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Sam Lerner on His Love for Watches

In our exclusive interview, we sit down with Sam to explore the origins of his love for watches, the current focal points of his collection, and the grail watch that's captivated his imagination as of late. ‍


Team Bezel

April 21, 2023


8 min read

There's an undeniable allure to the world of luxury watch collecting – the intricate designs, the storied heritage, and the fascinating characters who inhabit this realm. Our friend Sam Lerner – the American actor best known for playing Geoff Schwartz over 10 seasons on ABC's The Goldberg's – is no stranger to that draw, having navigated the world of watch collecting with an unwavering sense of dedication and curiosity. 

Over time, his fascination with the craftsmanship, history, and personal stories behind each watch has only grown, fuelling a deep appreciation for the art of watchmaking.

In our exclusive interview, we sit down with Sam to explore the origins of his love for watches, the current focal points of his collection, and the grail watch that's captivated his imagination as of late.

In Conversation with Sam Lerner:

B: How did you get into watches? 

SL: It all started with a steel Rolex. For as long as I can remember, I’d always wanted one, and always thought anyone I saw wearing a Submariner or even an Oyster Perpetual was the coolest person in the world. My interest in Rolex sports watches evolved into a fascination with their mechanics and distinct features, plus the craftsmanship that goes into each one. I’m definitely hooked.

At home with friends in Los Angeles, Sam wears the Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41.

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

SL: My first watch was a Cartier Tank, generously given to me by my uncle after graduating high school.  I absolutely loved it – it felt like a little piece of history, and I was particularly enamored with the blue sapphire cabochon on the winding crown.

Sam wears an oversized, vintage Cartier Tank Gondole.

B: Have you ever worn anything from your personal collection while shooting?

SL: Not yet. Throughout shooting the Goldbergs I wore a little battery-powered Swatch on a rubber strap, though I did just get new headshots wearing some pieces from my collection! It’d be great to work on a super high attention to detail project where a watch was given special consideration. 

B: What’s your favorite watch in your collection? 

SL: It’s a tossup between my vintage Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675, or my Patek Philippe Aquanaut

The 1675 really feels like a tank – just a perfect, timeless watch that’s been through a lot, and can continue to go through a whole lot more. 

And the Patek because it’s so beautiful and to-the-point. The way the light hits the dial and plays off its details makes me happy every time I look at it.

Two of Sam's favorite watches – his vintage Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675, alongside the Patek Philippe Aquanaut Ref. 5167A-001.

B: Has your taste in watches changed since you first started collecting?

SL: Definitely. I’d say my interests have shifted towards more iconic, pioneering designs that have really stood the test of time – like the Royal Oak. I think as you get a little deeper into collecting, your appreciation for more significant and timeless designs naturally develops further. I’ve also gotten deeper into vintage watch collecting over the years, learning to really appreciate the unique characteristics of specific examples. 

Out and about with a vintage Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675 "Pepsi" on the wrist.

B: Why do you continue to enjoy collecting watches? 

SL: I’d say a big part of my continued interest is just how deep watch collecting goes. Between the history of the craft and the unique functionality of each and every watch there’s just so much to dig into. I haven’t even scratched the surface

Rolex's all-new GMT-Master II for 2023.

B: Can you share 3 watches in your Wants on Bezel right now? 

SL: I need the new yellow gold GMT-Master II on the Jubilee bracelet that Rolex just announced. It’s perfect. Apart from that, I’ve got my eye on a Daytona as I’ve still yet to own one, along with a vintage “Root Beer” GMT-Master. 

B: The new GMT-Master II definitely caught our eye in the office, as well! Is there a particularly special “grail” watch you’re after in addition to those already mentioned? 

SL: Right now I’m looking for a Rolex Explorer Ref. 1016 retailed and signed by Tiffany & Co. Between the arabic numerals, retailer signature, and the overall subtlety of the design for a watch so rare, the watch has it all. Taking its rarity into account, it’s the sort of piece I’d probably save for special occasions. 

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- Isaac Wingold, Senior Editor


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