Sandro Fratini, Italian watch collector and author of the book My Time, is known for his massive collection of over 2,000 vintage watches with an estimated total value of 1 billion Euros. Taking the opportunity at VO Vintage, we asked him some questions that plague new and old collectors alike.
Sandro Fratini with son, Giulio
For someone with such a vast collection, what else are you on the lookout for?
Simply put, I’m still looking for that watch I still haven’t found. I’m a dreamer and I think that somewhere, somehow, there is a watch I don’t own yet and that is the one I’m always looking for.
In your opinion, what era produced really great timepieces and what brands excelled?
For me, the period that gave us the highest production craft was between 1940 to 1950. This decade also best represents me as a collector, with special timepieces from Patek Philippe, like the 1518 (the first to combine the complications of a perpetual calendar and a chronograph) and the Rolex 6062.
Can you give some tips for those who are starting to get into the hobby?
Everything is more complicated these days as there’s no specific place to go to find watches. The world is the stage where the research takes place and the market trend is decided by retailers, and of course, by the interest that buyers show during auctions all around the world. For the new generation collection, I would suggest to focus on the feeling they get from the watch, rather than its market valuation and retail price.
Which vintage models would be best to buy now?
I would advise to buy those that have less market demand and lesser value. For example, the Rolex Prince or maybe a rectangular-shaped Patek Philippe.
Vintage watches at VO Vintage
What challenges do you face in collecting vintage watches?
Maybe the only challenge is the one against time… You have to be quicker than other collectors if you want to be the first to buy the timepiece of your choice!
Are you interested in any of the newer makes?
Regarding newer watches, I have a great interest in Audemars Piguet because I think they represent everything I like in a wristwatch – in terms of aesthetic and mechanical standards. The Gérald Genta design for the Royal Oak is something really amazing.