For WatchTime reader Stu Gleich, lucky timing and an amazing bit of serendipity let his two passions – watches and music – take him someplace he never dreamed he might end up. He sent us his story, and we thought you would enjoy it.
In 2007, while visiting a local jeweler, I spied an unusual wristwatch in the case. It was like none I had seen before. The shop’s resident watch expert brought it to the counter so I could take a closer look.
It was a Hamilton Ventura – a distinctive, shield-shaped timepiece that made its screen debut in 1961 when Elvis Presley wore his in “Blue Hawaii”. The one I was holding in my hands, #913, was Hamilton’s first-ever automatic Ventura – part of the limited run of 1,957 issued to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the original release of the Ventura electric watch.
Surely I had to have this one, so I bought it.
Jump ahead to 2010. As it turned out, I did not wear the watch very often because the dial was not easy for me to read. I felt the watch should be enjoyed by another enthusiast who would do this unique timepiece justice by wearing it on a daily basis. So, I had my son offer it on Craig’s List.
Besides my love of watches, I also collect unreleased live and studio music recordings, the likes of which most people don’t even know exist. I trade the music with people all over the world and have developed some amazing friendships with some of those people, all based on our shared passion for the music.
A week after the original posting, my son informed me that a gentleman in Switzerland was interested in purchasing the watch. His name was Boris Jaeggi, and as it turned out, he was the president of the Eric Clapton Fan Club in his country.
After speaking with him for 90 minutes via Skype, I found out that not only was his love of watches even more comprehensive than mine, but his love for music was over the top. You see, he is personal friends with Eric Clapton and with former Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood.
I knew that Eric Clapton’s next worldwide tour began in February, 2011. During our conversation, I inquired if tickets might be available for any dates in London. Clapton always ends his tours at Royal Albert Hall – he lives 10 minutes away from the historic venue. Boris told me that over the past 20+ years, he has arranged trips for as many as 500 Swiss residents to see Eric Clapton’s performances at Royal Albert Hall. And yes, he had already purchased many tickets for the shows, which will take place in May, 2011. By now the anticipation was killing me, so I asked if it might be possible to purchase a pair of tickets.
The end result was this: of all the people in the world who could have seen my Ventura ad, the single response from Boris lead to my wife and I going to see Eric Clapton on May 21, 2011, sitting in the 6th row at Royal Albert Hall. I traded the Ventura Automatic and a small amount of cash for the tickets.
When Eric Clapton and his band begin “Layla” or “Crossroads” or “White Room” on that fateful evening, I will know that my lucky timing and my love of watches brought me to a place I never, ever dreamed of being.
Stu Gleich: happy to be headed to Royal Albert Hall.
An example of the limited edition Hamilton Ventura Automatic that now resides with Boris in Switzerland.