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Interview With Ariel Adams Of aBlogtoWatch On His Personal Watch Collection By Founder Of Crown & Caliber

Interview With Ariel Adams Of aBlogtoWatch On His Personal Watch Collection By Founder Of Crown & Caliber ABTW Interviews

My close colleague Hamilton Powell, who started the pre-owned watch retailer Crown & Caliber convinced me to do something I would normally not – which is to participate in an interview talking about my own personal watch collection. While Crown & Caliber is based in Atlanta, Georgia, he visited me in Los Angeles and wanted me to share a “spread” of my watches including ones from my personal collection, as well as some that I was currently wearing for review.

One of the most ironic parts of my “job” is the conflict between wearing my own watches and those I am currently writing about or otherwise reviewing. I acquire watches that I like or that have meaning to me, but I rarely get to wear them given that much of the time I am wearing watches on loan from watchmakers as part of doing a review, and getting to know both that specific model and the brand overall better. Thus, it was an interesting exercise for me to focus on my personal collection and talk about my own subjective experiences and tastes. I’m typically shy about this because I never want anyone to feel as though they should like something just because I do. I attempt to explain the rationale behind liking or disliking any product, and then hoping that the person listening can make up their own opinion about the item that I am talking about.

Part of the context here is a larger study into the passion and sentiments we have which lead us to get excited about watches. This close examination of watch collecting behavior is salient given the clearly irrational motivation many of us have to spend good money on old technology. The reason we refer to most watches as “luxury items” is not really a function of their price (though it can clearly seem that way). What “luxury” means when I use the term much of the time is more related to “want” versus “need.” The availability or time-telling devices in our regular lives means that we do not need to rely on wrist watches in order to be aware of the time. Moreover, from a cost perspective, wristwatches are infrequently the most efficient way of knowing the time. Thus, our desire for watches is outside of pure need, and thus a “luxury” to varying degrees.

Interview With Ariel Adams Of aBlogtoWatch On His Personal Watch Collection By Founder Of Crown & Caliber ABTW Interviews

This ability for many of us who work hard in life to enjoy luxuries, or thus “some excess above what we strictly need to subsist” is part of what makes life worth living. Surrounding ourselves with “extras” allows us to feel content with the fruits of our labor, and the nature of those extras is directly related to the summation of our personal experiences and education. Luxuries like watches are a funnel for our interests, our tastes, our communication preferences, and our emotional sentiments – and for these reasons their collection, discussion, and enthusiasm continues to be so relevant today.

Interview With Ariel Adams Of aBlogtoWatch On His Personal Watch Collection By Founder Of Crown & Caliber ABTW Interviews

As I write these words, I recognize once again the “threat” of smartwatch technology as it represents the potential of a new rational reason to wear something on the wrist when until recently, and for a good two decades, we could occupy our wrist space with enjoyably irrational items (traditional watches). I, for one, will embrace future technology while at the same time doing everything possible to find as much emotional enjoyment as possible from my interest in mechanical timepieces. None of this is actually what I talk about in the interview video, but I wanted to supplement the healthy discussion in there with some thoughts about watching the video some time after I conducted the interview.


What makes a lot of the newer watch retailers out there that focus on internet-based sales different – no matter if they sell new or used watches – is their more scientific and data-focused take on the sale of timepieces. The challenge many of these retailers face is knowing what timepieces to put in front of the customer’s eyes. A traditional brick-and-mortar store doesn’t have this problem since they are bound by the physical space of their store. Digital retailers have almost limitless capacity to display products, and are bound by the limits of consumers’ attention while browsing. Thus, if you have 30 seconds of someone’s time on your digital storefront, the challenge is in presenting them with something that they personally like.

Given the vast availability of watch brands, models, prices, etc., this can be an incredible challenge. Such a challenge has relied on “artistic solution” in the past, where a skilled “curator” assembles a list of products they hope will appeal to as many people as possible. For the most part today, such techniques for ensuring that consumer attention in a storefront is maintained are difficult to scale. In other words, a store like Crown & Caliber wants to show me specific watches I might like, but ideally a totally different list of watches to their next visitor given their preferences.

Interview With Ariel Adams Of aBlogtoWatch On His Personal Watch Collection By Founder Of Crown & Caliber ABTW Interviews

Granted, the emergent powers-that-be behind internet watch sales aren’t explicitly saying the above issues are those that they are most ardently working on. There are other more immediate challenges they are trying to solve. However, the issue of matching the right set of products with the right customers is a bigger-picture issue they are all pursuing solutions for, even if they aren’t outwardly aware of it.

How does that go back to this interview about my watch collection? When viewing my own collection, I am able to deconstruct my specific desire for each of the watches I own as well as their individual appeal to me. I can break them up into a series of categories and assign them to areas, like “interesting historical watches, interesting Ariel-history watch, original design, reminds me of something I grew up with, acquired at an important time in my life, etc.” Thus, my personal tastes and desire for watches is combined with purely subjective experiences that cannot be predicted or replicated, as well as more objective appreciation of design, construction quality, and mechanical utility. In other words, as long as watches remain items that we love for personal reasons as well as for practical reasons, no technology will likely come close to predicting what we might like to buy next.

Interview With Ariel Adams Of aBlogtoWatch On His Personal Watch Collection By Founder Of Crown & Caliber ABTW Interviews

To me, this means that watch collecting and appreciation, like so many other hobbies of the mind, cannot be entered into or satisfied with any shortcuts. Assembling a collection of watches will always be a very personal endeavor. It will require time in order to educate one’s self about watches while also continuing to have life experiences that allow you to actually acquire them and form emotional bonds with new watches that you get. In my view, that leads me to believe that the Crown & Calibers of the world will need to be as interested in watches as the people they hope to attract as customers. Hamilton Powell is increasingly understanding this, and it is a good sign for any company clearly interested in being useful to people like me who love watches and want the help of good businesses to bring more of them into my life.

This interview is a small snapshot into my personal passion for watches up to this point in my life, and I hope you find things to relate to. So go out there and keep adding to your own watch collection and stories of watch appreciation.



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  • DR


    Thanks for letting us in to parts of your collection, and for sharing some of your reflections on pieces that are significant to you. That said, I found the actual video was like a homework assignment for a digital media class – lots of quick cuts, sweepy and blurry footage and annoying background music. Personally, I’d love to see longer videos where you maybe bring together a few similar watches from your collection to compare and discuss (e.g. chronographs, dress watches, er… calculator watches!). But thanks all the same, I’m sure many of us would be reluctant to share the hits and misses from our collecting journeys!


  • ConElPueblo

    Ariel, what brand is that pocket watch you show in the intro? I have a Molnija that’s pretty similar.

  • MEddie90

    I’d back off with this series, you don’t want Hodinkee to sue 😉

    On a serious note though I really enjoyed this article, based upon Ariels review portfolio I would have guessed at a fairly eclectic set of tastes but this surprised me. A wide mix of sporty, classical and avant-guard pieces from a range of historic and young brands. Personally I tend to prefer collections that are more tightly focused on a particular niche or genre but all in all the range and scope of Ariels watches are impressive.

    Hopefully we can get some more updates as the collection expands and evolves.

  • Bill W

    I am seeing no video here; maybe a problem on my end. Would anybody be willing to type out what’s in AA’s collection?

    • laup nomis

      What add-ons are you using in your browser. Turn them all off, they can play havoc. Then turn them back on after.

      • Bill W

        I saw it on youtube. How many watches do you reckon he has? 45? God bless him.

        • Timestandsstill

          I’m pretty sure that what was shown is but a fraction of Ariel’s complete collection…….yes, pretty gosh darn sure ?

        • Ariel Adams

          I want to make it clear that these watches do not represent my entire collection. I just chose a few to talk about. I don’t feel like cataloging my every watch is necessary or even wise.

          • Bill W

            OK, I want to make it clear that I’m not looking to burgle you. And I assume you don’t own the Jacob & Co., you only had it for review.

          • For the record, when Ariel wrote his book “The World’s Most Expensive Watches”, they were all from his personal collection 😉

          • Juan-Antonio Garcia

            But it would be interesting to read about a collector and its pieces, and why they are there. The story is sometimes more interesting than the piece itself, so that would be nice to share.
            To tell the truth, I enjoy very much the watch reviews you do, because they come with some history attached, not just a generic post.
            My daily fix of “raising from ignorance”.

          • Berndt Norten

            You clock tease, you.

  • laup nomis

    Well you know this is a man who must have a seriously good watch collection if all he talks about are Seiko calculator watch, a Tissot vintage and a LV fashion watch. Brilliant, thoroughly enjoyable.
    We all know Ariel must have some ‘treasures’ but instead he sticks up for a love of watch collecting with reasonably average Joe watches. (Excepting the Seiko maybe).

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Fantastic collection.

  • SuperStrapper

    Interewsting. I’ve seen you with the Sinn before and you’ve had the Campanola a long time. Don’t you have that tourbillion diver anymore?

  • Perhaps this question was answered in the video, but alas, YouTube is blocked at my workplace: How do you store your collection, Ariel? Watchbox? Winder system? Sock drawer? I doubt you keep them kicking around on a silver tray permanently 🙂

    Also, I love that Sinn. EZM 10, yes?

    • laup nomis

      Seems to be ‘any available surface’ 🙂

      • But still better than Arnold Schwartzenegger’s drawer full of Royal Oaks and such, just dumped in together.

    • Ariel Adams

      Yea, that is a Sinn EZM 10. I store them in various places. Nothing too fancy. Various cases, drawers, shelves, etc… I have some grand ideas for better watch storage but it will take some time, effort, and perhaps some engineering.

  • Dinkee, H. O.

    So you start your rip-off series of Talking Watches with an interview of yourself? Where’s the production value? Sad.

    The HO
    Official Horologist to President Elect Trump

    • Marius

      My esteemed colleague,

      You ask about the production value. I ask “Where are the real watches?”
      I had high hopes of seeing some serious watches. Some STEEL STUNNERS. Some HEAVY HITTERS. Some GET-THE HELL-OUT-OF-MY-WAY-YOU-WORM type of watches. Yet, all I saw was a calculator watch and a Citizen. Clickbait.

      I had a long conversation with our friend Archie Luxury about this collection. I can tell you that the Pontiff is not amused. No sir, AC3 is not amused at all.

      • Dinkee, H. O.

        My fellow horological god,

        An excellent point. I am afraid to call The Master because of the tirade that mentioning this video might set off. However I just may call him to get him on Talking Watches. Perhaps he can interview me on my collection? Or you?

    • Dinkee, H. O.

      I wanted to add a tip for Ariel. It is clear for everyone to see that you have started on a ‘roid program as part of your effort to emulate me. Here’s the tip: grow a beard as I do to hide the water retention.

      • Ariel Adams

        Dude, the impression-style comedy act can be funny at times but you go a bit overboard quite often. Keep it clever and poignant when doing these types of jokes. Sometimes it seems as though you actually have nothing to say and are trying a bit too hard to keep the game going. Just be more relaxed about it.

  • Next up, Jean Claude Biver interviews Mark Carson on his Hawaiian shirt collection!

    • LOL – my wife usually buys them as Christmas or birthday presents. An interview with JCB would have to include lots of his cheese (which is great).

      • I went through a Hawaiian shirt phase in high school (’92-’93), it was right after the padded-shoulder jackets and the all-black phases. Good times.

        • They are called “Aloha shirts” out here and never go out of local fashion. Been wearing them since the late 70s I guess. But a T-shirt and cargo shorts are more common for casual wear (which is most of the time anyway). There are the loud “Hilo Hattie” ones you see tourists wearing (too often matching his and hers) and then there are the more refined (it’s all relative) ones from places such as Macys. Aloha.

        • Lincolnshire Poacher

          Did you have the slicked back pony tail hair, and roll up the sleeves of your shiny suit?

          • Nah I don’t have the hair for it! I did however match the general hue of the pants to the “Aloha” shirt’s.

            As for the jackets i didn’t roll up the sleeves, but at least I wore them with tshirts or turtlenecks underneath. That has to count for something right?

  • Ryan B.

    Very nice, but it’s odd to see an inferior Rolex sub mixed with so many fantastic watches when an Invicta Pro Diver would complement the entire collection much better.

    • Ariel Adams

      Is there a joke in there that I am missing?

      • Ryan B.

        Just expressing my love for Rolex.

        Seriously though, very nice collection.

  • Richard Baptist

    great collection, great video. I’ve been looking at that Louis Vuitton diver, prefer it to the newer version. Video should have been longer so you can talk about more watches. I feel we barely scratched the surface here. It was enjoyable more if possible. Thanks

  • LapYoda

    Always great to see some of your personal pieces, Ariel. I noticed the Tag Heuer Carrera Japanese LE that you wore to the Indy 500. I need to show my wife your collection so she doesn’t think I’m going overboard with mine. 🙂

  • smoothsweeper

    Very refreshing. I’m pretty sure Ariel has plenty of high end stuff (or can afford to get them) but he seems very proud of his modest pieces. Before playing the video I was thinking how I don’t need to see another bunch of Rolexes or hear about how *this* Patek is only _ of 10 ever made or whatever. Glad I watched.

  • Fun! I love the breadth of your collection. No snobbery there!

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