Collectors Dialogue Sandra Silva

Marbella, Spain

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Modern watches are soulless, cold, shiny bling to me, whereas vintage watches have a soul, and the charm of imperfections.Sandra Silva

We caught up with Sandra Silva (@_passion66_) – one of the few leading female voices in a largely male-dominant world of watch collecting and an active contributor in the scholarship of vintage Heuer timepieces – to gain some insight into her philosophy in collecting and the effects of social media.

1950’s Heuer Big Eye Chronograph. Photo courtesy: Sandra Silva
1973 Longines Serge Manzon. Photo courtesy: Sandra Silva

With your background in art consulting, are there any interesting parallels between art collecting and watch collecting?

To me, a watch has a great deal of artistry as it needs a great deal of creativity all together. A case is like a sculpture, balanced and complementary to the dial and movement. Dials are like a canvas featuring beautiful colours and design – and not forgetting the beauty of a running movement.

Who can say a 13ZN isn’t pure Art? Adding the art of time – considering the life the watch lived through humidity and sun, tool watches used by divers or even military watches surviving times of war – aren’t all these considered Art? All these details make us prefer a vintage watch to a modern cold perfect watch.

Abercrombie & Fitch Seafarer. Photo courtesy: Sandra Silva

Do you remember your very first vintage watch or any other watch with significant sentimental value?

The first watch I really fell in love with was a Seafarer by Abercrombie & Fitch seen on a collector in Germany, and it took me around 8 years to find mine. It has been my favourite watch in our collection ever since. (The following photo captures that moment in Hannover)

Abercrombie & Fitch Seafarer. Photo courtesy: Sandra Silva
Abercrombie & Fitch Seafarer. Photo courtesy: Sandra Silva

You appear to be a collector with great individual taste, eschewing the run-of-the-mill steel sports watches and Gerald Genta’s, what do you think informs your taste in watches?

I guess Instagram has made me discover the vintage watch world. A new world has been opened, with an extremely broad variety of new models I have never seen and recently more feeds with interesting informative posts such as @jgwatchesuk.

My concept of Patek, Rolex, Cartier and Longines has changed greatly after viewing some very interesting collections from the likes of Goldberger, Roni, Takuya and Jason Singer.

Zodiac Pocketwatch. Photo courtesy: Sandra Silva

We love your engagement in the discourse of females in watch and automobile collecting. What advice would you give to any budding female collectors out there?

First of all, please don’t wear metal bracelets next to your watch😅. Try to convince your husband to lend you his vintage watches😂. But mainly, always wear what you love and not what is in fashion. There is nothing sexier than to have your own personal style.

1963 Patek Philippe Ref. 178. Photo courtesy: Sandra Silva
Heuer Autavia Ref. 2446C MK2. Photo courtesy: Sandra Silva
There’s nothing sexier than to have your own personal style.Sandra Silva

Social media platforms like Instagram have definitely made the world a much smaller place, connecting collectors all over the world and inadvertently displacing online community forums. What are your thoughts on this shift from community forums to social media?

I think in forums the ambiance is often not very relaxed, with specialists claiming they have the best knowledge and unfortunately that often creates tension, which we don’t find on Instagram.

We often forget that things were very complicated back then when the Quartz revolution caused a significant decline of the Swiss watchmaking industry, which caused the loss of hundreds of historical archives for many houses. I find many experts try to impose their ideas of how things worked and that’s something that makes others feel assailed.

1935 Alpina Gruen. Photo courtesy: Sandra Silva

Do you have a rotation of watches or a particular piece that you tend to gravitate towards?

I recently tend to gravitate towards Tank watches and smaller sizes, and consider myself to have a very Japanese taste for vintage watches.

Finally, perhaps most importantly, we absolutely adore Ruffo and would love to know if he has a favorite watch?

Hahahaha! He asked for a table clock.

Sandra, thank you for taking the time to chat and share your thoughts.

Sandra Silva. Photo courtesy: Sandra Silva
Sandra Silva. Photo courtesy: Sandra Silva
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