What was the last watch you bought?
A watch I’ve been waiting a little while for, Christopher Ward’s The Twelve. It’s a kind of redemption piece for me actually, as I previously owned a Royal Oak back when it was cheap and unpopular, but I sold it and have since been unable to buy it back. The Twelve brings an impressive amount of that watch’s quality back to me for a price that made it almost an impulse buy.
Do you collect anything outside of watches?
Up until very recently, I didn’t even collect watches. That is to say, I had a one-in, one-out system as typically I wanted to put all my eggs in one basket. But the net result of that has been selling multiple watches and regretting it, so I’ve started keeping them. And now I have ten. So outside of watches I have passions like cars and hi-fi, but I just have one of each. Otherwise it’s going to get (more) expensive!
What’s at the top of your wishlist?
The absolute do-all, be-all watch for me is the MB&F Legacy Machine LM101. Classic looks and skilled watchmaking from Kari Voutilainen, combine with a peppering of crazy from MB&F and a little splash of water-resistance too. If I had that watch I would wear it every single day and twice on Sundays.
What is a recent find or discovery?
That would be the lunatic watchmaker Ondřej Berkus, who can best be described as a combination of the Grönefeld brothers and Colin Furze. His approach to watchmaking is wild, unpredictable and wholly unique, and ultimately impressive. He challenges himself at every opportunity, whether it’s connecting two balances together via a differential, working with tantalum, or hiding silly jokes in the engravings. It’s so much about the challenge for him that he only makes one of every piece.
What inspires you?
In Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy, he describes a machine that shows its user their scale and significance against the universe. It’s a torture device, basically, and I’m sure in that context my reaction would be equally as pained, however back here on Earth it’s the sheer scale of the universe that really gets under my skin. I enjoy taking pictures of deep space objects and learning about their scale, not just in size but time as well, and rather than make me feel insignificant, it makes me realise how small the challenges I face really are and gives me energy to push on.
What is a book, podcast or album that changed the way you think?
Right, so when I was a kid, the first album I ever owned was Spice World by the Spice Girls. To be clear, that wasn’t the one that changed my thinking. I wanted it because that’s what everyone had and so I wanted to fit it. But then my stepdad gave me a cassette tape that made me realise that there was something greater than blending in. It was Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd. It was a transportive experience, even as a completely sober child, and probably the closest I’ll ever feel to someone who was born blind being able to see. That album opened my mind to the idea of possibilities beyond the norm.
Who is a celebrity or person of note you admire?
Anyone who has had a hand in the exploration of space gets my utmost admiration. It’s corny to talk about The Right Stuff, but I often think about the incredible risks the early astronauts went through and just how composed they were about it. There are countless examples of high stakes situations on the precipice of going very wrong that were recovered with a cool head, smart thinking and good teamwork. I think the exploration of space has stood out above all the terrible things that humans have done as their biggest redeeming quality.
What would we always find in your fridge?
Cheese. A lot of cheese. I have a cheese shelf dedicated entirely to cheese.
What is a rule or mantra you live by?
Never say never. Because it just might.
What does the year ahead looks like for you?
Honestly? Insane. Terrifying. Exciting. This next year is going to be a defining one for me, the make or break. I’m pushing myself outside my comfort zone. Think a new-born foal’s first sky dive. It could all go horribly wrong. But I’m going to give it a go anyway.
Watch The Talking Hands on YouTube.