Collector’s Mindset in Russia: Exploring Saint-Petersburg with Jaquet Droz
Travelling is a very big part of our team’s lives. And while you’ve seen us travel to the US or MEA many times it was our very first time in Saint Petersburg this year. Right when Russia was hosting the IIHF World Hockey Championship in the city, we had a great couple of days around Saint-Petersburg with some of the most traditional and elegant watches out there by Jaquet Droz.
While it may seem like Jaquet Droz is an independent brand to many of you guys (due to their limited production numbers and not a very flashy image) it’s actually among the most desired watch brands in Russia. Pretty much every mature collector either has a Jaquet Droz or really wants one; all due to the classy and discreet image.
I know what you’re thinking – Russian collectors would prefer loud and chunky rose gold watches that scream ‘wealth’. And you would be right if we were in 2005. After talking to some of Russia’s new wealth and true collectors we realised they’re a lot more educated than we could’ve thought. Movements and complications play a big part when choosing a watch in Russia, as well as the refined look.
While there is a good amount of big collectors in the country, they prefer to be discreet and secretive about their collections, unlike in many other parts of the world. Nope, that’s not because they’re afraid the government is going to send them to prison, but just like European entrepreneurs the Russians have learnt wealth’s true price and value.
Of course we’ll see a chap driving his Lamborghini here and there, wearing a flashy timepiece. Nothing wrong with that. But if you look at the majority of Russia’s wealth today people keep quiet about their finances, and so do their wrists. Because only a collector would know the true value of a classy Grande Seconde Minute Repeater.
As for the city itself – Saint Petersburg is definitely one of those places that remained virtually untouched for the past century. Many historical buildings, museums, sculptures and even roads not at all used to car wheels, all create some sort of a natural feel when you’re walking around town.
All watches by Jaquet Droz, available at the Toubrillon boutique in Saint Petersburg, Russia
Photography by David Sarkyskian for WatchAnish.com