The Horological Minute

With The Horological Minute, Eric Ku and 10 Past Ten engage in a fascinating dialog with collectors and members of the watch industry, as they discuss anything and everything about watches. Think of it as the Proust Questionnaire for the watch aficionado.

Mark Cho
Today we bring to you an interview with unquestionably one of the best dressed men in Asia, or the entire world for that matter- Mark Cho. Mark is one of the co-founders of the Armory, a group of classic menswear stores in Hong Kong and New York, as well as co-owner of Drake's, a ties, shirts and accessories brand based in London. (Amongst other things, you may know them from their Hodinkee tie collaborations) Any well dressed man knows that its all in the details, and being no exception, Mark is a watch connoisseur and lover and you can be sure that he always has something special on the wrist. We recently sat down with him to have a chat about vintage watches for this week's Horological Minute.

What was your first watch?

First new watch was a high school graduation present, blue dial Omega Seamaster. I was deciding between that and a TAG Kirium. Looking back, I am very glad I picked the Seamaster. I think the late 90's era Seamasters are an Omega classic, and they age nicely. I had a customer with the same watch but in automatic, the markers go a very deep orange while the bezel fades to a pale blue if you use it outdoors a lot. Surprisingly, the dial remains a fairly deep blue.

What was your first vintage watch?

First vintage watch was from my first big paycheck (my previous paychecks were tiny and crap). I walked by a second hand dealer and spotted an Omega Chronostop, grey dial, I knew nothing about anything at the time but I found it incredible attractive. I remember it took the salesperson forever to wind it to the right date since it has no quick-set.

What was the last watch you bought?

Rolex Antimagnetic from the 40's. I missed my chance on a Vacheron Constantin 4072 from the 40's, single owner and in mint condition and since then, I've been obsessed with 2 register chronographs. Patek 130 is a grail for me.

Do you prefer vintage or modern?

Vintage, primarily because of the size, partly for the value. I rarely wear anything over 36mm, I don't own anything over 40mm. Watches have become way too big, it's ok on some men but on a lot of men it can look clumsy. It amazes me how few 36mm watches are left in the market. 38mm is the new women's size??

Can you remember your last great meal? Where was it and what did you eat?

There's a great little place in Florence near Via De Fossi, whose name escapes me, but is essentially The Armoury's canteen when we're there. Really wonderful, friendly owners, great food and I only go there with my colleagues and my friends so the company is always enjoyable. It's a classic Italian restaurant with a somewhat famous chef and they do a myriad of wonderful standards; the bistecca is fantastic, the tagliata is amazing, etc, but believe it or not, they do a great chicken curry and so that's what I ate.

Do you remember what watch you were wearing?

Grand Seiko SBGW033 - the re-issue of the original Grand Seiko from the 60's. One of the most underrated watches of all times and arguably one of the best re-issues I've ever seen, too. Exact same case size and proportions, just with a modern movement and a sapphire crystal.

What do you love about vintage Rolex?

The look is fantastic and they covered so many bases. The tool watches, like the Subs, Explorers, GMTs, etc keep a totally fuss free appearance. No flash, no embellishment, just reliability. Then you have Day-Dates, which are beautiful pieces, especially in the configurations with the dauphine hands. They are so elegant and yet with the day window and the extra thickness over a typical dress watch of the time, they appear very purposeful and masculine as well.

Strap or bracelet?

Strap. I worked on a nice collaboration with the strap maker, Jean Rousseau. We made some straps out of Drake's tie silk, but we lined it and backed it in leather and also reinforced all the pressure points in leather to help the durability. Took a lot of prototypes to get there! You can find it on The Armoury's online store.


Explorer. It was my first Rolex. Michael Drake (the former owner of Drake's) always wanted an Explorer and he asked me to help him get the newly released 39mm version. While I was trying to find it for him, I handled the 36mm version and was smitten. A perfect "one-watch" candidate.

What do you want to see come out from Rolex at the next Basel Fair?

A new Oysterquartz in 36mm?

Can you tell us about the most interesting watch you’ve ever found/owned?

One of my favourites in my collection is a Patek Nautilus 3800 in stainless steel with a rare service dial and hand combo. I love the Nautilus and the 3800 is the underdog of the family. A little too small to be that popular and it has a center seconds hand, which to me has always been antithetical to the zen, two hand, Nautlius look. Furthermore, the dial is not the iconic stripes with applied markers but a flat sunburst instead. I absolutely love it, it's the only bracelet watch I wear.

What's on your wrist today?

A Lange 1815 Up/Down, white gold, navy dial

The Horological Minute
feat. Joshua Ganjei
This week we bring to you an interview with Joshua Ganjei, a second generation watch dealer based in Boston, MA. Joshua got his start in the business early, causing trouble at the European Watch Company store at a very young age. Eight years ago, he officially joined the family business. The European Watch Company has been a fixture on Newbury Street in Boston for over 25 years, and was started by Joshua's father Albert. In the store they carry a fine selection of both new and vintage watches. Joshua's real passion lay with vintage watches, as he as worked hard to expand their business in that area with his knowledge of various different brands, not just Rolex. A genuine vintage enthusiast, we're proud to have Joshua as this week's Horological Minute.
Read The Interview
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