It all started with a Rolex Datejust. James wanted to buy a watch – and like many, his first stop was with Rolex. He went to Hatton Garden in London to a pre-owned dealer he was recommended. Again, like many, he was constrained by budget and wanted to get the most he could for his money – a Rolex DateJust with mother of pearl dial. As James put it ‘for whatever reason, most guys start at Rolex. And the DateJust was a nice entry to the watch world. My taste has changed somewhat since’.

Following the purchase, he went on a trip to Marbella – which turned out to be more of an experience than he expected. The first evening was a big one. By all accounts, he had one hell of an evening – until he woke up to find the watch he had on his wrist – that DateJust he had just bought was no longer on his wrist. He says ‘I didn’t have a clue what had happened to it – I just woke up and though, shit I’ve just gone and lost my Rolex and for some bizarre reason I’m covered in scratches.’ As you can imagine, there were further details of the evening we don’t need to go into here, but thankfully the watch was insured.

Following this realisation, James went to the police station in Marbella to report the incident and get a crime report number. He says ‘I was with a friend who spoke Spanish, and even then, they didn’t entertain us for a second – they looked at me for 30 seconds and told me to bugger off’. Dejected, he then proceeded to call his insurance company back in the UK and informed them of what happened. It was 5-6 weeks later when his insurance company called to inform him that the watch was in actual fact reported stolen in the UK some time before James had bought it. The very same day, the police called and told him they needed to interview him at the station. To which he was baffled, but obliged.

The first question was ‘where were on the the 12th of January? Where you involved in a robbery outside Marylebone station? Why was a women wearing this watch before you? To which he had no answers – and felt the whole situation could deteriorate very quickly if he didn’t produce some evidence of his purchase. Ultimately he had the paperwork sent over to the station, and explaining that the watch was unisex to the investigative officers. After 4 hours of investigation, James was released. The bad news was that the insurance company wasn’t going to pay up. And ultimately, when James informed the dealer, he refunded him the money he had paid to buy the watch innitially. So having his money back, he had the opportunity to reassess which watch he wanted to buy. He bought another Rolex, this time a Submariner with a serti dial. But even this one didn’t feel quite right either. When asked when he came across his grail watch, he said ‘these days with Instagram you can spend hours on end looking at watches – and that’s where I first came across the AP Chronograph. I loved it. It was designed in such a way, it was instantly recognisable – I liked that. I spent many, many months pondering how I would get one’. I had the opportunity to get hands on with a few Royal Oaks which converted me. And the Royal Oak Chronograph was the end result – I’ve not looked back. It’s perfect in every way. Its versatile, historic and not a watch you see very often in the wild, but my god did it take me some time before I felt as though I had found what Id been looking for’.