In this episode of PASSION TALK I want to share with you this very special watch, with maybe the biggest meaning to me of all of my watches.
The watch i was given by my Dad for Christmas four years ago.
Many of you know me as a collector of vintage (Rolex) watches for many years. And all of that is in a way related to my Dad and this Heuer Camaro. Even creating the brand ‘Bulang & Sons’ has a relation to that. The brand is centered around the connection of values, heritage, relationships and friendships we share. The watches, lifestyle, cars et al are just the medium sometimes. The ‘&Sons’ in B&S is also about the values and adventures I shared with my Dad when i was a kid and how I want to share these with my kids also in the future. All we do is just part of the big ‘road trip of life’ and we hope the stuff we create and sell will become also part of people’s story to share and pass on.
Back to the watch.
My dad bought this watch new at the local AD and in the 70s and it was my Dad’s daily watch. Later it would ignite my love for chronographs…
At that time i was a young kid and the world was very different from today. The world was much smaller over here in Europe, with three TV channels and travels/holidays mostly being in driving distance.
My dad was a business man and traveled the world back then. For us as kids, the stories and images from places like Japan, Brazil, USA where he traveled where magical…sometimes like from a different planet! These days in times of globalization and worldwide brands/subcultures we often forget how totally different life was in a town in the middle of the USA against our small area here in the Netherlands. Everything tasted, looked and felt different.
And i enjoyed the Polaroid images my Dad took during his travels so much. Images of the beaches in Florida, Grand Canyon, Japan etc… it always started me dreaming of a bigger world and new experiences; places i wanted to be and I always wished I could have accompanied him. These polaroids I still cherish and share with my kids today.
You can see him wearing the Heuer in these images.
At the end of the 70s we were finally able to join him and spend a great holiday at Captiva and Sanibel Island in Florida. And until today that is one of my greatest memories. Fishing, catching shark, Disney World, the food, roads, tropical rain, clam chowder, The Bubble Room, Florida Shuffle… just magical for a 9 year old kid!
Captiva and Sanibel became one of our big favorites of my teenage youth years also.
My love for collecting was also ignited by my Dad. As a kid almost every weekend we visited special fairs, events and exhibitions. His deep passion, interest in the stories behind, in-depth knowledge and interest rubbed off on me. But the trips were more then about the objects; it was for me about the deep connection with my dad. The road trips and great talks in the car I still profit from today. Great lessons on values, society and history. That is still a big legacy I got from my Dad that I try to pass on to my kids.
In those teenage years my interest for watches started. With my first Swatch my Dad bought for me in Switzerland, when they were not available yet in rest of Europe and more accessible watches. When I was 15 or 16 years old I remembered the Heuer Camaro from my Dad. It was sitting in a drawer at home. Crackle in the plexi, only one half of the strap left and the movement not running. But i loved it already! I started wearing it to school (not running)just for the look and feel. I even got some life in the movement for a short period! But after a few months I put it back into the drawer and forgot about it for more then 15 years.
Discovery of the watches
My trip went on with a Heuer Formula 1 watch and others, until I bought my first mechanical ‘real’ watch when my oldest son was born. Then about ten years ago i started to get a real interest in vintage watches. My road was great fun and crazy those years with all the classics from Omega, Heuer, Rolex, Patek, IWC etc.
Then one day I remembered the Heuer Camaro again and searched my parents house to find it. And there it was…same drawer and same way I’d left it years before. My Dad had forgot about it and did not even realise it was still there.
I took the watch to a local watchmaker and had it restored, added a great strap and offered the watch to my father as a surprise so he could keep telling the story of the watch and wear it for hopefully many years to come.
Nine or ten years ago nobody had any interesting the Heuer Camaro and maybe even two or three years ago it was the least favorite watch of the old Heuer sports chronos like the Autavia, Carrera etc. With its typical iconic shape it had that 70s feel to it, that was not so popular yet.
But over the last few years we’ve witnessed prices going up and up and today I see prices over 4000 Euros for such examples. For me, however, the value of this watch was always beyond any number and I hoped one dad, far away, I would get the watch and add my story to the family piece.
And then it became mine
The surprise was on me, when my dad gave me the watch for Christmas four years ago. It was a very special moment for me and I still proudly own that watch. I don’t wear it every week, but every time I open the watch box it gives me that special smile and connection with my Dad and memories from my youth.
In the last years i have picked up a couple of the Heuer Camaros with black or tropical dials. They always have been underrated watches and they are iconic and special in their own way with that 60/70s look.
And wearing them on the amazing designed and build Gay Frères bracelet makes them look even cooler.
My Dad always wore the watch on a leather or perlon strap and I added the Gay Frères later and believe its a great addition to the style. Also our 19mm handmade straps look so great with these watches. So much fun to play around!
The Camaro Party
One could say, this Heuer Camaro has started it all.
My Dad celebrates his 80th birthday this year and we hope to celebrate in a special way this summer. I hope he will stay with me for many more years to come.
Thanks dad for all you have given me.
I love you.