We spoke to Aston Martin’s lead designer about his love of watches, and the one watch in particular he would never part with. In his own words, he explains why this particular Daytona holds such a special place in his heart
WHO: Marek Reichman, Chief Creative Officer of Aston Martin
WATCH: Rolex Daytona 116520
I’ve been interested in watches ever since I realised I wanted to be a designer, but I can trace the moment my interest really took hold more precisely to when my dad retired. It was 1983, and he was given an Omega as a retirement present from the steelworks where he worked. He had always worn a big old watch, a chunky Russian piece from way back – it suited his blacksmith’s hands. I remember seeing the thin Omega – it was really thin, I thought – and thinking ‘how on earth do they get all the same parts in there?’.
When I came to get my first proper watch, I started looking at Rolex because of their involvement in motorsport, but also because I’ve always respected how Rolex protects its brand, how they have such a strong image. I wanted a Daytona because it’s a design icon, you can recognise it from 10m away, and because it’s a solid, reliable watch. I like that it links back to the days when, if you were racing around Le Mans, and halfway round you wanted to know how you were doing, your watch was the only tool available.
I bought mine at a dealers in London in about 2005, near Bond St. I had to wait 3 or 4 months, which I now realise isn’t actually that bad! I did consider going for a vintage piece, but the way I looked at it, I wanted buying my first proper watch to be like buying my first new car; I wanted something no-one else had used, that still had all the stickers on it, something that was really mine.
I’ve got several other watches – pieces from Jaeger-LeCoultre, Graham, Bell & Ross – but this is the one I’d never part with. It was my first Rolex (I later went on to buy another Daytona, in white gold with a blue dial) as well as my first “proper” watch, and the motorsport link means a lot. My favourite race in the world is Le Mans, and what’s the main thing you see across the circuit? Rolex’s timekeeping. Ironically, one of the only races I’ve never been to is Daytona itself!
Watches have an emotional attachment to them, and for men they’re often the only piece of physical memory that gets handed down. I barely wear this one, but that’s because I want to hand it down to my son Zak, who’s seven now. He’ll have a vintage watch then, and I want it to be in good condition for him.