London-based Swedish singer-songwriter Axel Jansson has been collecting watches for several years – inspired by his father
WHO: Axel Jansson, Musician
WATCH: Lemania Tg 195
“One of the hardest decisions to make as a watch collector is which theme to pick for your collection, so that you can stay focused and be smart along the way. When you first start collecting watches it’s common to think that you can collect all sorts of watches. Even if that was possible I hardly think that’s a good move for anyone. To have a focus means that you can dig in deeper to the history of the piece and research. I want to have a system or a mindset behind collecting.
“There’s been one watch that I knew from very early on that I wanted to add to my personal collection – the Lemania Tg 195 made for the Swedish Military Bomb Squad [Ed: the single pusher returns the central hacking seconds hand to 12 o’clock and pops the crown, perfect for synchronising watches]. It’s interesting that it’s got a unique movement to that reference, while all of the other military issued Lemanias usually shared the same calibre.
“A few years back I got offered one from a dealer, who hasn’t got the best reputation, so I felt a bit reluctant to pull the trigger. The watch was honest and in nice condition, but he asked me a crazy price and I left it. But then I wanted one even more; it took me about a year of hunting before one came about again. It was early on a Saturday morning and a friend was in Munich at a watch fair. He called me up and told me to prepare myself for surrendering something nice from my collection. He came back a few days later and showed me this beautiful example of the watch. It was a second generation with a slightly brown dial. A deal was made and I was over the moon.
“Then two days later I was browsing watches on Instagram and saw another one. I messaged the owner and asked if he wanted to sell the watch. We met up the next day at a coffee shop in Piccadilly Circus. I remember it was a busy lunchtime and he was a bit nervous of pulling the watch out with so many people around. This was a first series and had the best dial I’d ever seen. Super clean, deep chocolate brown and a thick case. I was ready to close the deal on the spot so no one else could jump on it. I had money prepared and we agreed on a price. He insisted on finalising the deal locked in the restroom! I had the watch in my hands while he counted the money twice. It must have looked like we were dealing drugs in there.
“When I got back home that evening I decided to keep one for my collection and give the other one to my father. When I look at my collection this Lemania is one of the few pieces that hasn’t got a price: it will stay with me forever.”