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.

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

rj@www.fratellowatches.com