In Conversation With: Santa Laura

One of the collectors I respect the most is @Santa_Laura. Because, for him, collecting has been a path of self-discovery and appreciation in its most authentic form. It would be easy to look at the seemingly endless cavalcade of horological riches, from gem-set Daytonas to Richard Milles in multiple colourways to bespoke engraved URWERKs and pièce unique Greubel Forseys, and imagine him to have simply assembled a “greatest hits” list of the world’s most desirable timepieces. But the reality is that quite the opposite is true. He has always pursued his affection for watches with a sincerity that in many cases vied with the common consensus or opposed prevailing trends. In many instances, the categories of watches that he had affection for — the aforementioned Daytonas, for example — were something that he loved before they were co-opted by celebrities. There is a precision, a decisiveness and a fearlessness with which he has built his business, led his life and collected the watches that he admires. He loves family, colour, contemporary art, wine and, most of all, sharing his passion for watches, food and wine with other people, and there is a genuineness to his character that makes him truly admirable. It was a pleasure to look through just a small sample of the extraordinary watches he’s collected over the last two decades and learn about him both as a collector and a person.

What is your philosophy for collecting?

I think the worst way to collect is from the perspective of investment. I know a lot of people look at purchasing watches from that perspective, hoping to see appreciation from their collection. But then you end up buying into trends that are already ascending and that have already been created, either organically or intentionally, but are not really an expression of what you like. A lot of times those collectors are looking to wear something that is instantly recognisable, that people, even relatively uninformed people, will look at and recognise the material value of and, by extension, the net worth of that individual. I hate that. Basically you are curating a collection based on what other people think of you. And this is fundamentally an expression of insecurity or desperation, looking to be validated in some way. I actually feel the opposite. If you

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