Derek Dier of

Derek Dier of

Welcome back to an aBlogtoWatch original series, where we discuss important stores that sell watches all over the world. Each store we profile has an interesting story to tell about where they operate and who they sell to. Whether you buy watches from brick and mortar retailers or prefer to buy watches online, these are the stores that help shape our watch culture around the globe. There is a long list of stores to cover, but if there is a retail location in your favorite city that we simply can’t miss, let us know in the comments below.

Where to buy watches in London, Ontario, Canada?

We often hear about the death of brick and mortar retailing and the challenges traditional sellers face with “going online.” In the case of, the reverse has occurred, and Derek Dier now has a literal brick and mortar store downtown in the Canadian city of London, Ontario. Derek began buying, selling and trading around the age of 16 (1980) and it became a serious hobby around 1989, while he was a full-time realtor. has been online since 1998, and the brick & mortar retail store followed in 2012.

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WatchesToBuy.Com, London, Ontario, Canada

WatchesToBuy.Com, London, Ontario, Canada

aBlogtoWatch’s own Matt Smith-Johnson visited Derek in his shop recently, and his free-flowing interview with Derek follows.

Derek Dier’s shop is in a quaint, well maintained plaza in the small town of London, Ontario. His shop is almost like a small museum, with vintage signs, colorful posters, and various displays of wonderment filling your visual field as you enter. There’s even a 60’s black and white tube television, and it’s fully operational. Amongst the carefully displayed artifacts are some interesting and rare timepieces tucked inside teak cabinets and resting on glass pedestals throughout.

Derek greets us warmly and asks “do you guys like espresso?” followed shortly thereafter by, “perhaps afterwards we can sit down and have an Armagnac during the interview”.

Yes… I am definitely in the right kind of place for me.


aBlogtoWatch: What types of watches are popular in your market? What makes London, Ontario a unique place to buy watches?

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Derek Dier: My Audience tends to buy Omega the most. So, say a stainless steel Omega of any kind, whether it be a Seamaster or Speedmaster, those tend to be the hardest to keep in stock. Secondly, it would have to be Rolex, specifically, the Air-Kings and such. I tend to deal more in the ‘middle’ where there is a higher turnover.

WatchesToBuy.com_11ABTW: What kind of advice would you give to someone looking to collect or trade vintage watches from Canada? Do you have any general rules?

Derek Dier: We find that different watches come from different regions of the world and each region has their own particular watches. For instance, in Canada we seek the Rolex Air-King Date, which is a commonwealth market watch. I tend to sell a lot of them to the rest of the world, but they are mostly found here in Canada or in the UK, so that is one thing that I look for.

Sweden has the Omega Suverän, which is a military watch, where there are probably quite a few of those available, if you live there. Or in South America, the 1950s (Omega) Constellation with the kite markers… So, I say to people, look for what was sold in your area, and is wanted worldwide.

WatchesToBuy.com_09_13ABTW: What is the mix between your local versus online business, who do you find you service most?

Derek Dier: Very rarely do I sell locally. In fact, only recently in the past year, people have discovered that I’m here. But 99% of my sales are scattered around the world, with the US being #1, then the UK, Asia, and the rest of the world.

WatchesToBuy.com_12ABTW: Why was this the place that you decided to take root?

Derek Dier: Well, since I started online, I simply had a website – I didn’t really worry about where I lived. The store was secondary. I was working out of my home for so long and then this plaza came up for sale from my old watchmaker and Rolex dealer who is well known here in London. I always told him that I wanted this little plaza, if he ever decided to sell. However, I think it does help to have a brick and mortar store. People are starting to fly in, I’ve had clients come in from New York and another one from Norway. It’s kind of neat to start meeting the people I deal with. Like you guys!

WatchesToBuy.com_10ABTW: So if someone flies in from Norway, is there anything else they should see?

Derek Dier:: We have some great architecture in the city, and some great examples of Victorian architecture that exists within a few blocks from here.  I think London is known best for it’s parks and architecture. It’s quiet, it’s safe, you can walk around late at night and go to a lot of great restaurants as well.

ABTW: As a business, do you sponsor or participate in any local watch related events?

Derek Dier: Not really. There is the NAWCC, the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, which should involve both watches and clocks, but there are no watches at these shows, just clocks. I’m really the only gig in this town of 360,000.

WatchesToBuy.com_08ABTW: If you could pick a watch brand or model that epitomizes you, what would it be?

Derek Dier: I gravitate towards aesthetics, rather than a brand. So, I will wear a different watch every day and it could be a watch by Royce, a small brand out of Switzerland (Derek named his son Royce, and yes, he has a large collection of Royce watches). I’m not really ‘that guy,’ but I tend to wear Rolex more than anything, because I like the simple lines of say, the Submariner or the Daytona. But I like obscure watches, like the Longines Supercompressor I’m wearing because you don’t see them very often. My favorite watches to wear would have to be the Heuer Carrera line from the 60’s – an understated, balanced look. They are like little works of art, I find.

ABTW: What TV Shows/Films/Productions have you provided watches for?

Derek Dier: I’m more known for Mad Men, seasons 5, 6, and 7. I also did Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys. Now, we are working on a new movie with George Clooney, Josh Brolin and Scarlett Johanson. It’s about Hollywood in the 50’s, in the early days, when they used to hire hitmen to “get things done.”

WatchesToBuy.com_07_14ABTW: Do you match the character to the watch?

Derek Dier: Mad Men gave me the free reign to do that, but mostly they don’t tell you a thing, the prop-master just takes care of it. Mad Men was a special thing, I even went down to the set and painted a watch dial to match a specific Mary Kay Pink. I even paid my own way, I just wanted this to be completely correct. I think Hollywood has to start realizing that there is a huge industry out there, and people like you guys and other bloggers are paying attention.

ABTW: Ever sold a watch that you immediately wanted back?

Derek Dier: Multiples of them. So many watches. There have been so many Rolex Chronographs, back when a Daytona was $8000, or with a Paul Newman dial $10,000 – so many of those. But the ones that stand out in memory tend to have vibrant colored dials, 1970’s Omegas with checkerboard exotic dials and markings that don’t seem to be appearing anymore. But you can’t run a business as a collector!

WatchesToBuy.com_05ABTW: What will you NEVER sell?

Derek Dier: There are a couple. One of my watchmaker sold me, it was his watch (a Ulysse Nardin) that he had to repair at watchmaking school in Switzerland. And the other is the first Rolex that I ever found, a little Rolex Oyster that was in a shoe box when I was 18 years old.

ABTW: And that first watch you found obviously kicked off a lifelong obsession?

Derek Dier: Yeah, that started the whole thing. It was $2.

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