Time is of the essence
Where business is concerned for management consultant Gary Getz, and the ticktock of the clock is important in his personal life too. The Portola Valley watch aficionado’s love of timepieces springs from a childhood fascination with his grandfather’s pocket watch, an ornate object with an engraved case and an enamel dial.
“It’s not a valuable watch,” says Getz, who counts it among a collection of 40 at his bank’s safe-deposit box today, “but has tremendous emotional and sentimental value to me.”
It’s also had a tremendous influence on his sensibilities. “As the years have passed, it’s still a big factor in how I pick watches and choose to buy watches,” he says. To him, a watch is “a mechanical object that reminds you of the passage of time.” It’s also, he says, a different type of tech than technology.
Getz wears his favorite, a Philippe Dufour Simplicity.
His first watch, a Timex Marlin, was a gift from his father. Getz is now drawn to the work of independent makers who craft only a handful of watches each year. His holdings include a watch by self-taught Tokyo craftsman Hajime Asaoka; a Romain Gauthier Logical One; a Konstantin Chaykin Joker watch; and his favorite, a Simplicity by Philippe Dufour. He and five other Bay Area collectors commissioned six chronograph watches with a moon phase and date display from Finnish watchmaker Kari Voutilainen, based in Switzerland. The three-year process resulted in unique watches for each, with different combinations of case metal and dial color.
Asaoka was a microengineer who began watchmaking in his apartment and who told Getz he works only at night to avoid daytime distractions. “I have a saying, ‘Meet the maker, want the watch,’” Getz notes. “Their stories are so interesting, and when you understand their inspirations and thought processes, you really want to support them by buying and owning their pieces.” Meantime, he’ll leave the splashier watches to others. “You draw a lot more unhappy attention wearing a $5,000 Rolex than one of these handmade independent watches, “ Getz says, “and I like it that way.” Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry, 2825 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park