his collection includes (clockwise, from far top left) the IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph, Rolex Datejust 41, IWC Big Pilot's Watch, IWC 3878 Spitfire Chronograph, Timex American Documents and Rolex Cosmograph Daytona.
For Dr. Wiemi Douoguih, collecting fine watches isn't a spectator sport.
When DC orthopedic surgeon Wiemi Douoguih, the medical director for MedStar Sports Medicine's Washington (medstarsportsmedicine.org) region, hit a career milestone in 2004, he rewarded himself with a nice watch: a two-tone Rolex with a hefty price tag. Then a friend in the business enlightened him— Rolex is one of many esteemed brands. There are other lesser-known, historic makers to explore too. So Douoguih, sports doctor to both the NBA's Washington Wizards and NHL's Washington Capitals, became an aficionado of high-end luxury watches. He began purchasing IWC timepieces. He first bought an IWC Portugieser, Reference 3714. (Only true watch experts talk about reference numbers.) He began buying watches both online and through prestigious houses like DC's Tiny Jewel Box (tinyjewelbox.com), which specializes in functionality and style. Watchpeople would be impressed with the doctor's purchases: An IWC Big Pilot's watch, a Portugieser Yacht Club, a Spitfire. Plus a rose gold Daytona. That one is a Rolex. When his home was burglarized in 2010, he lost all his watches, except the one on his wrist—the Yacht Club. They weren't insured at the time because his wife's engagement ring had disappeared about two years prior: Insurance folks had said that with a “mysterious loss,” he would have to wait two years because he was now considered high-risk. (They were stolen two months before his time was up.) “I think they were right,” he says. When he could be insured again, he began a new collection. None of his watches are very showy, Douoguih says. “I just like to buy cool things that I enjoy. And it's nice when [I] meet someone who... recognizes that I'm wearing something uncommon.” A Douoguih favorite might surprise you. It's a Timex. But not the kind that line the jewelry shelves at Target. This one is a $495 special edition. But that's the cheapest in his collection. The highest comes in at right under $40,000. “But hey, I work with very well-paid athletes,” he says. “I go at my own pace. They might have a watch worth $500,000. Some may have more than 50 watches.” And he buys with a purpose: “When I look at my watches, they remind me of my life when I purchased them. Each represents a new milestone.”