Cloister Watch Company was an accident.
I never intended my passion for wristwatches to extend beyond my own wrist. It happened haphazardly, over time. I found myself with a collection of JLCs, Rolexes, Breitlings, and Vacherons. I began to face the classic watch collector's dilemma. I loved each watch I owned, but many went unworn.
By exclusively collecting vintage watches, relationships began developing with dealers around the world.
As I learned and bought, I found that more and more had become aware of my work. My wishlist was long and ever growing, so I became a reliable customer for quite a few dealers.
Initially there was little focus on trading or turning profit. To the extent that I could share that which I loved, I tried to do so freely. As my collection grew, people began reaching out. One particular dealing left me with a spare 1963 Rolex Datejust 1601. This unexpected watch inspired me to transform a simple Datejust into something uniquely my own.
The most obvious place to start was the dial. I began mixing colors and ended up with a remarkable shade of orange. My network of dealers and service centers turned up a reliable painter who could refinish the watch dial in what we eventually named 'Just Orange'. A talented painter in Bavaria completed the dial beautifully while a metal fabricator in New York created a custom sapphire crystal caseback, exposing the caliber 1570 movement.
I had long been
a curator of watches;
now I was a creator.
When I received the completed watch, I was stunned. The dial was faithfully rendered and the caseback perfectly executed.
The Datejust quickly became my daily watch. I ran into a fellow collector on the street. He noticed the watch immediately, and asked where I got it. I proudly told him that I had built the watch myself and it wasn't for sale. Fifteen minutes later I left with a check and he left with my Just Orange Datejust.
To make up for this unexpected trade, I had an identical Rolex built. And then it happened again. The second watch didn’t last more than a month before another collector convinced me to sell it. Soon it was seldom that I wasn't working to either replace my watch or design a new piece for a friend; all my work driven by collaborative imagination.
Cloister Watches will always embody the spirit of creative freedom and quality craftsmanship.