Publication: QP Magazine
Date: May 2015
Article: 'My Life in Watches'
George Bamford (34) started Bamford Watch Department in 2004 using DLC treatments to customise prestigious Swiss watches. He now runs the business from a Mayfair townhouse and is an avid collector of all things horological
My first watch:
I was given this in 1996, when I was 16. My father bought it for me from a flea market for £200. I mean, nowadays, I look at it and realise that, ok, the hands are slightly not right. It's not 100%. But it started my collection of watches, my obsession, and it'll always stay with me.
The watch I'm most proud of:
1955 Rolex Panerai
I found this in the back of a safe, at a watch shop owned by a good friend. It was priced at £10,000; that was about nine years ago. I didn't really know what I'd got. But I've got the original paperwork for this watch –found separately-and I've got the torch, the compass, the diver's dagger and the altimeter to go with it, as well as the original strap, which is falling to bits. It took me five years; now it's worth quite a bit more than £10,000. I love that it's stamped Rolex on the movement, but doesn't have Panerai on the dial and I love the sun damaged patina on the glass.
The watch I'm wearing right now:
1971 Yellow gold Rolex Daytona
I love gold at the moment. These John Player-style ones are undervalued, I think. It feels wonderfully light on the wrist, not like modern gold ones. I've had this about six months-
My father's watch:
Cartier unique Ball on Bleu
There's only one of these in the world. Years ago, my father went to Cartier for a personalised design – something they did quite a bit of in the '60s and '70s. It's a Ball on Bleu with a squared off dial, with white gold edging, and it's got his blood type (oddly enough) engraved on the case back. I've borrowed it from him now on a semi-permanent basis. I like it because it's rare, but you can't show off with it because no-one knows what it is.
The watch I'd keep over all others:
1968 Rolex Milgauss
This Milgauss has a beautiful dark blue dial, and it has marked every important part of my life so far: the day I got engaged, I happened to be wearing it. Then the day I got married, I wore it. And I was wearing it the day my son was born and the day my daughter was born. None of that was planned, but it's now captured those memories for me.
The watch I would hand on to my children:
I don't want my collection to be a burden. If it turns out that they like watches, great. If not, they can sell the lot. But my son is already designing watches-he's five. I've set aside vintage Speed masters for them - two each.