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By Appointment With: Roy Davidoff, vintage watch doyen

Roy and Sacha Davidoff or the Davidoff brothers, live and breathe the fine watch industry – as fourth generation watch mavens, it’s in their DNA.

The Davidoff brothers. Copyright (c) Tribu Magazine
The Davidoff brothers. Copyright (c) Tribu Magazine

Specialising in various epochs (from 1940-1980), they travel to every corner of the globe, sourcing the finest quality antique watches – that are easily worn by 21st century gentlemen – to trade under one roof, back home in Geneva.

“Their goal is to assist clients in the discovery and understanding of these highly sought-after treasures whether a first time buyer, aficionado or seasoned collector.”

Switzerland is synonymous with horology, so when we had the opportunity to gain insight to the watch world we couldn’t resist, and who better than Roy Davidofff!

TCS: Who do you work with?

RD: That is our secret.

TCS: In a country steeped in horological history, may you describe the current watch scene in Switzerland?

RD: Swiss watches have always been an exported luxury product. Unlike Swiss cheese and Swiss chocolate for which we are the highest consumers per capita. The most important activity in Switzerland regarding watches, besides manufacturing, is retail aimed at tourists, the SIHH, Baselworld and the Geneva watch auctions, but again these involve few locals. Similar to our business, which for the most part is based internationally.

TCS: Which direction do you see the watch industry going, in the next 5 – 10 years? More collectors, more record breaking auctions, more fashion houses selling watches?

RD: We have seen the market already adjust itself, meaning that buyers are becoming more demanding of value over time and falling less and less for marketing gimmicks.
Generally buyers are paying more attention to second hand values, meaning they do not want to spend money on watches that will greatly depreciate after purchase.
This trend has hurt many niche brands that did not offer core values, either mechanically or design.
Larger brands have also seen a re-centering of their core collections and brand identity, as many had strayed away from the original designs that had made them a success in the first place.
We anticipate more conservative production quantities, less useless novelties, more relevant and qualitative innovation, and most importantly a return to a time where Swiss watches were rare and sought after.

TCS: What are the last 3 books you read/3 films you watched/3 albums you streamed or 3 podcasts you downloaded, that you enjoyed?

RD: Books – books about watches, which I use perpetually as references
Films – Hidden Figures, Fantastic Beasts, Dr Strange
Podcasts – TED and TEDx, any features about technology

TCS: Favourite watch maker? Watch model? Watch design?

RD: I will name my favorite watches and why.
Speedmaster: first watch on the moon, and before that first watch with an outer tachymeter scale.
Submariner: First commercial success for a diving watch with a rotating minute bezel and worn by James Bond in the original movies.
Royal Oak: Gerald Genta design, that set up steel watches as luxury watches.

TCS: What is the most interesting watch repair or restoration you completed, that was initially deemed impossible to repair or restore?

RD: I am not personally a watchmaker. And we do not restore, but rather preserve.

TCS: What motivates you to stay in this role and industry?

RD: The continued learning, teaching and sharing of watchmaking history will remain a part of our life for the foreseeable future. This has been in our DNA as long as we can remember.

TCS: Anything else you’d like to tell us before we go?

RD: Any downturn can spell opportunity if you have the perseverance and right attitude