Welcome back to an original aBlogtoWatch feature, “My First Grail Watch.” In this series, we ask prominent people in the watch industry about the first timepiece that they lusted after. Today, we’re speaking with Hamilton Powell, the fellow who founded consignment site Crown & Caliber.aBlogtoWatch (ABTW): Who are you, and what is your relationship to the watch industry?
Hamilton Powell: In 2012, I founded Crown & Caliber as an easy way for individuals to profitably sell their high end luxury watches. We will service, clean, photograph and list your watch for sale. In 60 days or less, we will sell your watch for you at or above a price you agree to. Because our watchmakers get your watch in pristine condition, and because of our huge network of individuals looking to buy a watch (both domestic and international), we can typically sell your watch for a price much higher than you could on your own – and without all the hassle and fraud/scamming risk.
ABTW: When did your fascination with watches start?
Hamilton Powell: Ever since I was a kid, I can remember my dad wearing a classic Rolex Datejust. I was always fascinated with it. Unique/interesting watches come through our door every day – so I feel as though my watch passion is always evolving.
ABTW: What was your first grail watch?
Hamilton Powell: I am heavily influenced by Jeff Stein – one of the country’s foremost Heuer experts. He got me hooked on vintage Heuers – and helped me find a great Abercrombie & Fitch SeaFarer.
ABTW: What drew you to this particular watch?
Hamilton Powell: Like many pre-quartz brands, Heuer is pretty awesome. I love Heuer (pre-Tag) for many reasons – its ingenuity, creativity, and constant remaking of itself. Before Abercrombie & Fitch was a shirtless male model company – it was an outfitter that “outfitted presidents and pioneers, authors and actors, explorers and icons.”
This watch represents a classic case of two great stories colliding. Not only does the watch tell a cool story – but its was originally meant to be used in the outdoors – specifically to measure the tides of the ocean. I love the outdoors, especially the ocean – so I find this watch to be really interesting.
ABTW: Given that Stein helped you find one, can you tell us the story of how you came to get the grail?
Hamilton Powell: As soon as I had the opportunity to buy it – I jumped on it. I had seen several Seafarers before purchasing this one. What drew me to this was that it was the only Seafarer (that I could find anyway) that had a running seconds hand. Not sure if this was a prototype or (more than likely) its previous owner simply requested the watch to have this feature. Either way – it makes it a one of a kind watch – which I like.
ABTW: Is this a watch that you still have?
Hamilton Powell: I still have it, and now only wear it when I go to the beach.
ABTW: It sounds like you are rather active in the outdoors. What are some of your favorite activities that these watches accompany you on?
Hamilton Powell: I have always loved the outdoors and grew up with a love for everything outdoors – fishing, hunting, hiking, camping. The ocean has always had a special part in my life. In fact, I had originally planned to minor in Marine Biology in school – but several courses into it, I decided against it when it became apparent I was not going to be the next Jacques Cousteau. In my opinion, the ocean contains the greatest display of creativity and beauty of any place on the planet. I love to dive (don’t worry, I don’t wear the Seafarer – I have a great Tudor for diving).
ABTW: You have your “first” grail – is there anything that you’re on the search for now? If not, is there something you really hope walks through your door one day?
Hamilton Powell: Yes – I am currently on the hunt for an Heuer “Solunar” from the late 40’s/early 50’s which, in many ways, is the sister watch to the Seafarer.
ABTW: Since the SeaFarer only gets beach time wear, what else do you like to wear in a normal week?
Hamilton Powell: Personally, I like having a watch collection which represents both vintage and modern, as I think there are things we can learn from both. I definitely like to switch it up between vintage and modern. I’m currently wearing my A Lange & Sohne Lange 1.
I’m definitely attracted to some of the lesser known brands – I love what Max is doing at MB&F; Nomos is an incredible brand that is getting a lot of attention right now (and rightfully so). In addition, I have never worn a Jaeger (either vintage or modern) that I didn’t just love.