2015 was a big year for me – one that marked a lot of changes in my life both as watch journalist and entrepreneur, and collector. Ultimately, I look at this year as one where I began to put a real eye towards the future. Professionally, it marked the merger and growth of this small passion project I started some years ago with my friend Kevin’s company North Technologies into the new HODINKEE. I realized I wanted to take things to the next level, and we did. As a collector, I also began to realize that the future for me meant finding and living with the watches that you don’t find in a Tourneau window or on the cover of an auction catalog, but watches that really speak to me. And as many of you know, the now all but defunct Universal Geneve has always been a favorite of mine. So since coming into contact with what many would describe as the holy grail of Universal while chatting with my friend John Goldberger, the Cairelli Split-Seconds was a dream of mine. I was able to acquire one about 18 months ago from another world-class Italian collector, and for much of 2015 it did not leave my side.

Yes it’s 44 mm in diameter and yes I am the first to rail against oversized watches, but this one is different. It was made 44 mm because it served a purpose, and the way this pilot’s watch sits on the wrist in spite of its size is remarkable. Then, add to that a 24-hour dial and a vintage split-seconds chronograph mechanism and you have one of the most fascinating, charming watches I’ve ever seen. What’s more, this Universal split-seconds accompanied me on one of my most memorable experiences of the year – when I sat down with Mr. Ralph Lauren to talk about watches. And yes, he loved it.