Thursday, June 4, 2020

What Moves Me - Anonimo, Dino Zei and the 6000 Professionale

We're going to focus just on the watch today -
Courtesy of Anonimo
Okay, of the 10 watches that I wanted to own from the time I started Tempus Fugit, this is one of them.  If Anonimo had a Facebook relationship status, it would be -
"It's complicated"...

My first official dive into the watch business was behind the counter at Tourneau in San Francisco back in 2003.  And at that time, it is safe to say that our store was really anchored by 3 brands - Rolex at the back, Cartier all the way back to the far right, and Breitling.  If my memory serves me, Breitling had been exclusively at Shreeve across Union Square, but I guess someone said something, and Breitling slung their hook and came over to us.  We had bits and bobs of other stuff: Severin era Corum, Omega, IWC, Baume & Mercier and pre-Biver Hublot.  I take personal pride in being the one sales person during my tenure who sold several Hublots at full-pop, which was not easy back then.  But my other sweet spot was Anonimo.

Now those of you who were into watches back at the turn of the century will recall that, in fact, everyone had Panerai fever.  And I get it.  It was understandable because the brain trust at Panerai back then understood that it was actually a good thing to have a wait list, to have demand, to have scarcity.  They were not exactly easy to come by.

Shreeve, again, was an unwitting partner in my salesmanship.  I would actually stop by Shreeve every other day to do my own, discreet "counter count".  I would make a mental note of what was out on display, if some models weren't there, etc.  And as soon as I got behind my own counter, I would write it down on an index card.  And it was a safe bet that at least twice a day a customer would come in looking for one.  I would explain that we did not carry Panerai, but had they checked out Shreeve?  If they hadn't, and I knew already what was in stock, I would dial the store number, ask for a sales assistant, and pass the customer my phone.  I mean, c'mon, I'm not hurting my chances by letting the talk to someone who will tell them that they don't have what they want ; )

While they were on the phone, I would take a few of my sales props out of the display case.  When the customer passed me back the phone he (let's face it, it was almost always a he) would ask me, what's that?  And that's when I (gently) sprung into action.  I explained that, in fact, that while Panerai had at one time been made in Italy, sadly that was no longer the case.  I further explained that, in fact, Anonimo was by and large as close to the original Panerai as you could get without buying a very expensive model second or third hand.

A back and forth then ensued, more Anonimo lore was imparted, and better than 75% of those folks then bought one.  A few years later I spent a very short amount of time with a smaller store in San Francisco that had Anonimo, and it was there that I first set eyes on the 6000 Professionale.  It took a few months, but it finally sold.  I loved it.  I loved the soft yellow, loved the look and feel of it.  It was substantial, but it was not yet another black dialed hockey puck with a strap on it.

Like most people who write about watches, I am often asked what are my top ten? One important thing to know about me is that although I certainly know and understand reference numbers, and while I understand that people love to dive deep into the esoterica of a given brand, it's models, and the various versions of it.  And as I've said before?  My eyes tend to glaze over. I find it the equivalent to creating a score card for a potential girlfriend or boyfriend.  It's just not my thing.  

So to you readers out there, if you have a line on a yellow dialed 6000 Professionale?  Let me know, because in terms of the what's on Henki's wishlist? The 6000 Professionale is right up there! It's nothing I can explain rationally with statistics, serial numbers or movement references. It is much more simple to me. It moves me.

It's hard not to be romantic about watches.

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