In our ongoing series, My Favorite Watch, WatchTime speaks to interesting personalities in the watch industry. The interviews revolve around the subject’s favorite watch model, their experience in the industry, and other topics. Today we speak with Bernard Werk, owner of the Netherlands-based enthusiast magazine, Watching.
What’s your favorite watch?
A few years ago I would have said that a wristwatch with an in-house movement with a perpetual calendar function is my favorite, but not today. But my choice now is a 1980 golden Omega Constellation with golden bracelet.
Why that one?
The reason why is a very personal one. My mother gave this watch to my dad in 1980 and he wore it ever since. When my father was very ill he gave it to me. For his funeral [in 2017], he wanted me to wear his watch. When my father first gave me this watch, he asked me if I was wearing my Omega Speedmaster Professional, because he loved the design and wanted to have a look at it. He loved the fact that I wore a watch that had to be manually wound, but he preferred his quartz watch because it was always on time. I didn’t want to argue with him but told him that, for me, a mechanical watch is extra special — because of all the beautifully made tiny parts that all communicate in order to show the right time, date, month, et cetera — and reminded him that the Girard-Perregaux he bought in the year I was born was a mechanical one.
What is the most important feature of a watch to you?
First of all, the looks. If I don’t like a watch’s look I would not wear it and would not buy it. After that, I love watches that are complicated. It’s all these functions that could easily be placed on a chip, but instead they are made possible by that tiny “engine.” I love it when you see the dedication of the people working on high-end movements: improving them, making them more beautiful — most of the time, everything by hand or with their own specially built tools. And all the calculations must be very precise, so that every indicator shows the right time, a second time zone or world time, date, week, month, year, leap year, moon-phase, tidal information, equation of time — all at the right moment.
You once remarked that you got infected with the “watch bug” as a young boy. How did you experience that?
As a little boy I liked to have the time on the wrist. And I really liked the ticking sound. Later on I started to appreciate the beauty of mechanics, or micro-mechanics, actually. But the real virus came when I saw the Omega Speedmaster Professional in a drawer at the home of my parents’ friends for the first time. When I tried it on my wrist I was hooked.
You also once sold watches with a friend in the past. How and why did you change careers and became a watch journalist?
We were specializing in Swiss mechanical watches and that period was a very good learning experience on mechanics. During that period I met the publisher of Watching magazine. I thought that it would be great to share my passion that way. Years after that, I got the chance to do so.
A day without a watch — is that possible for you?
Unfortunately, it is, but it is not through any choice of my own. It is due to an allergic reaction to sweat on very hot and humid days. For the rest of the year, I always wear a wristwatch.