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 are speaking with Patrick Bek, one of the founders of Uniform Wares. Read on to learn about his first watch, what he sees in the classic Rolex Oyster case, and what particular Rolex reference he hopes to pick up some day.

aBlogtoWatch (ABTW): Who are you, and what is your relationship to the watch industry?

Patrick Bek: I am a co-founder of the British watch brand Uniform Wares. We create watches with an emphasis on character and distinction through intelligent design, not branding. The collection is the result of our design and development background, underpinned by the manufacturing expertise provided by our collaborative international factories. We sell via our website and a roster of international design and fashion stores.

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ABTW: When did your fascination with watches start?

Patrick Bek: I think it started when I was a child. My grandmother gifted me a watch that she’d found on the street some days earlier. It was a 1970s Rotary with a red, square LED display and integrated bracelet that had been machined down to an unusual finish that had the appearance of a gold textile. It was nothing particularly special, but I found its construction fascinating. I proceeded to then take the watch apart, which was something that I did with most objects at that age.

ABTW: What was your first grail watch?

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Patrick Bek: I must admit, I don’t own or wear watches from any other brand but my own at this point. That said, for a number of years now, I have felt the desire to own a Rolex Datejust from 1982, which is the year I was born. It’s ref. 16030, and my favourite version has a near-perfect warm grey dial.


Image credit: CubbiePants on

ABTW: What drew you to this particular watch?

Patrick Bek: Since designing watches, particularly during the case-modelling stage, I have noticed just how difficult it can be to not arrive at a form that echoes the architecture of the Oyster case. It’s at this point in the design process where the ergonomics of the piece undergo the most scrutiny and it’s testament to the Oyster case that it is a form that can be so successfully, and simply, scaled up or down to suit a number of wrist sizes. Moreover, it is neither masculine nor feminine, yet it would never look out of place in either context.

Of course, there are a number of iterations of the Datejust to choose from, and besides 1982 being the year of my birth, this particular reference features my all-time favourite bracelet, the Jubilee, plus the signature fluted bezel. To get a little nerdy, there’s also a lot of history to love. The Datejust was the first automatic watch with an auto-changing date and, of course, the “Rolex-first” cyclops lens. Lastly, the 36mm sizing, whilst sounding small, works well for me. Rolexes wear a little large, and I think on the wrist, it’s the perfect every-day luxury watch.


ABTW: It sounds like you have considered this Rolex for some time – have you had a chance to purchase one?

Patrick Bek: I considered purchasing the watch for my 30th birthday but refrained. As a founder of a brand that I’m incredibly proud of, I feel it’s important to represent it!

ABTW: That is not an uncommon sentiment that we hear. Are there any other watches that have grabbed your attention?

Patrick Bek: I’m currently wearing a prototype watch that we’ve recently created, our first with an in-house designed steel bracelet. My business partner and I are always wearing a prototype of some kind which provides us with enough on-wrist excitement day-to-day that we try not to think too much about grail watches outside our collection.


ABTW: Ah, but you do still think about them. Do you still plan to pick up the Datejust, or perhaps something else?

Patrick Bek: I have plenty of time to purchase my grail, maybe I’ll wait until my 40th birthday instead. I also love a number of Gerald Genta designed watches; at the top of that list is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak.

Image credit for the Rotary photos goes to Jenny Lewis.

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