Collector’s Spotlight: Xavier and Sam
Our latest Collector’s Spotlight features Xavier (@knights.watch on IG) and Sam (@samandherwatchbox on IG), a couple who share everything, including their love for watch collecting.
I thought it would be fun to have you guys on and talk about how you met, how you got into watches. So how did you guys meet?
Sam: We met in high school in class, and we just became really good friends right away. Then as time went on he kind of confessed that he had a thing for me. And I was like, “No, you can’t do this, you can’t ruin this friendship!” But he won me over, we started dating, and the rest is history!
That is awesome! So how long have you guys been together?
Sam: Five years and counting.
And how many of those years have you guys been doing the watch collecting thing?
Sam: Well, I’ve been into watches for a very long time. But it wasn’t until we got together and realized we have another thing in common. We realized, “Oh, we can be obsessed with the same thing at the same time.” Recently, we even started sharing each other’s watches.
That’s so cool that you guys share that. So, you both had a thing for watches to begin with, and then…
Xavier: I think Sam was more undercover about it. I was in class, and on my Facebook groups, and looking at watches online, and just, all things watches. I was known in my friend group as the guy who looks at watches all day. I didn’t really know Sam was into watches, but when we started dating I gave her a couple of watches, and she already had some of her own, and then she started to buy more watches. That started to happen for both of us, especially in high school. I didn’t have a lot of funds, and I would sneak out of class for five minutes and bid on eBay for, like, a $2 watch from China. But once I actually got a job after high school that summer I was able to get my first real watches, a Tudor and a Zodiac Sea Wolf. That’s when it started getting to be real collecting with mechanical pieces.
Sam: Same thing. How I knew we were going to be a good thing: I would ask prior relationships for a watch for Christmas or a birthday. They would never get me one because they thought it was stupid for me to wear a watch, and then I asked Xavier one Christmas for a watch, and he said, “Yes! You should totally have this watch.” And I thought, “Oh, this is going to work out. You’re helping me with this problem I have.”
Xavier: I think the first watch I gave you was a Coach watch. I know the first automatic watch I gave you was the beige Seiko Five.
Sam: … which you stole and still have.
Xavier: You should have taken that back!
To a certain extent, do you guys egg each other on? Is your passion for this hobby bolstered by each other?
Xavier: I don’t doubt it. Sam almost convinced me a month ago to sell my whole collection for a Moser. She said, “You’re going to love it, it’s an amazing watch”… and I was ninety-nine percent there, but luckily I didn’t, because now I just got some other cool watches. I got the Ophion Velos 786 today.
It’s beautiful; I was looking at it earlier today. The attention to detail on that watch is absolutely incredible.
Xavier: It’s pretty awesome. Honestly, the thing that surprises me most is how well the markers and the hands are polished. It’s like near Zaratsu level, it just catches the light amazingly.
What’s the price point on that watch?
Xavier: Retail for the guilloche version is about $3,500, and then they do a radial brushed one that’s closer to $3,200 or $3,100. Considering, it’s really not bad, and it also has a manually wound movement with a five-day power reserve, which they also customize themselves a little bit, so it’s a pretty cool watch you’re getting.
You don’t see a lot of blue guilloche. The navy blue guilloche paired with the teardrop lugs and the brigade emeralds, that’s a charming watch.
Sam: That was one that I convinced him to get, for sure. I said, “You don’t have a great blue watch. I have many blue watches; you need a good one.” I can be a really good influence, or a really bad one. Sometimes I’m the voice of reason—if he says, “I’m going to sell every watch, I’ll say, why would you do that? You’re going to miss your Zodiac, you’re going to miss your whatever.” And he’ll say, “You’re right.” It’s a double-edged sword for sure. Either I’m really good, or I’m really, really bad.
Xavier: I think the benefit of having a girlfriend who is also into watches is that I don’t have to justify watch purchases. She just says, “Oh, yeah, you should get that one.”
I can’t even imagine that.
Xavier: Exactly! It’s like, “Two grand on a watch, that’s a deal!”
Sam: You see all those memes on Instagram—Wife: You bought another watch?! No, I’m the girlfriend who says, “You bought another watch, that’s amazing. I’m going to steal it, just to let you know, but this is amazing.”
That’s a beautiful thing. I’ve worked all the angles on my wife, but nothing works.
Tell us a little bit about how you guys got into sharing watches. You guys were both watch geeks, and then at a certain point you converged and decided to team up. Like, for the Nomos Tetra “Plum” that you guys bought from us, you went halfsies on that and are now both enjoying it. How did that start?
Xavier: The watch sharing thing is a little bit newer. It started because half the time, whenever Sam’s at my apartment, she’ll just steal a watch of mine, and I’ll say, “Okay, I did not say you could take this, but I guess it’s on your wrist now.” To be fair, I bought her that yellow Doxa 200, and I definitely like taking that one every now and then. So, it was the idea that watches are expensive—if two people buy one watch it becomes less expensive. I think the Nomos is a perfect example of that. It looks good on both of our wrists, purple is one of Sam’s favorite colors, and I don’t have a purple watch either. That was a good gateway drug into trying to share watches more. Now we’re thinking of buying the new Rolex Oyster Perpetual in pink together. We’ll probably be sharing for the foreseeable future.
Sam: When I think about it, it started a lot last year. Because of Covid-19 I was basically living in California for most of the year. I lost my job, and didn’t have school, so I would be hanging out with Xavier all the time. He would be focusing on other things, so I would steal his watch. And he would say, “What are you wearing?” and I’d say, “Oh, this? You were too busy to look at me so I decided to do this, and it looks great on me. I’ll give it back when I’m ready…”
That’s how you get his attention…
Sam: Yeah, it works, every time.
Nice! And I like the exercise of you guys sharing watches, because as a collector, there’s the thrill of the chase, and then once you have the watch it’s a separate feeling, and then it sinks in and you metabolize how cool the watch is. Like, I lent Xavier my Explorer, and once it was gone for a couple of weeks, I remembered how much I love the watch. Sometimes it’s good to spend some time away from a watch to understand how much you connect with it.
Sam: Yeah, it makes you appreciate it more. I had the Nomos first. I had it for three weeks or so, and then I gave it to Xavier this weekend when I was there, and now he’s texting me pictures of it, and saying, “It looks so good, I’m really glad we got it.” And I’m thinking, “Yeah, it’s great, but I really miss it.” I would wear it a lot, whenever I was out. I would put it on and think, “I love this.” But now that it’s gone and I don’t have it to wear, I miss it. It was a good choice to get, for sure.
I think the stars aligned on that watch, because that was one that had been in our showcase, and like Xavier mentioned, Nomos is very pared down, very minimalist, but that watch, with the pop of red on the power reserve and the rectangular case, is very interesting. I always said that someone would come along for it and it would be a perfect match. It took awhile for that to happen, but I couldn’t be happier that it was you guys.
Xavier, you have this interesting taste, you go for watches that are off the beaten path. Obviously, our taste as watch collectors is always revolving, changing, depending on a lot of different things. At this point in your collecting journey, how would you describe your taste, and what is important to both of you individually in a watch, and then collectively? What do you look for together?
Xavier: I don’t have strict guidelines for collecting—if I like it and it fits me, I’ll wear it. There are plenty of watches that might do something unique, it might have a really cool dial texture, or it might have a really cool case hape, or a great movement, like a spring drive. If it has something interesting, and it’s well-made, I’ll probably end up liking it and might have it at some point. The benefit is that once you start getting into watch flipping, you can always sell a watch to get another watch. It’s a slippery slope, but it’s good if you want to have multiple watches. Recently I’ve been trying to find colors. I have black dial watches and white dial watches, and recently I picked up the Seiko Negroni, the new Cocktail Series, which has that really nice red dial. I just got the Seiko Save the Ocean Samurai, which has a nice blue dial to it. This Ophion, which has a blue dial. The Nomos, with the purple dial. And then, the anOrdain, which has the green dial. I’m adding some color because I thought, not every watch needs to be able to fit every situation, and if you have a collection, you can have those pieces that only work with certain outfits, or only work with certain straps, because you have the variety to not have to wear it every day. And talking about how we collectively look at a watch, it first has to fit us both, which usually ends up being under 40mm, because I prefer that size, and then between 32mm and 36 mm usually looks the best on Sam. And then colors. Sam’s a big fan of colors, and I don’t have a lot of colors, so going for a colorful watch makes it good for both of us. That’s my take.
Sam: I agree. I go for whatever catches my eye. Xavier is the one that justifies his watch purchases. I just think, “I like it, I’m going to get it.” That’s just who I am. The last one I got was my light blue Seiko Presage, and the minute I saw it when it came out, I knew I was getting it. If I have that feeling that I know I’m going to like it, I don’t have any reservations about it. Like Xavier said, I do like color. I’m not afraid of color, I like something that has a little pop, especially with whatever I wear. That’s definitely the girl aspect of it. Whatever’s going to look good on me with that outfit. Another aspect I look to is if I can change the strap, because that’s my thing and it’s Xavier’s thing too, to give a different look with whatever I’m wearing. I just changed the strap on my Tudor to a leather strap. It doesn’t come with it, but it looks really good with it, it matches the dial. I always look for things like that. If we’re getting a watch together, something that we can collectively agree on, luckily we have the same taste. Yeah, we can get a purple watch together, that would look really cool, really different. As long as you have fun with it, you love wearing it, I don’t think there’s any other issue with getting it.
It sounds like for both of you guys, the thing that’s most important is that the watch speaks to you. There doesn’t have to be a whole lot of rationalizing. If you like it, you’ll get it and wear it, and if it speaks to you, cool, and if not, you can sell it.
One last question for you guys. We’ve already discussed this a little bit, but what’s your next pick going to be and how are you coming to that decision?
Xavier: I think we’re 90% of the way there on trying to pick up a Rolex Oyster Perpetual in candy pink. The only problem will be trying to find one. So, we’ll see. It’s a process of finding one, and then deciding if we want it. I’ve really wanted a pink dial for a long time, it’s just not common in the industry.
It’ll be interesting to see how you guys go about sharing that one.
Xavier: Well, halfway through the year we’ll be moved in together, so the watches will be in the same place. It will be more like a day to day sharing instead of month to month.
Sam: Every couple has fights. We’re just going to fight over watches.