The worlds of wine and watches may seem miles apart, but this week saw Corney & Barrow combine the two in a supreme tasting with Tudor Watches.
We caught up with C&B’s Managing Director, Adam Brett-Smith to discuss the inspiration for the event. Apparently it’s very easy to draw parallels from grape to bottle and from workshop to wrist. ‘Both worlds inhabit a mass market trolley at one end and a grail of beauty and construction at the other. It’s quite a process!’
Adam has been working in the wine trade for over 35 years and his passion for watches is just as established. ‘I started to get fed up with cheap watches that stopped working when the battery ran out or they were exposed to water or dust. I quickly realised that a good watch needs care, attention to detail and love – much like a good wine!’
Much like wine, Adam finds it difficult to pick just one favourite watch. He insists on taking two to his desert island – a Rolex GMT II Master (the old ‘Pepsi’ aluminium bezel not the latest rather shiny ceramic model, he clarifies), and a Bremont Supermarine 500 so that he can pretend to be a real diver. He also describes his ideal model as a blend of the genius of Thomas Tompion, Thomas Mudge and John Harrison with a splash of Breguet! We’re not asking for much.
A good watch has the power to make you feel special, in much the same way as a good wine, we discover as Adam reflects on the first watch he ever owned. ‘I was six years old and was only allowed to wear it on very special occasions. I felt VERY grown up’ he jokes. His affinity to wine also conjures up some very special feelings. Adam recalls his most notable wine experience, at a vertical tasting of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti at the estate surrounded by the family who owned it. The oldest wine was a 1919, which he describes as simply ‘unearthly!’ However, he maintains that his perfect vintage will always be La Tâche 1990, for an unimaginable number of romantic reasons.
A watch can often keep its value, whereas a wine made for ageing can increase in value. We decided to get some advice for those new to both of these exciting worlds. ‘Read, research and listen to the experts’, he says. ‘David Duggan is brilliant on Rolex and Patek Philippe is hugely knowledgeable on all watches. And as for wine, I know some great people at Corney & Barrow who can help you out’ he winks.