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Horological Journalist Kristian Haagen Talks Double Red Rolexes and Land Rovers

Kristian Haagen

What was the last watch you bought?

A beautiful Cartier Tank Américaine in white gold. I have for many years been looking for a Cartier that fits me well. The classic Tank is too small, the Santos is too big, even the Dumont. The Cintree is the perfect watch, but also way too rich for my pocket. So, when I tried on the Américaine with its attractive curved profile, I knew that it was the one for me. I tried it on in steel, but when I realised that the precious metal version has a date and a subtle guilloche dial, I knew the white gold was the one to go for.

Do you collect anything outside of watches?

My girlfriend would probably say I collect Red Wing boots or waxed jackets (Barbour and Belstaff). But I am less passionate about Red Wing, Barbour, or Belstaff than I am with watches.

What, other than a watch, is at the top of your wish list?

I have two Land Rovers: a 1967 Series 2A and a 2000 Defender TD4. And if talking wish list, I would love Cool & Vintage in Portugal to work on either one – or even better, on both my Land Rovers.

Double Red Rolex Sea Dweller Ref. 1665 circa 1972

Rolex Double Red Sea Dweller Ref. 1665 circa 1972, image credit: Bonhams

A recent find/discovery?

I have been searching for a Double Red Sea-Dweller for a long time. And out of the blue, I was offered a perfect example from 1972 with a military provenance. It has a stunning tropical dial and was bought by a military diver who used it professionally for years until he realized what he owned.

What inspires you?

Driving with the top down in my Land Rover or my motorcycle. That is very zen-like and always frees my mind. The wind in my face and the sun inspires me. Also, I bought a Leica last year, and that has changed how I shoot pictures. I used only to shoot macro (of watches). But now I bring my camera everywhere, and that inspires me to do better and different photography. I recently visited Fotografiska in Stockholm and it also inspired me to shoot in different formats than I am used to.

Brett Easton Ellis The Shards Book

A book/podcast/album that changed the way you think?

Any book of Bret Easton Ellis has had a significant impact on me. Most recently, The Shards. But Douglas Coupland, Charles Bukowski, and Jack Kerouac have also had me read on for hours, days even, and forget everything and everyone around me.

Who is a celebrity/person of note/intellectual you admire?

Whenever John Malkovich appears on my screen, I listen. I have always been a big fan of his, and I recall I once bought an IWC Big Pilot, because I saw him wearing one. He wore it on top of his crisp white shirt sleeve, mind you.

What’s your ideal long weekend?

Packing up the Land Rover or motorcycle (a Yamaha Ténéré from 1987) and driving to our country house. It is a somewhat primitive place surrounded by wild nature. I love it there. Not much else to do there but do garden work, cook over an open fire and enjoy bottles of wine.

Kristian Haagen

What would we always find in your fridge?

White wine. American chardonnay, preferably.

What’s a rule/mantra that you live by?

I don’t live by any rule or mantra. I guess I am very much like my late father: I take it day by day.

What does the year ahead look like for you?

Busier than ever. I do a lot of public talks (on watches), and bookings keep ticking in. Also, I am preparing another book project. I have already published eight books (on watches).

More details at Kristian Haagen.

About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.

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