One of my preferred aspects in watch collecting is meeting people. A lot of people. Over the years I have gotten to meet hundreds of collectors, here in Switzerland as well as abroad. Some of them I only met once, with some others we keep interacting via email, instant messaging or Instagram, and finally a few became good friends.
Talking with my peers from my Swiss collectors network I realized that however they know me, they do not necessarily all know each other and this was exactly the thing I had to work on to change. The first attempt happened a year ago when 15 people met in a local Wine and Whiskey bar in Neuchatel (Switzerland) for an afternoon around watches, à la Redbar.
The outcome was so great that I decided to continue and organize another meeting a year later.
Organizing something sounds simple but when it comes to facts however, it is not so easy at all. Loads of questions suddenly need an answer. How big should it be? Who to invite? Which location? What program? etc. etc. Before I started to answer all of those questions I re-focused back to my main goal : bring people together, possibly those who do not yet know each other, allow them some time to talk about their common passion, all in a convenient location with adequate security.
For the guest list, the choice was evident – local peers who have kept interacting with me during the last year or two. The number of guests not more than 15, to allow everyone to spend some time with each other. The program – even more obvious, watches, dozens of watches – all they need to have a great afternoon.
Location & program – I approached OMEGA and asked if it would be possible to visit the Museum as a group of collectors. The Museum team immediately accepted a group visit but while talking over the details of what I was planning and what I meant by « a group of collectors » they suggested involving their Marketing department to see if our whole event could happen in the Museum instead of a simple visit (!). After some fine tuning with the Marketing team, the concept was approved and our group was invited to meet in the Heart of OMEGA’s brand Heritage, the Museum, privatized for us !
Last Saturday, the 17th of March, we arrived at the Museum in the early afternoon, welcomed by the Museum crew. They had not only privatized the Museum for us but had also organized tables in different areas of the Museum to allow for some space for the watches we brought with us. This started with a quick lunch (thanks to OMEGA Marketing team for organizing this) which allowed the guests to get to know each other and start socializing around the topic of the day, watches. After the lunch we had 4 hours to unpack the stuff we brought, discuss, debate, share, learn.
One particular guest came with a luggage case literally full of pictures, pins, stamps, books, goodies, all kind of NASA-related stuff, even including some original photographs of Space Missions and a totally crazy Apollo Mission book including a folded Moon Map ! It was a real honor and pleasure to listen to @roydavidoff talking about all kinds of things he has collected over the years. Thank you Roy for that unique moment ! Petros Protopapas completed Roy’s pop-up exhibition with some goodies from the Museum, for example original photo cameras used on the Moon – another epic moment for us, race-for-space nerds.
When it comes to watches, I was confident about the quality and diversity of the pieces my collector guests would bring. Now I can tell you that I had totally under-estimated them! Besides there being nearly one hundred (!) different modern and, mostly, vintage Speedmasters, we also saw a lot of Seamasters, Flightmasters, Railmasters, Rancheros… Timepieces of all kinds and an overall quality out of this world.
It was amazing to see that amount of watches coming back to OMEGA for one day and entertaining hours of passionate conversations. Conversations stirred by Petros Protopapas and his endless knowledge about the history of OMEGA.
In the name of the whole group of collectors who were there last Saturday, I would like to thank OMEGA, Maria from Marketing, the Museum crew : Petros and David for their time and their willingness to share their knowledge as well as Giovanna for her sympathy and attention to details during the whole day ! This group of people highly contributed to make our get together an amazing and unforgettable experience.
Report written by @Kovpics