John Reardon, Christie’s International Head of Watches, on how he first fell in love with timepieces as a teen, and what makes this collecting category so unique
‘When I was a teenager, I learned clock and watch repair at a local clock museum,’ says John Reardon, International Head of Watches at Christie’s. ‘By the time I was in high school, I had my own clockmaking business. For over 20 years, this has been my obsession.’
‘When I started collecting wristwatches, it consumed me,’ Reardon says. ‘You could buy a watch and study the history, and see how the value of that watch increased over time.’ For Reardon, the joy was also in the craftsmanship: ‘I loved taking the caseback off and seeing the movement, the mechanical beauty of what made the watch literally tick,’ he explains.
Above all, the specialist continues, watches are about personal history. ‘Everyone has a story to tell about the first important watch they bought,’ says Reardon. ‘It could be a humble quartz piece or it could be their first multi-million-dollar timepiece.’ Because a watch ‘goes with you through life. It’s about the passing of time, and that’s what makes this collecting category so unique and special to me,’ says the specialist.
As for the piece on his own wrist? ‘It was only 17 years ago that I was able to pull the trigger to buy my first watch,’ Reardon says of his Patek Philippe Aquanaut. ‘This watch may be quartz, but it was the first one I owned, and this will be the Patek Philippe I will keep with me for the rest of my life.’