By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
From buttoned-down business execs in classic Brioni Vanquish tweed suits, to high-roller jetsetters with private planes and cushy trust funds, to flashy rock stars with gobs of money to burn and ostentatious flamboyance as their objectives, luxury watch collecting is the new hobby of choice for the global well-heeled elite.
In fact, according to the New York Times, there are now about 9,000 heavy-hitter watch collectors worldwide (we are talking about people who pay up to $100,000 per timepiece) and more than 40 elite collector clubs.
But when you have more than one Rolex, several Patek Philippes and a maybe a few Tag Heuers in your personal watch portfolio, how to store them and — more importantly — keep them wound — can become an issue. (Winding keeps watches working properly, and most watches are regulated and adjusted at a state of full wind, so as the mainspring uncoils, minor isochronism errors can creep in. So, like all major extravaganzas, watch collecting also entails an entire industry of complementary accessories.
For more than 188 years, the British-based, family-run (fifth generation, at this stage) Wolf watch boxes and winder cases company has been allowing collectors to “protect their legacy” by storing their watches (and other wearable art assets) in chic, hand-crafted leather cases, perfect-for-travel watch rolls and, yes, precision winders that protect watches with meticulously calculated rotations that can be programed to the exact ideal movements for each individual timepiece.
Since Mexico allegedly has the largest number of luxury watch collectors in all of Latin America, Wolf began selling its watch boxes and winder caddies here back in 2015, and even opened up a local branch office last year, but with covid-19 cutting into sales of virtually everything — including extravagant watches and the cases to house them in — the opening was extremely soft and low-key.
But on Thursday, Feb. 17, Wolf made up for that reserved launch as it opened its first in-store point of sales inside Mexico City’s upscale Palacio de Hierro department stores in Polanco and Santa Fe, replete with plenty of media coverage and international Wolf representatives.
The inaugural event included a display of the latest Wolf lux watch cases and winding stations, a selection of the brand’s elegant women’s jewelry boxes and a global premiere sneak preview of its new feminine portable phone cases and wallets in five lush colors (the collection is slated to become available worldwide in mid-March).
There was even a massive, “it-took-four-men-to-move-it-in-here” home safe with its own set of winding cases.
Wolf market rep in Mexico Mark Lewis-Jones explained that the cases are also hermetically sealed to protect the watches from environmental degradation, so that you can keep your collection looking and functioning like new for up to 35 years.
Prices for a Wolf winder station start at about $300 for a simple, single-watch winder and can run up to about $3,600 for an eight-piece winder, all of which are out of my budget, but then again, my entire watch collection consists of an old Casio that my ex gave me that has been sitting in my jewelry box for ages, no doubt, totally un-synced due to lack of winding.