This has been a long time coming… It was April when I was in San Diego and had the chance to meet some fellow watch enthusiasts over some IPA’s on a Friday night. We published an interview with Erik Akin of DECAMP Goods that struck a chord with a lot of our readers. Today, we’ll take a look at the final interview from my San Diego visit. This time, though, we’ll focus on a different kind of accessory: the watch winder.
To be fair, I don’t own a watch winder, but that’s primarily due to the fact that I try to change watches daily and it, umm, takes me a little while to come back around to any given piece. That’s not to say, though, that I don’t see the point. Honestly, and this is no joke, when I pick up one of my vintage Rolex pieces, I’d swear that I am always between 14 and 16 days out on the cyclops from the date I want. I usually wear the wrong date, but that bothers me, so I get the appeal of a watch winder.
Also, and perhaps more germane to the article, I am often asked by friends about where to buy a reasonable watch winder. Granted, these friends are not die-hard collectors, but they may own 2-3 watches and they simply like the idea of a winder. Well, I now have a good suggestion for them. Naturally, eBay and Amazon sell a multitude of winders and while those are good shopping sites for a lot of things, the winder selection is overwhelming and there are highly disparate comments on most models. So, why not support a real watch enthusiast who will actually talk to you about the model that best suits your collection? If that sounds appetizing, we have an answer for you. Read on and find out about one of the “good guys” in this hobby and his business: Dapper Watch Winders.
FW: What’s your name and where are you based?
Emil Cajucom based in Southern California from San Diego to Los Angeles.
FW: What’s your business and what type of products do you sell? How did you come up with the name?
I operate an online watch winders and watch box retail store under the name Dapper Watch Winders.
The name is primarily inspired by a man that I unfortunately never met: my grandfather. While growing up, my parents would tell me that my work ethic, personality and style were very similar to his. For years, and even today, I love wearing vintage fashion, from hats, vintage shoes to vintage watches. Wearing those certain things is a reflection of who I am and what I love to do. I work on vintage cars, motorcycles and enjoy anything that is “gentlemanly” in fashion and also old things that are mechanical. As I’ve grown older, more people started telling me that I was “dapper” even though I truly didn’t understood the meaning of it at the time. One day, though, I was going through some old photos of my grandfather and saw that he was by definition the true meaning of a “dapper gent”; masculine, humble, respectful and charming. Ever since then, I fell in love with the word.
FW: Why did you start this business and why should potential customers check it out vs buying somewhere else?
The business started a few years after I had gotten into vintage watch collecting, which was around 2008. I had postponed some other hobbies (i.e cars, motorcycles, vintage road bikes) to get into something a little more different and unique: horology. I started going to thrift stores and swap meets to hunt for vintage automatic or mechanical time pieces. When getting into these types of watches, there is one particular thing that collectors and watch hunters will notice; some watches will lose or gain time, especially when it’s not on the individual’s wrist (if it’s an automatic). That’s when I needed a watch winder. As my collection grew, so did the number of “dual watch winders” that were on my dresser. When buying and selling certain watches, I liked knowing that the pieces worked and that it kept accurate time, but it was difficult to just have one watch on the wrist (or two if you use the other), so a watch winder was a great investment for me. While going to my nearby watchmaker I asked if they had any watch winders (particularly a “quad watch winder”) to sell and they had told me “no”; then came the light bulb. I decided to create a website dedicated to just watch winders and watch boxes and I even personally meet other enthusiasts and watch makers to promote my online store and products. Dapper Watch Winders is a fairly new site, established in December 2013, and the products being sold are affordable and come with a manufacturer’s one year warranty. The products on my site are from Eilux, Versa, Boxy and Bey-Berk with even more luxury watch winders still to come. My customers can contact me directly via email, or by phone, and I personally discuss the run-down and quality of the products that I carry. I’m hoping in the near future to create my own personal winder and watch box, but the blue prints are still being made.
The thing I truly love about selling watch winders, online and in person, is that I get to interact with them personally about horology and other vintage hobbies. That’s also the reason why my business is unique; I’m also a watch geek myself and not just a company or sales rep out to make a profit by selling a product a I wouldn’t use myself.
I interact with customers primarily through email and in some cases through Instagram (@dapper_watch_winders) & Twitter (@DapperWatchWndrs), but I also deal with my customers in person, as a handful of my products are sold in local watch stores, pawn shops and jewelry stores.
I can arrange business with customers internationally, but I primarily deal with domestic U.S transactions because of manufacturers and shipping reasons. But as my business gets large, I hope the international transactions will also grow.
While growing up, I always loved watches. I enjoyed my Casio Calculator watch that my mom bought me back in 3rd grade. I used it primarily for its function: a tool to help me with my good ol’ math homework. Then, I was given a Timex in 4th & 5th grade. It had a really cool green luminous light that I loved using in the dark and that chronograph feature was used by my friends and I when we ran laps around the school ground to see who was fastest. A few years down the line in 1999, my older brother bought me a red G-Shock, which I wore religiously. It was known to be unbreakable and that skateboarders could crash and fall on the watch without damaging it; trust me it’s true. (Haha). Then came my Adidas Originals watch collection, primarily because I was influenced by the vintage style of Run-DMC and their classic Adidas Originals. Then, as fate would have it, I got into vintage and higher-end watches in 2007-2008, when I started purchasing random vintage pieces from the thrift stores and swap meets. I had purchased my very first “high-end” vintage watch, a 70’s Omega Deville, when graduating from college and that’s when the watch bug bit me. I love all sorts of watches, but I primarily collect uncomplicated dialed gentleman’s vintage pieces that simply have the company name written in its original text just a little below the 12 o’clock hour. I enjoy collecting brands such as Girard Perregaux, Jaeger LeCoultre, Rolex and Omega gentleman’s timepieces, but I do have chronographs and divers pieces in the collection as well.
My current favorite would probably be my 1959 Rolex Air King Super Precision Ref. 5500 Cal. 1530 Gilt Dial. To me, it’s simplicity at its finest. I love the sword hands and the simple text, that gilt dial and that you can dress the watch down or up to your preference. Again, I’m a simple guy and I love simple classic pieces.
FW: Last question, you hail from San Diego. What is San Diego (and perhaps SoCal in general) like as a watch collecting community?
Coming from Southern California, I am truly blessed with the diversity of cultures and hobbies that dwell in the area. I have had the opportunity to join and experience different backgrounds of art, music, sports and hobbies that have now poured into my personal watch collection; it’s almost like creating a life story through watches. It’s really nice to see that there are others like myself that I can reach out to via watch forums and, nowadays, Instagram, which is worldwide. I currently attend local get-togethers with other watch aficionados in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas called the “LA Watch Gang”. Along with that local group of horology fans I truly enjoy learning and sharing other watch talks with the local watch makers, retail sellers, and vintage boutique store owners.