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My Mom, The Reluctant Watch Collector

And the way she grew to become one, with two household heirlooms.

Initially printed by Pedro Vidal on Hodinkee, Could seventh 2022


Once I first began to put in writing this essay, story, article, what have you ever, I used to be questioning how I used to be going to put in writing about my mom’s two watches, and in addition acknowledge all that she’s performed for me and all of these round her, in honor of Mom’s Day. The extra I thought of it, the extra I noticed that it was much less a narrative in regards to the watches and extra in regards to the individuals they got here from and her relationships with them.

My mom, Maria Herminia Vidal Colls, would by no means take into account herself a collector of watches, however right here we’re, on HODINKEE, utilizing her center and maiden names, writing about how she is certainly a watch collector, and dare I add, fanatic. When you ask her, she will’t deny that they’re particular items, however they’re nonetheless not one thing she would’ve sought out herself. She would a lot reasonably be touring, studying a e book, or sharing a very good meal with household and buddies. Watches apart, she does accumulate artwork and antiques with my father (a pastime I fondly bear in mind sharing with my household, rising up). And he or she can be an educator, a professor of the Spanish language, literature, and Latin American historical past for the previous 30+ years.

Patek Philippe and Rolex

Her ardour for historical past and heritage by no means stopped within the classroom – she’s at all times been the one within the household to protect our oral historical past, passing down household tales for so long as I can bear in mind. And he or she’s at all times the one to recollect somebody’s birthday, whether or not a direct member of the family, grandparent, cousin, second cousin, or in-law. That is why it is smart that she can be the one to inherit her uncle’s and sister-in-law’s watches.

My mom was given a white gold Patek Philippe Gondolo ref. 5010 by her uncle, Pablo Manuel Fernandez, her mom’s brother and my nice uncle, when she turned 50. When her uncle, Pablo, or El Tio (actually, “The Uncle” in Spanish) gave her the Patek, my mom checked out him and jokingly mentioned, “I’m going to promote it and go to Europe!”

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El Tio with the creator as a toddler

El Tio, born in Cuba in 1926, beloved watches and beloved to offer them to members of the family for particular milestones. I by no means had the pleasure of receiving a watch from him, however apparently he bought all of his watches, whether or not for himself or for others, at Mayors Jewelers in Miami. They knew him nicely, and so did his bank card corporations. However his household, in fact, knew him finest.

When my mom’s household left Cuba for Puerto Rico in 1961, El Tio was proper there with them, serving to and supporting alongside the best way. He was my grandmother’s brother and my grandfather’s finest good friend, so my mom remembers him at all times being round rising up, this being in Puerto Rico through the Sixties and early ’70s – whether or not taking her to the films or simply hanging out for dinner after work or on the weekends. He was additionally the accountant for my aunt’s carpet and flooring firm in Miami till he handed away at 83 years of age in 2009, leaving his different collections to the household, alongside together with his recollections. Now, anytime I’m visiting my mom and ask to see her Patek, she at all times has a narrative to inform about El Tio.

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The creator’s mom and father on a ship in Puerto Rico. She is carrying her Rolex.

My mom’s different watch, her 25mm stainless-steel Rolex Oyster Perpetual, was inherited from my father’s sister, my aunt Adriana Teresa Vidal, or simply Titi Adri. To place it merely, Titi Adri is the explanation I reside in New York Metropolis. Eleven years my father’s senior, she moved from Puerto Rico to New York in her early 20s, after finishing secretarial faculty in early 1968. Titi Adri was sensible, unbiased, and social – New York Metropolis made her shine. One in all my favourite recollections is visiting her in New York with my dad and mom once I was 5 or so: We stayed in her residence and she or he purchased us bagels, cream cheese, and smoked salmon. Being so younger, I assumed the smoked salmon was actually good ham, and so I requested for extra ham. She was apparently carrying that Rolex OP on the time, a present from a “rich European boyfriend she was as soon as with,” as my mom defined.

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The creator’s father with Titi Adri (heart) and their different sister.

Titi Adri had launched my dad and mom to sushi within the 80s, and there’s a very good probability she launched my dad and mom to one another a few years earlier than. Being 11 years older than my father, she was buddies with my mother’s older sister, my Aunt Clara, who occurred to be the identical age as Titi Adri. I do know, plenty of names, huge Latin household.  I feel you get the image. Rising up, I at all times bear in mind my mother speaking on the telephone together with her, or asking my dad if he had referred to as her, his dad and mom, or his different sister. Regardless of the age distinction, Adri and my dad had been very shut, and her friendship with my mom made them even nearer. I feel for this reason she wished my mom to have her Rolex when she handed away in 1997, leaving it to her in her will.

Once I take a look at the pictures I took of my mom’s two watches I begin to suppose and snicker in regards to the cliché in watch amassing about how “it’s not in regards to the watches however in regards to the individuals they join you with.” It’s humorous, nevertheless it’s true, as a result of once I take a look at this Rolex and this Patek, I bear in mind the tales my mom has informed me about these two crucial individuals to her and to my household whereas I used to be rising up. It makes me understand that heritage and legacy can actually be preserved and handed down, and watch amassing is usually a actually lovely illustration of that, even in the event you don’t see your self as a watch collector.

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Whether or not a watch is given as a present, inherited, or bought for your self as a token of celebration or achievement, it represents the next very best or the bodily manifestation of a reminiscence. It doesn’t matter in the event you’re a purposeful fanatic or a reluctant collector, all of us want to guard our watches. HODINKEE Insurance coverage is right here to guard these useful and vital elements of your assortment. They’re a lot extra than simply timepieces; reasonably they’re items of time that may by no means be re-lived, solely remembered.

Click on right here to get your quote as we speak, and don’t hesitate to tell us how we can assist.



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