Diplomat, Watch Collector
We are very happy to publish this interview today. Moncef and I – Anthony – have known each other for many, many years. We have started our financial career together (actually we spent our very first professional years together, in the same company). Then we went our separate ways, in different countries and different banks, but we always remained very closed friends, spending a lot of time talking about nice projects, things we did, things we didn’t but would have loved to do… and watches. I clearly remember the first “nice” watches we bought years ago, more or less at the same period, and our endless discussions at Les Deux Magots in Paris about buying (or not) incredible (and unaffordable for us at that time) watches…
Moncef has always been a real watch enthusiast, and has built up a very eclectic collection of both modern and vintage models, trying to find interesting criteria in each of them.
I would never have imagined, in the early 90s when we first met, to interview him for a 12 Questions Only portrait on a website dedicated to a book I (co-) wrote, but I have to admit that this is very cool 🙂
1. Do you remember your first watch?
Of course. It was a Christmas gift during my first year in middle school. I spent several days choosing it carefully. It was a KELTON, a cheap French brand, but it was so gorgeous for me at that time, with its black dial, 3 nice hands and gold indexes!
2. The 3 most iconic watch models?
That’s a tough question, because many watches could be tagged as iconic… In my opinion, true icons shall entail a disruptive concept leading to an universal recognition. So my trio will be: CARTIER Tank, ROLEX Oyster, and CASIO G-Shock.
3. A noteworthy anecdote with one of your watches?
The very first time I bought a vintage watch was many years ago, in the old souk of Cairo. I used to go quite often in Egypt at that time, and I enjoyed having a walk there, looking for local shops and unusual stuff. I found a small shop specializing in second hand watches (you didn’t call them “vintage” watches twenty five years ago…). There were some nice ROLEX models, and I found a very nice Oyster Precision from the 60s at a bargain price. That was a lucky strike: the watch was perfectly authentic, in perfect condition, but honestly I had no experience to assess it (still don’t have…). I bought it and brought it back in Paris, for a very close friend. I think it was one of his very first vintage watches too… This guy became a Speedmaster enthusiast: he is one of the MOONWATCH ONLY authors! But I’m sure he still owns this Oyster…
Anthony speaking: I confirm I still have it, for sure! And as I have explained in a recent interview, that would be the very last watch I would sell!!
4. Are you more modern or vintage?
I used to like modern watches only, especially toolwatches. That’s why I bought some ROLEX, PANERAI and CASIO G-Shock (that I truly love), to find on my wrist the bit of adventure that is totally lacking in my daily life in Paris… 😉 And the OMEGA Speedmaster fits also very well in this category. Then I became progressively vintage oriented… Many premium brands seem now obsessed in endlessly reediting what they invented 50 years ago… but honestly I prefer going back to the real ones.
5. I love Speedmasters because …
Easy question: it’s a real toolwatch, with a timeless design, a reliable caliber and of course one of the greatest history.
6. Your favorite Speedmaster?
I have to say that my Speedmaster knowledge is still fresh and limited. For the moment, my favorite Speed to wear is the modest 3520.50 automatic triple calendar.
7. A single personal item you would take with you for a long stay on the Moon?
My phone and my earbuds: I’d love to listen to Mozart in the silence of the space.
8. You just won the lottery. Do you first buy a sports car or call a financial advisor?
A sports car, no doubt about that. I mean… as soon as I get my driver license!
9. Where would you spend the next 24 hours if you had a teleporter?
My favorite place: New York City.
10. How many times a day do you watch … your watch?
A lot. Too many times maybe. But watching time passing is the best way to kill time.
11. The last watch you bought?
A CROTON NIVADA GRENCHEN Chronomaster. An awesome chrono from the 1960’s, a kind of Speedmaster smaller sibling.
12. What’s on your wrist today?
My daily wearer is an Apple Watch, a toolwatch of its own kind, fun and convenient!