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@bazamu On His Reverence for the Classics

In Bezel's exclusive interview, we sit down with the accomplished collector to explore his introduction to the world of watches, his love for the learning curve, plus the most prized watch in his personal collection.


Team Bezel

November 10, 2023


9 min read

If you're into watches, and also enjoy scrolling through the depths of Instagram, you've likely heard of a collector named Rob, who also goes by the name @bazamu. If you haven't, you owe it to yourself to go check out the low-profile aficionado's impressive collection of vintage chronographs, modern complications, neo -vintage icons, and more. Amassed over the last decade, the collection undeniably speaks to a reverence for the classics, as well as a strong faith in watchmaking's future, as evidenced by the presence of several innovative modern references.

In Bezel's exclusive interview, we sit down with the accomplished collector to explore his introduction to the world of watches, his love for the learning curve, plus the most prized watch in his personal collection.

In Conversation with @bazamu

Bezel: How did you get into watches? 

RS: I had always liked watches as a child, but I didn't buy my first watch until I had been working for a year. It was nothing special – a quartz Luminox dive watch – but it reignited an interest that had been dormant for years, and I wore the watch all over the world. 

A couple of years later, I became interested in vintage watches and fell down a rabbit hole of vintage Tudor, Heuer, and Omega. After buying my first few vintage watches, it was all downhill from there, and I eventually branched out into almost all major brands and eras.

Double-take worthy watches from German watchmakers Nomos and A. Lange & Söhne – the Zurich Weltzeit World Time Ref. 807, and the Lange 1 Tourbillon Ref. 704.032

Bezel: As a primarily vintage-focused collector, what boxes does a modern piece have to check to capture your interest?

RS: I prefer modern watches that have classical proportions and design aesthetics above all else. I’ve been collecting for around a decade and already in that time I’ve seen trends ping pong around based on size, manufacture, dial aesthetics, etc. 

If you look at some of the most successful watches historically, the modern design still has a very identifiable through-line to the past. I think that provides a strong argument that the watch will look just as appealing in 50 years as it does today. 

Rob’s Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Ref. 3940G, pictured alongside its original box and papers

Bezel: What was your first watch, and what’s the story behind it? 

RS: Rather than talk about my first watch, I'll share the quick story of the most meaningful watch in my collection. My wife and I were lucky enough to take an extended honeymoon through Asia and Europe, and as we finished the trip in Copenhagen, I came across a vintage "Ed White" Speedmaster in the window of a newly opened vintage shop. 

I didn't know much about Speedmasters at the time, but it seemed special, and I recognized the "straight lug" case. After talking to the shop owner for some time, I told him I would have to think about it before making a decision. My wife and I went straight to a pub around the corner from the shop for some much-needed Wi-Fi access, and I took a crash course on all things Speedmaster until I felt confident that the example in question was legitimate. 

After some negotiation, I ended up buying the watch for $5,000, which was a princely sum back in 2014 - both for me and for a Speedmaster - and the rush that I felt from the whole experience was palpable. It sent me on a quest to find other watches "in the wild," and it's still the most important watch in my collection to this day.

The "honeymoon Speedy," credited with sparking @bazamu's drive to hunt for watches.

Bezel: What was it about the Speedmaster specifically that spoke to your collecting tastes? 

RS: Before even mentioning the design of the watch itself, I think it’s important to acknowledge the immense history of the Speedmaster, and most notably its usage by NASA astronauts during the space race years. It has played a central role in many historical events (such as helping the Apollo 13 astronauts return home safely) and it’s probably the watch that most people associate with the brand.

Beyond the historical merits, it’s just an incredibly well designed watch. Great proportions, robust and beautiful movements (particularly the Caliber 321 used in early Speedies), and simple enough that it looks good in just about any social setting. Even a decade later, the Speedmaster’s pull on me is just as strong as it used to be. 

Duelling A.Lange & Söhnes – the Lange 1 "Darth" Ref. 101.035 alongside a matching 1815 Chronograph Ref. 414.028.

Bezel: What’s your favorite watch in your collection and why?  

RS: That's a loaded question! If you ask me again in a month, you'll probably get a different answer, but at the moment, I'd have to say it's my A. Lange & Sohne Lange 1 "Darth" Reference 101.035. I have become relatively obsessed with Lange as a brand, and the Darth was the reference I originally fell in love with back in 2019. To be honest, the appeal of Lange as a brand eluded me until I had a chance to try on a friend's Darth, which he was fortunate enough to acquire before a subsequent run-up in prices in 2020 and 2021. 

It took me over three years to find my own example, but I was lucky enough to buy a Darth in early 2023 from a friend in Germany. He had purchased the watch from the original owner a few years prior, and the watch also had interesting provenance, as it was purchased while at sea aboard the M.S. Europa –  the highest-rated luxury cruise ship at the time. I'll confess that I'm not much of a cruise person, but my example may be the only Darth purchased on the open ocean!

From the vintage corner, an early reference 6239 Rolex Daytona

Bezel: That watch has appreciated quite significantly over the last few years – do you approach collecting from the perspective of investment or are you more so passion-driven? 

RS: This is always a loaded question, but I think it should be discussed more honestly without the old school, “pure” collectors getting their pitchforks out! As the years have gone on, I have become less willing to compromise on a few aspects prior to purchasing a watch - condition (most important), rarity (no, a limited edition with 7,000 examples is not “rare”), and depth of market (basically, how easy it would be to sell the watch if I had to do so). The longer I’ve collected, the more the average price paid has increased, so I think it is less about “investing” and more about ensuring that you are spending your money wisely.

If you collect long enough, you realize that you can’t keep everything. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying to check as many of those pre-purchase boxes as possible, and if you do it right, it often leads to a positive result if the watch sadly must be sold. 

The mechanical inner workings of Rob's Patek Philippe Aquanaut, Omega Speedmaster, and A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Tourbillon.

Bezel: Can you share 3 must-have watches listed on Bezel right now?

RS:   With pleasure.

1. Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time Ref. 5164R-001

2. Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Ref. 310.

3. A. Lange & Sohne Lange 1 Ref. 101.030

On the wrist: Tudor's Black Bay 54 Ref. M79000N-0001 – an instant classic if there ever was one.

Bezel: Why do you continue to enjoy collecting watches? 

RS: The thing that keeps me going in this hobby is the thrill of discovering new brands, references, or eras, and the learning curve that accompanies each. I wouldn't describe myself as an academic, but when it comes to watches, I find true joy and curiosity in new personal "discoveries." 

Perhaps the most interesting thing that I've noticed over the years is that I've come around on many watches that I previously dismissed or overlooked. Often, it's a watch that I've seen on Instagram or even in person for years but never cared enough to learn about...until the day that I do. Once that happens, there's a steep learning curve to start climbing! As evidence of this, I just purchased a very exciting neovintage watch from a brand that I knew virtually nothing about at this time last year. 

There's so much to explore in the world of watches, and I can't wait to see where the hobby takes me in the years to come.

Have someone in mind that you'd like to see featured?  Interested in submitting a story of your own?

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- Isaac Wingold


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