Turns out Chris’s watch collection is quite malleable. He has only a few watches that he wears often: the aforementioned IWC, a Luminox that he received as a gift from his wife, and a Hamilton Khaki. Many of his other watches he’s thoughtfully given away, on top of frequently purchasing watches as gifts, with the same attention to detail that he so admired from the gift of his own IWC.
As someone who’s dedicated his life to helping others, Chris reconciles with these things we see as indulgences. “I am very well known to be a humanitarian activist. I spent most of my adult life trying to cure the world of poverty. And when that is your mission it feels like the world is against you.” In spite of the factors piled against Chris’ The Other Ones Foundation, they’ve managed to serve over 600 clients, move 170 of them into stable housing, and pay out over $950,000 in earned income through low-barrier work opportunities to people experiencing homelessness in 2022 alone. Chris also provides access to mental health services for his employees and to the clients they serve, as he noted the trauma experienced by many of the individuals he works with.
“Engaging in hobbies is self-care. And it’s really important that we all do those things. The cool thing about watch collecting is that it’s personal. To me it’s deeply personal.” Hearing him say this touched me as I started to completely understand why he had so few staples in his own collection. Chris only holds on to the watches that are deeply meaningful to him, and he will give away, or buy watches as gifts that he feels will be deeply personal to others. He told me about a Luminox that he purchased for an engineer he worked with, and a Hamilton that went to his tattoo artist. And remember that Rolex Submariner? It went to Chris’ brother-in-law. It would seem that his approach to watch collecting mirrors the thoughtfulness he’s filled the rest of his life with.
There was one thing that Chris said to me that has resonated with me deeply in the time since we first spoke. It’s something that will stick with me when considering my place in this hobby, and whenever I’m deciding what I need to do with my time:
“[A moment is] the single most common thing, and the single most rare and fleeting thing. You’re looking at something that happens all the time, but will also only ever happen once […] My life has been profoundly influenced by time as a resource. It’s not something that you can influence. No one can.”