I had never lived in California before moving to San Francisco from Europe in 2000. Having said that, people from LA, Sacramento, the 805 and other regional hubs would argue that I still hadn’t lived in California – let’s just say San Francisco is, in many ways, a special place unto itself ; )
Courtesy of Meister Singer
Seregin’s in San Francisco is probably the most responsible party for my love of watches. It is also where I first discovered MeisterSinger back in 2003. Paul Seregin has been operating in the downtown area for quite some time. He specialized in pre-owned watches, and the diplomatic way to put it was that Seregin’s didn’t waste money on interior decorating, but he always had the deepest, best collection of watches pretty much anywhere. Unlike the other stores that would put big pictures of celebrity pals up on their walls, Seregin’s was really more of a secret club that didn’t go out of their way to self-promote. While back in the early part of the century everyone knew Shreve, if you were to check the wrists of members of the San Francisco Giants, Oakland Raiders, the Giants, the A’s or the Warriors (that’s Golden State, not the fictional New York City gang) you might be surprised that almost all of them were members of the Serregin’s “Watch Club”.
And it went beyond that. Walking into Seregin’s on a Saturday morning to look at watches I did a double-take that nearly broke my neck as I am fairly certain I was face to face with the player who would be named MVP that year. Who was it? Well that was part of the code at Seregin’s. You didn’t blab about your brushes with the famous. You didn’t bother these folks when they were “out of the office”, and you certainly wouldn’t dream of trying to sneak a selfie (which admittedly would have been much more difficult with the technology of the time). I have on more than one occasion discussed the pros and cons of Breitling with future hall of famers – I came down on the con side, and remain there to this day ; )
What did these stars buy? Well, a lot of it could be expected – Rolex, Cartier, a fair amount of bling, which was “blingier” back then. But there were always some outliers as well. And I will always remember one Thursday afternoon in August that I had off from work, and popped into Seregin’s after a walk through Union Square. I was wearing my Meister Singer. This was back before there was really a Meister Singer collection. I walked in, a few pleasantries were exchanged, and a member of the Screen Actors Guild who may or may not be someone you have heard of (again, first rule of Seregin’s Watch Club – you don’t talk about Seregin’s Watch Club) started chatting me up about my watch:
“What is that, an altimeter? Like, are you a skydiver?”
“No, I suffer from vertigo and can’t really handle going beyond certain heights”.
I then had to explain that vertigo was in fact what inspired the name of the movie, not the other way around.
“So it’s a watch?”
(editor’s note – no, I am not spicing this up for ironic sarcasm, this is literally how the conversation went).
At this moment, Francis Zanetti (old friend and the watch savant who coined the phrase: “The Shit That Killed Elvis” as an honorific for watches) broke in and presented the MeisterSingers (all three of them) in the three different color ways. There might have been more options, but that is what they had on hand.
I do not know which model “Famous Person” bought as I had to hustle home to get dinner ready for Wendy, but I do recall getting asked by someone in line at Starbucks 3 weeks later and asked –
“Isn’t that the watch ‘Famous Person’ wears?”
So that you know, there was a hot minute back in 2003 where MeisterSinger almost became the “It Watch”, and like Forest Gump, I was there.
Courtesy of MeisterSinger
It’s been an interesting 90 days, made even more interesting as it was during what we will in the future refer to as “COVID Times”. While I’ve always liked MeisterSinger, missed my first one from 2003, and enjoy the one I currently wear I have become somewhat obsessed with the bronze Metris (above). It really captures a lot of the spirit of “slow time” has come to mean for me. And being bronze, it will take on the patterns of the wearer’s memories over time.
As I get older, I realize that time has taken on a bit of an accelerated pace. 2003 seems like it was just a few years ago. Francis Zanetti sadly passed away (prematurely) the year Wendy and I moved to Santa Barbara (2006). I worked for DOXA for 3 years and some change, and Tempus Fugit’s odometer hit 10 years recently. I have fallen in and out of love with the world of watches so many times now that my Facebook Relationship Status should read:
But love and angst are frequently inextricably linked, and these past 90 days with MeisterSinger has definitely reminded me of how much there is still to love.
Enjoy your watches. And take your time doing it ; )