan Broer Reply

      You can find a run-down of pre-owned Datejusts here, sorted on price in GBP. However, you can also narrow it down yourself to the model you are really looking for and have a look at eBay or the on-line trade forums (watchrecon.com for example). Make sure you know what you are looking for and what details to keep an eye on. For 1200GBP, you should be able to find a nice Datejust reference 1600, 1601 or 1603.

      Best,
      RJ

      1. Douglas Reply

        Thank you for your advice it is appreciated

  2. Joseph McClain Reply

    Thanks so much for sharing, I just love the vintage faded Rolex look. Finding something old will be my next purchase.
    I think you should of mentioned that beautiful leather strap on your Rolex which I think really tops off that vintage weathered look. I just recently purchase a black strap from the Hodinkee web site and put it on my IWC Mark VII Pilot watch and wow, it made me wear that watch most of the time now.
    cheers
    Joey

    1. Robert-Jan Broer Reply

      Thanks for your comment. Those straps are awesome indeed, I got myself a strap from Hodinkee as well and featured it in one of our Speedy Tuesday strap specials (here). Amazing quality and gives the watch that vintage look & feel for sure.

      RJ

  3. Chris Hogan Reply

    The two watches described above are essentially my two favorite as well. I have a number of special watches, but my Rolex 16710 black bezel and 1601 Datejust are the ones to which I almost always turn. They are classic and timeless and while other watch junkies always looking for something bigger and newer might feel them boring, to me they are beloved.

    Very nice interview.

  4. Sophie Reply

    Great! Thanks for the tips!

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