Sunday, December 19, 2021

A Rōnin's Chronograph

I remember when I first saw it. It winked at me from the pages of iW magazine back at the turn of the century. In one instance it hit every visceral button on my personal control panel -
This is from Auguste Reymond, what is lately referred to as the Jazz Age Chronograph as part of the newly named Tramelan Collection. 

As a civilian watch enthusiast, I was somewhat obsessed with this watch, imagining what it might be like in real life. I left civilian life and entered into the watch business in earnest some 7 years later when I went to work for DOXA, and then got to visit Auguste Reymond's booth while covering BaselWorld in 2012 and 2013 as part of the press corp. And like so many things, with the overwhelming amount of watches and brands that were active at that time, AR took a bit of a back burner position in my mind.

Fast forward to 2015 and my friend Rod Hess and I visited Auguste Reymond the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and there I was shown around the facility, and reintroduced to this wonderful piece (among others).

That visit led to a 2 year project. From 2016 through 2017 I worked with the owners of Auguste Reymond. In the end, the brand was sold, and we went our separate ways. And while it did not turn out the way that any of us wanted, it was a valuable part of my development as a consultant.
For the past eleven years I have been, essentially,  a rōnin. I work in the watch business, I help a brand as much as I can doing what is asked, but at the end of the day I am independent. I am fortunate in that I can move on. But there have been one or two projects that I will always look back on with fondness, and Auguste Reymond before it was sold was certainly one of them.

Auguste Reymond has left Tramelan for Nidau. And it serves to remind me that like so many things in life, nothing is forever, no matter how much we'd like them to be. It is a new company with a newish owner and three new collections. And hopefully it will be successful. 

I realized something important about a year ago, perhaps in one of the darkest moments of COVID lockdown. You can't live in the past. But you also shouldn't jettison it like ballast. 

As I get older, I realize more and more that I am hanging onto a lot of things that I honestly don't need or even appreciate as much as I once did. Wendy and I don't have kids, so more and more I have to ask myself who, or what am I hanging onto some of the things in my life for? I have been gradually thinning out the majority of my watch  collection and am about 3 pieces away from having a tidy, sane number of trusted friends. It has actually been quite cathartic. I am pleased to report that what was once a good sized collection has been moved to new owners around the world, and the pieces are being enjoyed, and worn.

My Agusute Reymond moon phase chronograph will be with me for the duration. I have come to call it the Tramelan Time Machine because it takes me back to a time of hopefulness, when an American Rōnin met a small team in a not-so-sexy place in Switzerland working to promote and sell some wonderful watches. 

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