Editor’s note: The following is a guest post by Jason Crystal, the founder of a watch enthusiast GTG in Dallas, Texas. As fans of GTGs, and building a strong watch community for us all to take part in, we were happy to have Jason share with us the story behind his GTG. And hopefully, some of you will be able to attend his next event. Enjoy!
Only a little over a year ago I was someone who had an appreciation for watches but knew little about them. I’d worn them my whole life but never really developed more than a basic understanding of what I liked aesthetically and I had no concept of what went into a truly quality timepiece. So I stuck to my fashion quartz watches from Fossil until, one day, I developed the desire to learn more and search out something that I could be proud to hand down to my young son. I wanted something I could call an heirloom piece and that he would be proud to own when he is old enough to also have an appreciation. In that quest I discovered a mechanical chronograph, the Lew & Huey Riccardo, on Kickstarter and decided to get involved and back the project. After setting my funding I made the fateful decision to comment on the project and was quickly informed of Watchuseek. The rest, from that point, is history with me quickly jumping into an ever fluctuating collection of mechanical watches and thousands of posts logged.
One thing I noticed early on with my forum activity was that there were various get togethers around the country and around the world, but the Dallas area was severely lacking in a venue for WIS to come together and share their collections. At that point I decided to see if there was any interest in a local get together so I started a forum thread and found there absolutely was both an interest and a need for a get together. In October 2013 the first Dallas get together was held where we had 8 people come together at The Flying Saucer in Addison, Texas, collections in tow. Taking up a whopping 2 tables we spread out our collections, had some good beer, and enjoyed the camaraderie.
With the success of the event and encouraged by the feedback I decided to attempt to expand it. The goal was to get enough people, which was 25 minimum, to reserve the entire back room. While we didn’t quite reach that number, coming in at 18, in March 2014, and given the name WatchWorld Dallas, we were back again and filled the room anyway with tables full of an incredible variety of watches spanning the globe with some attendees driving many hours to be there. Included in the wide assortment were 8 prototype and production watches from 3 micro brands that had been graciously loaned to the get together. I estimated we had over 250 different watches from the various collections and people driving hundreds of miles to attend.
It was after this second get together that I was contacted by Timeless Luxury Watches about it being hosted in their store. I immediately jumped on the opportunity as what better venue is there for watch fanatics to get together than an entire store full of watches at a local AD. It was then that I also set up the blog to keep people updated on the progress and track the attendance. Through the success of the blog, and of the previous events, I was able to secure an additional prototype watch and several production samples from other micro brands for our third get together. Thanks to the blog and incredible support from Timeless and forum members we had our third get together in August with 25 attendees and countless watches. With this new incredible venue we had the advantage of an amazing giveaway. Timeless gave away an amazing assortment of items as simple as watch straps all the way up to a Damasko. This isn’t even counting the fantastic assortment of custom watch straps that a forum member was able to get various custom strap makers to donate, so everyone went home a winner.
With three get togethers under our belt, and Timeless Luxury Watches volunteering as the host for the foreseeable future, I’m now planning for the future of the event. Already, just a few weeks after the last one, and 6 months in advance of the next, I’ve had people committing to driving out from Oklahoma and flying out from New Mexico so we’re now becoming an event is more than just a Dallas get together and is more a destination for WIS locally and from surrounding states. I’ve also been in contact with the North American rep for Bremont who intends to attend giving us the support of a luxury brand as well.
The get together is only going to grow from here. With the next event set for February 28, 2015 there’s a lot of planning left to do in order to make it better than the previous, but it’s worth it to bring WIS together. Going forward there are definite plans to get more watch brands involved, both micro and larger established brands, and this will only help to grow the attendance. Right now it’s been mainly limited to members of Watchuseek and Watchfreeks (though, I must mention is not affiliated with either site) but expanding it to include other forums and groups is certainly desired as the sky’s the limit for this unique event. For more information please go to watchgtg.wordpress.com or contact me at [email protected]