I first became interested in watches at the age of 12 when my father bought me my first timepiece. Later, I joined a watch group near Stanford University where I would meet with other watch collectors to have lunch, look at watches and listen to lectures from the head of the group, Jeff Kingston, JD, an antitrust attorney and expert on mechanical watches.
In 1978, I met Sol Meller when I first stopped in to buy a watch at Feldmar Watch Company. As I started becoming a more serious collector and came to the store more regularly, Sol and I spent many hours talking about everything—both watch-related and simply life-related. We had a great deal in common, from our Jewish heritage to a shared love for watches. When I visited Sol, he would tell me to stay and then bring in the best corn beef sandwiches on Jewish corn rye for us to enjoy.
Over the course of many years and 100+ high-end watches purchased from Feldmar, Sol and I became good friends. Indeed, he was like a father. He was always very direct and honest about how he felt about things, and he eventually met many of my personal friends. I regularly had dinner with Sol and met his family; once, I even went to hear him play drums with his band at a restaurant in Manhattan Beach. Sol was always so down to earth and supportive, and he did his best to help others in any way he could.
In 2012, I won a trip with my girlfriend to Switzerland to visit Vacheron Constantin, a watch company in Geneva. This trip served to increase my fascination with horology even further. After my return, Sol and I enjoyed many spirited debates about the pros and cons of various watch brands. He always had an opinion, whether he carried the brand in-store or not.
Sol Meller was an amazing person and had a litany of friends, but he always felt like a family member to me. When I heard of Sol’s passing, it was unexpected and incredibly saddening. I will always miss him greatly.
Since his passing, I have continued my interest in watches. I still stop into Feldmar Watch Company regularly and have had many great, sometimes emotional, talks with Sol’s son, Scott, who had just been born around the time Sol and I started getting to know one another. I look forward to enjoying both a hobby and a friendship with this family for another generation.
What a blessing it was to know Sol, a truly exceptional person.