Interview with Kuwaiti watch collector Jassim Al-Razzai

 

 

 

 

bonyadi magazine 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Editor's Note: John Reardon is a recognized Patek Philippe expert and HODINKEE associate. Reardon, former director of international watches at Christie's, recently launched Collectability.com, a website dedicated to information and education about vintage Patek Philippe watches. This article is an excerpt from Reardon's in-depth and wide-ranging interview with Jassim Al-Zarai, a widely followed Instagram commentator and Patek Philippe influencer. The full version of the interview is available at Collectability.com

 

 

 

 

 

Jassem Alzarai founded Patekaholic, the number one Patek Philippe fan page on Instagram, in 2015. Known as a brutally honest, fearless and sometimes controversial person in the audience community, Jassim is a person who does not hold back his opinion. His extensive reviews and research on Patekonomics and www.patekaholic.com show that he is not slowing down as a global opinion-former and Patek-obsessed collector. I recently had the chance to sit down with Jasem to talk about the auctioneer

 

 

 

 

 

John Reardon
Jassim, you live and breathe Patek Philippe, but you are in no way officially affiliated with the company, and its representatives have never publicly spoken for you. Is this a case of unrequited love

 

 

 

 

But I think it's normal - it's the natural progression of any passionate person. A 14-year-old loves and follows a pop star: a poster on the wall, downloading every single song played. That little girl's dream is to wave to her pop star. Sometimes, I wish there was at least a connection to this feeling and just a working understanding. That would be valid for all the years and all the work I've done along the way [laughter]. But if it doesn't happen, I've come to terms with it and accepted it, because I think this obsession is common to anyone who has an obsession. If I'm lucky enough to smoke with Thierry Stern one day, that's enough

 

 

 

 

 

John Reardon
Haven't met Thierry Stern yet

 

 

Jasem al-Zarii
I met him once before I was a Pathaholic (an Indian school). In 2009, I was invited to visit the factory with authorized retail in Kuwait. We did the tour and then met Thierry Stern for a meal at headquarters

 

 

 


During a tour of Christie's Rockefeller Center, I sold brands from patek philippe in mock auctions

 

John Reardon

Do you think Patek Philippe is following you on IG? Like people inside the company

 

 

Jasem al-Zarii
I know they are following me. Don't ask me how I know. [Laugh]

John Reardon
Can you give an example of how you might have moved the Patek market

 

 

 

 

Jasem al-Zarii

I think I've had some influence in the market, a lot about the stamp and the Tiffany brand. I bought my first Tiffany watch in 2012. I had no clue Tiffany stamped the petex. One day at work, my boss was wearing a Calatrava (watch model) with the Tiffany seal on it. I looked at him and said: What is this? And he tells me, "Well, this is a Tiffany watch from New York. I bought this watch on one of my business trips." So, I called the New York boutique, and by chance, [boutique manager] Kelly Yoch answered and I asked if they stamped the (Nautilus model) or not. "Yes," he said. And I ordered number 5711 blue number. And he said, "OK. And I asked how many months it would take." The answer was a few months. Delivery time does not take years, which is the case nowadays. For completely handmade brands, the delivery time is between one and two

years

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a different time

Maybe a month later, I'm in Los Angeles when I get a call from a strange number. And the delivery person said: "Your watch is here." And I just paid my credit card over the phone. It was shipped to me in California, and I received the watch two days later. But in 2013 I think I posted about this purchase and the Tiffany stamp brand very early on, just before the white nautilus came up for auction and sold for $50,000. I have posted a lot about Tiffany numbers and models. Maybe in retrospect, I shouldn't have done it so fast

 

 

 

 

John Reardon
We blame you. Are there any other examples of how you influence the market

 

 

 

 

Jasem al-Zarii
I noticed that Patak made lighters

 

And as a smoker, it was my dream to sit in Saint-Tropez with a cigarette in my mouth and light it with a cigarette lighter. I mean, it doesn't get any better than that. A really nice one appeared at the Dubai auction in yellow gold and green enamel. And I remember calling and asking, "Where's the market for this stuff?" And they told me "maybe $5,000".

I got on a plane, went to Christie's Dubai, sat in the auction and planned to go home with a lighter. But the mistake I made was that I posted about my love and intention to buy it (laughs). At one point, I was furious at the auction and was standing on my feet with a paddle, not wanting to give up. I was basically bidding against myself.

I was bidding right in the center aisle [laughter] because someone was bidding above me in the top row. I think it was Adel Rahmani from the Dubai Watch Club who pulled my hands down [from the auction]. And this item was sold for $16,000. This number was groundbreaking at that time. Currently, these lighters trade for 25K, 30K in good condition. My suggestions made the price go up

so yes I raised the price of the lighter from $5,000 to $30,000. [Laugh]


John Reardon
This is what you are overcharged for sharing

 

 

Jasem al-Zarii
Yeah, and I don't have one yet, so maybe I'll buy a lighter soon

 

John Reardon
Is Patek really your favorite watch brand?

Jasem al-Zarii
Yeah. simply.

John Reardon
Patek Philippe modern or old

Jasem al-Zarii
I always said that. If I can get an antique watch that doesn't look too small on my hands, I'll buy it. I want to buy antique, because modern is not great. Modern is great. that's beautiful. It is shiny. This is new. It speaks to time. But there's something about antique watches - a feeling you don't get with current models. And it's not a happy feeling because you get it when you get a 5930 or any watch from an authorized dealer.

That watch you buy from the 30s or 40s or 50s or even the 60s and 70s. That watch has many stories. That watch has changed hands, maybe crossed continents - the stories attached to that watch make them beautiful. Couple that with the fact that those iconic designs no longer exist

 

 

 

The vintage market can be a challenging set to enter and launch. I think it's very important to have the right partners, people you trust, to build the collection for you. But I think if you can close 1518, 3448, even 1526 - you are a lucky guy. I tell my collector friends, there are these dreams of me selling my entire collection, all of it, and all I need is a 2499 series. But maybe a nice clean 1518. It doesn't have to be steel or white gold. It can only be a good yellow color, but mint. Also, 3448, but it must be white. This is all I need. And I will be satisfied

 

 

 

Every so often, a new asset class is born. We are witnessing the infancy of the watch portfolio class

John Reardon
What is your favorite modern Patek Philippe to wear?

Jasem al-Zarii
5968 Aquanaut Chronograph, and I'll tell you why. I know a lot of people enjoy the 5711, but I have big wrists and I have hairy wrists [laughs]. A steel bracelet does not like hair. And a 5711 steel looks small on my wrist. 5968 is complete.

It's a rubber band, so it's comfortable on the wrist. The size fits me as a bigger boy. It's just a readable path, all day and all year round. You can wear an orange band and swim and have fun in the summer and wear a black band and wear a suit, and it looks really good

 

 

 

 

John Reardon
What is your watch

Jasem al-Zarii
There is a legend that the 5070 is in a steel case with a steel bracelet, black dial, dagger hands.

If that watch exists, I'd be willing to sell everything to buy it and maybe keep an Apple Watch or something, and it's meant to be worn, beaten, and enjoyed every day, and be delivered to my child

 

 

 

 

John Reardon

Recently, Grandmaster Chime broke a world record that many of us didn't see coming. Can you comment on your personal reaction and what you think about that result

Jasem al-Zarii
If you watch a video of the auction, at the moment when it reached 11 million dollars, you can hear someone loudly shouting: "Yes!". That was me (laughter)

 

 

 

 

 

I was so excited because I bet everyone that it would be a new world record, because no one thought it was possible. Obviously, most of it is for charity. And people have debated whether this is a fair comparison between Rolex and Patek given the charity sector. But Patek is finally back at number one and that makes me happy

 

 

 

 

Are you thinking of collecting watches as an investment

Jasem al-Zarii
Yeah

I have said this about a billion times. This is just my personal opinion and I'm going to piss off a lot of traders, maybe including you. Please do not delete this. I am of the school of thought that there are investment instruments in the world and investment asset classes, real estate, futures, stocks, bonds, the things we know. Every so often, a new asset class is born

 

 

 

 


And I think we're seeing the infancy or infancy of the portfolio asset class. Currently, the problem of this asset is supply. Sometimes you can control demand, but you can never control supply. And this is the scary part

 

 

 

 

But is a watch an investment in today's world? Yeah. But whatever rules you invest in, you can touch it, buy what you like, buy what you believe in, what you like - because if the poop hits the fan, Better enjoy wearing that watch

 

 

 

 


Patak is finally back at number one and that makes me happy.

John Reardon
Who is the biggest Patek Philippe collector today

 

 

Jasem al-Zarii
Hmm, it's interesting. I think in the world you and I are in, we tend to follow the money and forget the passion. There are many people with many hours. I know many people with large collections. But maybe these are not the criteria we should pay attention to

 

 

 

 

 

Personally, I'd rather sit down with someone who has five watches and has gone to great lengths to buy them. Someone who has done every imaginable research they can do to own them. Someone who takes care of them, appreciates them, knows the history, knows the history, as opposed to a man who has a safe with shiny screws and 1000 watches. It makes no sense because the man is a collector, but he is not an avid collector. And I think the conversation is much more fun if you're talking to a passionate collector, like me and you idiot. A man with many hours is more of a Schumann and tries to impress him

 

 

 

 

 

So I think if you're reading this and you have an hour and you can, honest to God, sit down and tell us how you bought it, how happy you were, why you got it, what What kind of beliefs do you have when you bought it, how do you feel when you wear it every day and see it on your wrist, what kind of history do you know about the watch - this discussion alone is worth everything to me. . You are my book collector

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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