Interview with Adam Craniotes, the Founder of International Watch Collectors’ Group RedBar

Adam Craniotes

Adam Craniotes, founder of collectors’ group Redbar, is the kind of character I recommend you meet in person because, judging by this short interview, his passion for all things in life is infective. Whether it be watches, cars or The Hoff.

What was the last watch you bought?

“The last watch I bought was a limited- edition NASA-themed G-Shock. What can I say, I love G-Shock. I think I have around 70 or 80 now. (I should probably count them.) The last mechanical watch I acquired was the MB&F M.A.D. 1 Red.”

Do you collect anything outside of watches?

“Outside of watches I collect knives. As with my watches I have cheap ones and expensive ones, and just as I wear all of my watches, I use all of my knives. No ‘safe queens’ in my collection.”

MB&F M.A.D. 1 Red

MB&F M.A.D. 1 Red

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

“Without a doubt Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books have had the greatest influence on me, and in particular my sense of humour. Given that I view a sense of humour as the defining trait of any human being, it goes without saying that Mr Adams has been absolutely vital to my development as a person.”

What’s your ideal long weekend?

“My ideal long weekend would be spent at my rapidly deteriorating country house blowing up shit with my kids. (I have a flame thrower and lots of fireworks.)”

Isotope HydriumX “Will Return”

Isotope HydriumX “Will Return”

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

“Other than a watch, I suppose I would like a perfectly restored 1986 Mercedes- Benz 560 SEL in anthracite/grey leather to match the one I grew up with. My father and I did silly things with that poor car. A recent find/discovery? In terms of watches, I’m quite taken with the small independent British brand, Isotope. Their Hydrium X ‘Will Return’ is pure, cheeky fun, and like pretty much every other watch in the brand’s collection, it offers tremendous quality for the money.”

What would we always find in your fridge?

“Seltzer. There’s always seltzer in my fridge. Basically, it’s the only way my wife can ensure that I drink enough water to offset the booze.”

1986 Mercedes- Benz 560 SEL

Mercedes- Benz 560 SEL 1986

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

“I love David Hasselhoff. It may seem weird, being that I’m not German (mein Gott, they REALLY love him over there), but I just dig how he has embraced his cheesiness and built a career for himself by simply being, well, himself. Clearly he’s having fun, and when you get right down to it, that’s what we should all be doing. Also, Knight Rider was/is my favorite television show, so there’s that too.”

What inspires you?

“Anyone and anything that is truly original. I’m not interested in the folks who came later and polished the turd – I’m here for the actual turd. To this end, watchmakers like MB&F, Urwerk, and Ressence spring to mind. (And no, I don’t think that their watches are turds.)”

Urwerk UR100
Ressence Watches Type 8

Urwerk UR100/Ressence Type 8

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

“The one mantra I live by is also spelled out on a rubber bracelet that I wear on my left wrist: ‘Harden The Fuck Up’. It’s a not-so subtle reminder that in life sometimes you’ve gotta make someone eat shit, and sometimes you’ve gotta be the one eating the shit. In either scenario, just harden the fuck up and get on with the business of doing what has to be done.”

Adam is the founder of RedBar Group “The collectors perspective blog”. More details at RedBar.

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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.