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Wind Vintage’s Eric Wind On Hunting for Rare Watches

In Bezel's exclusive interview, we sit down with the vintage watch dealer to explore his introduction to the world of watches, his love for the Rolex Explorer, plus the most prized watch in his personal collection.


Team Bezel

October 27, 2023


11 min read

Eric Wind is the owner of Wind Vintage – a watch dealing outfit founded in 2017, committed to offering high quality vintage and modern watches at a variety of price points. Prior to founding his own company, Wind notably served as Vice President, Senior Specialist of Watches for Christie's, and wrote HODINKEE's now-discontinued Bring a Loupe column.

In Bezel's exclusive interview, we sit down with the renowned vintage watch dealer to explore his introduction to the world of watches, his love for the Rolex Explorer, plus the most prized watch in his personal collection.

In Conversation with Eric Wind

Bezel: How did you get into watches? 

EW: My first watch was a G.I. Joe digital watch that featured a compass on the rubber strap. I was around 5 years old and was mesmerized by how cool it was. I enjoyed watches through high school and college, but my first mechanical watch was a vintage Hamilton Neil that my mom gave me after her parents passed. It was right before my senior year in college at Georgetown, and I was hooked! About a month after that, I came across a site called HODINKEE and first heard about and saw vintage watches like the Rolex "Paul Newman" Daytona and Rolex "James Bond" Submariner, which captured my imagination and heart.

Great vintage watches tell a story and have a soul that modern watches do not, so I was thrilled to begin studying them relentlessly in my free time in college and then as a young professional. A short time after that, in 2010, I became one of the earliest outside contributors to HODINKEE, and five years after that, I joined Christie's as Vice President, Senior Specialist of Watches. I never thought watches would become my profession, but I am thrilled to be doing what I do now since I started Wind Vintage with my wife, Christine, in 2017.

Eric wears a modern Zenith El Primero Original Ref. 18.3200.3600/69.C901
cased in 18k rose gold, available here.

Bezel: Despite being primarily focused on all things vintage, are there any modern references / watchmakers that have caught your eye as of late? 

EW: A grail watch for me is a Philippe Dufour Simplicity. I am privileged to have met Mr. Dufour on a few occasions and to have visited him at his workshop in the Vallée de Joux. It was one of the most extraordinary days I have had in watches. I sold a 37mm Simplicity in the early days of COVID, right before the values went through the roof on those, and it is certainly one of my regrets to have not kept it.

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

EW: It is difficult to say which watch is my favorite - it's like naming a favorite child - but the watch I have been wearing the most lately is my Rolex Explorer II reference 1655. I’ve been searching for one for my personal collection for years, and just a few months ago, I came across an excellent and unpolished example that also happened to be an early one with straight seconds hand from the original family. I absolutely love it, and it is hard for me to wear any other watch these days.

Eric wears a rare Patek Philippe Aquanaut Ref. 5165A-001
, available here.

Bezel: What’s the best advice you could give to new collectors just getting into the game? 

EW: My advice is “buy what you know,” not the common “buy what you love” mantra. Too many people buy watches without understanding them and then learn later they were ripped off and bought something with incorrect parts at too high of a price. You should definitely “buy the seller” - but it is also important that the seller educate you about what you are purchasing.

Wind lecturing at the Horological Society of New York.

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

EW:   I am looking for a great Patek Philippe reference 3940 in platinum that is an early example with a second series dial. I absolutely love the 3940 and feel it is always a home run. It's not a watch I would expect to wear daily in the humidity of Florida and with three children under the age of 10 at home, but I would love to be a custodian of one of these.

I am always looking for great, unpolished Rolex Explorer reference 1016s - whether gilt or matte dials. I feel that the 1016 is the perfect one-watch collection.

Last, I am a huge fan of the early Heuer Skippers, particularly the references 7754 (known as the "Skipperera") and 1564. I have bought and sold four different Skippereras, but would love to add one to my collection one day.

Eric wears the sought-after Rolex Daytona Ref. 116500LN-0001, available here.

Bezel: What is it about the Explorer that speaks to you so deeply?

EW: There is a beautiful simplicity to a vintage Rolex Explorer I, whether a 1016 or an earlier example like a 6350 or 6610. It’s always a home run and I think it is a perfect one-watch collection. There is a reason that Ian Fleming wore it as a daily watch during his life and even had James Bond wearing one in the books! Imagine if Sean Connery had borrowed an Explorer from Albert “Cubby” Broccoli during the filming of the James Bond films…

Eric speaks on a Dubai Watch Week panel in NYC.

Bezel: Why do you continue to enjoy collecting watches? 

EW: Watches are ultimately about storytelling - the story of the development and design of the watch itself and, for vintage watches, the story of where the watch may have been over the years. If I ever stopped loving watches, I would need to find another profession because my passion helps me find outstanding examples of beautiful watches in my treasure hunting around the world. The problem is always trying to balance what I feel I need to keep in my personal collection versus the daily demands of running a business buying and selling watches! I try not to get too crazy for my own supply, and finding an appreciative and loving owner for the watches we sell is always gratifying.


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