by Amit Dev Handa (Las Vegas collector)
My love affair with watches began when I was 13 years old — with Swatch watches. I was lucky enough to be exposed to a retail environment and family business where I was around these incredibly accessible art pieces that ticked all day long. This changed the game for me totally. I learned about limited editions, supply and demand, economics, fashion, culture, music and originality all at the same time.
I was starting to see the evolution of the brand with automatic pieces, chronograph pieces, divers watches and even carousels and I liked it. I love the connection between man and machine and it felt right. The fact that I could collect something cool, unique, original and limited edition for $40 bucks made me feel I could finally identify with something that was real and my own.
Lets fast forward to seven years later at 20 years of age. I was a misfit, I didn’t belong, I was different and I didn’t know what I was going to do with the rest of my life, but I knew that my heart was in the watch game. I joined my family once again on the more serious side of watches as the business had evolved to the higher end luxury timepieces like IWC, Rolex, Vacheron Constantin, to name a few.
At first I rejected it; I could not understand it. I hated it because it was way too serious and felt uncomfortable and restrictive. Then, after getting my butt kicked, I stop resisting, took a step back and became fascinated with the history of these brands and what made them tick — and I fell in love once again.
Rolex was the language I was officially speaking. I was completely obsessed. So simple, clean, bullet proof, iconic and held its value. I had to have one! My first real watch was a Rolex Air King with a black dial that I bought for $1500. You would have thought I died and went to heaven. I was only 21 years of age and owned a Rolex watch that I bought with my own money. No way!
This one watch from this one brand started my addiction, and has fueled my passion and love for watches till today. Rolex turned me on to Panerai, which is by far my favorite watch brand of all time. There is so much incredible history between the two brands that I am still trying to unravel. I have owned many different watches over the years from every major and minor watch brand.
Today I am proud to say that I am still in love with Rolex and obsessed with Panerai. I am also proud to say that my love of watches has propelled my career. I am the Official Luxury Timepiece Concierge at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel of Las Vegas and have recently become the Official Distributor for a new brand of watches called Kingsley 1945 watches, which are hand assembled in Providence, Rhode Island. I never thought that something I have collected since I was a teenager could lead to such an amazing career in the watch industry that has transcended time over the last 25 years. Where could your passion lead you?