Dateline 1981 ,
I was in a position where I got to go to Rolex HQ with a mate who was doing some promotions for them ? At 16 years old let's just say I was empowered with the culture and watches (already being a WIS of sorts) , I'll never forget the experience , and the instant thing I did was to acquire my 1st Rolex , A Sub , 16800 and that was the start of the love affair with Rolex
Moving into the 90's after building my bizz I was blessed to be able to begin collecting Rolex as my passion and real love , albeit I was always more of a sub guy , back then I also had a SERIOUS connection with the water so the Sub's and SD's just captivated everything in my collecting desires , by 1999 I had amassed many Stella watches , probably the RED's were my real DREAM MACHINES
albeit I'm partial to gold as well
Here is a sample SOTC in about 2000 a few Panerai starting to creep in >>>
Always I had an interest in military watches and in 1999 I stumbled onto what was formally a military secret , Panerai and the rest was history , I think at first I was drawn to these watches for the rugged but simplistic look , italian style , rolex movements , design elements , and visual stimulation , then I started learning about the history behind the brand during WW2 pause ,, at first going back to the early years of 1990's I was fascinated by the story of these tool watches , the significant link to Sly Stallone (hey bring back the 80's) and the SLYTECH Panerai's from there the quest for knowledge finally brought me to the DNA of the brand , the Vintage Panerai Watches from the late 1930's through to mid 1960's . the rich history of honor , loyalty , courage & the exploits of the famous men of the Decima Mas with the very first ever Panerai watches and Tools they became masters of insidious warfare (the birth of the frogman and combat swimmer) that might nearly have changed the course of WW2 , a hand full of men wearing these Panerai Tools !
Men of Honor & Code !! I really ADMIRE That !!!!
Winston Churchill made a speech once where he refered to these crazy Italian combat swimmers an interesting read
I think it's quite iconic that the exact watches worn during WW2 are worn today by collectors , and they don't have a dateline , the look every bit as awesome today on the wrist as they did 70 years ago , that's rare IMHO !!!
Same can be said for Rolex
Thus a new love affair was born and having spent the last 13 years building my Panerai collection and helping be a part of paneristi community afforded me so much more than just watches it brought me life long mates who shared the crazy emotions I did , unlike Rolex ,, Panerai was for the most part unknown at that time , the vintage secrets were again for the most part ? Secrets ,, and trying to discover them was a HUGE part of the allure
Kinda like Indiana Jones , tracking down the unknown and trying to rediscover the history and DNA of the brand just, well , erm , floated my boat
I was completely consumed by finding everything I could , with the help of my best mates like Volker , Asi , Yves and Francesco F we would email talk and network multiple times a day and through the night , slowly inch by inch we learned what we could and again it was mostly specifics completely unknown , so exciting , being at the frontline of discoveries and the magic feelings it gave us !
As many of you would know finally the first reference book on vintage Panerai was published by Volker & Ralf , the culmination of so many hours , days, weeks , years , of work done by them and now not so much is unknown , these men are the protectors of the the Panerai DNA and no better guardians exist on the planet
Moving back again the extension went to the Pre Vendome years were more detailed information was known but still much remained yet to be discovered , again pure passion took over
Finally to the Richemont Era , so many amazing watches came , Pam 21 , Pam 203 , Pam 300 etc etc
Then on nov 16th 2006 my life took a different turn , I woke up that day ,, just like any other day ,, only this day was to be different ,, this day would see all life as I knew it END so completely and for ever , I suffered a spinal cord injury just below my neck , a BAD ONE , I often think back to that moment in time and space when everything changed so completely and forever and I wonder were there any signs , or even a feeling , something just odd enough to make me say , be careful , but u know there just wasn't , it felt like it would be as any other Thursday , I was wrong about that >>> note to self life is fragile !!
Nov 16th 2006 I arrived by helicopter to the PA hospital in my city of Brisbane Emergency Dept after a boating accident , having suffered a horrific spinal cord injury and 2 heart attacks which must have happened whilst in shock during the 2.5 hours prior to my careflight rescue >>>>
Funny ,, I didnt feel a thing ! can u imagine having a heart attack and not being able to feel it !!
I WAS TO LEARN THAT WAS JUST THE START OF THE MADNESS !!!!!!
There was a Double Dislocation of T4-5 vertebrae , Fracture of the C1 , Fracture of the right hip , fracture of the skull , 2 broken ribs and numerous other injuries , I had multiple surgeries , infections, secondary complications ,, it was about 12 weeks before i could get up and spent 6 months rehabilitating and living in the PA , Spinal unit , a time I would come to value dearly , they were teaching me how to LIVE again EVERYTHING and ALL aspects of my daily live had to change , my world was torn upside down , its was a very different life indeed but with there help , finally i came Home
Started spinal recovery rehab programs instantly , I gave it everything I had , everything 110% , I gave blood trying , in the end the dream of ever finding recovery had to be let go , no matter what I did or hard I tried , nothing , actually worse than nothing cause in the process of trying to walk again , I destroyed both my shoulders , there finished now , funny I destroyed my shoulders trying to walk yet now i must walk forever with 2 destroyed shoulders , hahahaha , after 2 complete shoulder reconstructions in the first 18 months post injury and 6 months in bed I wasn't laughing anymore , well at least I will always know I tried , for me there is no questions left unasked , I'll never look back and wonder what could have been , do your best in this life , sometimes it's enough sometimes it not , but if u give ur heart & soul that's all that matters , the rest is up to the man upstairs , I can live with that
In this life there are NOT always 2nd Chances , sad but true , I've been stuck in bed allot with infections and numerous other surgeries , which is quite often the nature of my injury where the spinal cord is cut in half below the neck so bladder bowels etc etc don't work , infections are a part of life , I always think we can't choose what comes to us in life but we can choose what we do with it going forward , that's the real metric of success , I try to set a good example to my kids that when life throws u a curve ball , u can't just pack up ya bat and ball and go home !! My father always used to tell me that the real measure of a man is not how he deals with opportunity (were all good at that) but rather how we deal with adversity !! His words whilst old now are with me in my heart and mind
THE ONE THING I'VE LEARNED IS THAT LIFE IS NOT ABOUT WHAT WE DON'T HAVE , IT'S ALL ABOUT WHAT WE DO HAVE AND THAT'S WHERE THE MIND MUST SETTLE
NOW ... Moving forward to 2012 , I reached a special place where my Panerai collections are complete , my Vintage , Pre Vendome and Richemont are exactly where I always dreamed they would be , what a great feeling of being content with what i had , not what I didn't , I yearned no more , i was completely happy , sure there are others watches I'd like to add but the need to do so is just not there , save the few SIHH orders each year that just take my breath away I find myself content and complete ..... Really a special feeling and one I'll take when I depart this world
YET .. All these years I always wanted to one day be in a position to bring back what I gave up & have always missed , a couple of Rolex watches that I had to let go , meeting up with LV from the forum was the straw that broke the camels back , Chris is a true gem and I'm blessed to be able to call u my brother , I found the same passion i had for madness and OCD , LOL , and from there , the reality that the time is right to try to acquire just a few special Ref's I've never got over loosing , and one i NEVER had , the single red 1665 was not a chance again but , finding a sweet DR was , and I can honestly say that I find it as amazing now as I did 13 years ago , I'm so happy to have this watch back on my wrist again and in my collection
Coming to the VRF was like stepping bak in time , so many mates from the old days were here and a sense of familiarity and family was instantly felt , almost as if time never passed
Now , I had one last itch to scratch , although all my Rolex collecting life was centered on the Subs and SD's I'd always loved the Cosmo's , never seen one in the flesh but always thought they were just so special , if I was to have just one other vintage Rolex it would have to be a Daytona , but not just any , the grail of all for me was the 6263 , a grail I never thought I'd own , I use the term grail as often as I run a marathon , I dont use it lightly ? That's for sure , but in this case is warranted and them some
Special THANKS on this dream journey to :
My best mate Chris AKA Lunette Verde ,, Bro u gave me the inspiration
My old friend of a decade plus Werner gave me the words of encouragement & direction that was all I needed
My brother Jed who said so wisely , his advise ? was to buy the best you can , bang on Jed
(can't wait to mount my new strap J , it's gunna be a sweet combo images to come)
My motto to all with regards to acquiring a new watch is to buy the SELLER not the Watch
I totally struck gold and found the best watch with the BEST SELLER on the Planet (thx hombre) and that's all she wrote !!
Bucket List Ticked , Bank account EMPTY but ,, My Grail is home and here she is >>>
...............................1985 "Big Red" Daytona ref: 6263...............................
What makes this Big Red EXTREMELY Special ???
A Once in a Life Time Opportunity came my way , to acquire one of the BEST
Shes surely a mint condition 6263 (maybe worn only a few dozen times by the look).
The Dark-Chocolate Tropic Sub Registers with stunning color change which Im told this is extremely rare on Big Red Daytona's, I'm not sure how many have been sighted here but I'd love to know !!
The dial on my grail 6263 is "FLAWLESS" 10 out of 10
Matching hands, tritium dots all round and perrrrfect , not a mark on the dial , just WOWZA !!
With stunning dark chocolate tropic sub dials ... PERFECTION & The best "Big Red" with Silver dial that I have personally habe ever seen on the internet. The case is unpolished and unmolested in anyway , never touched , how often can u find that ? For me the Rolex Daytona, in particular the 6263, is one of the most CRACKING watches ever to come from Rolex , chrono's kick ass 1st class
Bezel is tout sweet with just the right amount of age for me !!
The watch was serviced and over hauled in 2011 , till then she remained a virgin having never been opened since she was closed on the production line , first ever service and nothing changed , that's just KOOL
The movement received a complete over-haul, cleaning and lube, (first service, no prior service marks).
NOW .... If you have come this far , thank you ,, here she is in all her glory >>>
Look at the lugs , never touched >>>
Looks darker in my light box than in the flesh which doesn't help show the tropics but at least shows the Clarity >>
So I TRIED some more in the sun but iPhone struggled still u can see the color change tropical sub reg's better >>>
Thanks so much for allowing me to share one of life's special moments that can be counted on one hand
THANKS VRF for allowing the bandwidth and mates who made this possible
PLEASE EXCUSE THE TYPO'S IM USING VOICE RECOGNITION SOFTWARE TO TYPE THIS JUST LMK IF ANY CLARIFICATION IS REQUIRED ??