Jewelry & Watches

Look: The Watches That Turned This Stylish DJ Into a Collector

The gift of broken Rolex turned into much more.
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When I got engaged to Hannah Bronfman (who is now my wife), a friend gave me a Rolex from his collection—he was embracing an anti-status life and giving away material possessions. This one he found easier to give away than most, because it was broken. We were at dinner at Mr. Chow, and he said he was going to smash it if I didn’t take it. I hadn’t ever held a Rolex before.

It was the experience of restoring this Submariner 16800 that made me an a aficionado. I went to the Rolex store, and it was all brown leather couches and white glove service. They told me that my friend had gone into the ocean with non-Rolex glass on the watch and that it was going to cost $3,300 to fix. Some gift, right? But this was a special piece. Dating from 1989, it featured a unique metal that Rolex used for only a short period of time. If I took care of it, its worth would double. After that, I was hooked.

Then, randomly, my Rolex stopped working again when I landed in Morocco for our wedding weekend. When we got married, Hannah gave me a self-winding Patek Philippe from the 1960s as a gift, and our friend Michael Friedman, who officiated and is a time historian for Audemars Piguet, told me, “That’s funny—time stopped and then it started again when you got married.”


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For a man constantly on the move, a timepiece must stand out in the crowd.

The reason I love the Patek is its simplicity. When I was in my mid-twenties, before I started working as a DJ, I wore all these crazy outfits that in retrospect make me cringe. Now I appreciate the invisible craftsmanship that goes into making a watch: the engineering, the manufacturing, the time that goes into the most delicate parts.

As I grow my collection, I try to find the best, cleanest, and simplest pieces from each brand. I don’t want a flashy watch that will blow people away or the boldest new color—I left that braggadocio in my youth. What I want is a timepiece that will remind me that I’m growing up too, as it’s counting down the minutes. Now I wear my Patek just under the cuff. It’s not broadcasting its presence, but I know it’s there.


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From left to right: Rolex Day-Date 36 ($23,550), Rolex.com; Rolex Submariner ($7,500), Rolex.com; Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Chronograph WT ($14,500), Jaeger-LeCoultre.com; Patek Philippe Calatrava ($22,000), 212-218-1240.

As a collector, I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed, but I’d describe myself as a growing enthusiast. My Sub Rolex is my everyday watch. I feel naked if I don’t have it on. I just got two new watches, too. One is a Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris, which I wear quite a bit, but I never know where or when it will be. It has become more of a weekend watch so far, for when I’m outside the city. Something about the color—it’s brown with a blue dial—calls out for R&R.

The only showy watch I have is a rose gold Rolex I bought myself for my 38th birthday. If I wear all black, I feel it pops, but I wouldn’t wear it daily. It’s really fun. I had had a really good year, and I got a swinging deal on it. And it reminds me of my younger, carefree days. That my wife likes it doesn’t hurt either.

This article appears in the May 2018 issue of Town & Country.

*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com
*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

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Brendan Fallis, as told to Max Berlinger
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