Member Spotlight: Geoffrey Schroder
Chapter: Denver RedBar
1. What was your introduction to horology?
Like most people, I’ve worn a watch most of my life. But my first real foray into my interest in horology started with the purchase of my first mechanical watch – a 1940s Baume & Mercier chronograph (manually wound Landeron Cal. 48 movement). I bought it purely based on looks at the time. But as soon as I heard the sound of that movement ticking, I was hooked.
2. What was your first watch?
When I was young my first watch was a quartz Casio (I can’t recall the model), which I loved because it had a circular digital count-down circle showing the running seconds when you ran the timer feature. I thought it looked like a radar screen, which apparently appealed to me as a young kid.
3. What fascinates you most about watches and/or horology in general?
I’m in love with the craftsmanship found in fine watchmaking. When you look at a beautiful watch, every element is special in its own way; from a beautifully designed and executed dial to the finishing on the parts making up the movement. It’s a special thing to be able to wear a tiny piece of art like that around on your wrist all day.
4. What are the kiss, kill, and marry of your collection?
Kiss – My 1940s Baume & Mercier chronograph because it’s the watch that really triggered my interest in horology. While this B&M isn’t particular rare or collectible, it has a fantastic patina to the dial, keeps remarkably accurate time, and generally has a special place in my heart because it triggered my love of horology.
Kill – I’m not sure there’s any watch in my meager collection that I’d kill, though I do have a Hamilton (Sprit of Liberty) that I’ve been meaning to sell for a few years now. It doesn’t get much wrist time, so it needs to find a new home. Maybe that’s the one I’d “kill.”
Marry – No question, my black dial Jaeger LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Perpetual Calendar (Cal. 868/1). This watch combines a reliable workhorse of a QP movement in a perfectly sized 39mm (only 9.2mm thick) steel case. The size and style of this watch fit me perfectly, and it incorporates some of my favorite complications. It’s a perfect everyday watch for me.
5. Name one watch that got away.
It sounds like I’m sucking up to say this, but honestly I think the most recent one that “got away” for me is the Oris Divers Sixty-Five RedBar LE. That’s a great looking workhorse of a watch that I think will have a wonderful connection for anyone who is associated with RedBar, especially for those of us who helped start different chapters. The stars didn’t align for me to pick one up when they were announced, but I’ll be excited to run into one in the metal at a future RedBar meetup.
6. What watch do you wear most often?
Surprisingly, my Baltic bicompax 001 chronograph with gilt blue dial gets more than its fair share of wear time. It was my first and only Kickstarter watch purchase to date, and I think is still one of the better Kickstarter programs I’ve seen. The size, color, and general style of the watch seem to go with everything, and I don’t worry about banging it up. So it’s a great everyday watch.
7. What is the first thing you notice about a watch?
The dial is (not surprisingly) usually the first thing I notice about a watch. A watch with a unique dial like a beautifully soft enamel or linen dial gets my attention immediately.
8. How were you introduced to RedBar Group?
I found out about RedBar Group like most people, via social media. Once I started down the rabbit hole of horology, I wanted to read and learn as much as I could. That meant copious amounts of time on the internet reading every blog, article, and forum I could. Naturally, I came across RedBar while doing this and thought the concept (especially the “no assholes” rule) was a great one.
9. How has RedBar affected you as a collector?
Getting to see so many different watches in real life gives you a much better sense of what you might like to add (or not) to your own personal collection. Reading about a watch on the internet or elsewhere can give you a good sense of what makes it special, but you don’t truly know until you handle it in the steel (or gold, or platinum etc.) if it is going to truly speak to you as something you want to actually wear. As a very modest collector, seeing so many different watches has shaped what I’d like to add to my own collection long term.
10. Outside of collecting how has RedBar impacted your life?
Without a doubt the best part of my RedBar experience has been meeting so many wonderful and passionate people in my home town. Looking at watches in a dealer showroom is great, but there is usually an underlying pressure to buy something, and sometimes the person selling the watch has little interest in what they are selling. When someone shows up to a RedBar meetup, you know the watches they bring speak to them personally. There’s nothing better than talking to someone who is passionate about what they are sharing. While RedBar Denver is still a newer chapter, the folks that come out to our meetups are kind, passionate and willing to share their knowledge with others. What’s better than that?!