Kristian Haagen

Kristian Haagen talks us through his 10 favourite watches

Sit back and feel the envy as the avid watch collector talks us through his treasures, from a Rolex GMT-Master to a Patek Philippe Nautilus Chronograph

“I was very young when I started taking an interest in watches,” says Kristian Haagen. “Six-years-old, to be precise.”

And, if there’s one thing the Scandinavian entrepreneur and watch expert values, it’s precision. His passion and enthusiasm for meticulously mechanised timepieces began when he was flicking through the pages of National Geographic magazine when he was a child — and the adverts caught his eye more than the articles. Rolex, Patek Phillipe. You name it, he wanted it.

“So watches were always my thing,” Haagen explains. “My very first watch was a blue dial Certina, that my parents gave me when I was nine — but my first ‘real’ watch was a Tudor Chronograph Big Block, which I bought when I was 20. And I bought that because I thought it looked like a Rolex Daytona, a watch I had lusted after since my youth.”

Haagen began collecting in 1993, and has since amassed an enviable collection — everything from TAG Heuers and Carl F. Bucherers to A. Lange & Söhnes and even the odd IWC. And, although his advice to wannabe collectors would be to “choose the watch that makes you forget about time when looking at it,” Haagen also admits that he is very spontaneous with his purchases. Here are ten of his most prized treasures…

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk in White Gold

When did you get this watch? “I traded my Patek Philippe Nautilus Chronograph ref. 5980 White Dial, Tiffany & Co-signed, in 2015. It was a poor trade from my side in terms of value. But the Zeitwerk is such a stunner and, back then, there was quite a long waiting list on this model.”

How much is this watch now worth? “I’m not sure of the value today, but surely not as much as the Tiffany-signed Nautilus I traded in!”

What does this watch mean to you? “This is a really special watch in my collection. I mean, look at it. It’s a mechanically driven digital watch from one of the finest manufacturers in the world. And it has a movement that leaves people who aren’t even into watchmaking completely speechless.”

1968 Rolex GMT-Master ref. 1675

1968 Rolex GMT-Master ref. 1675

When did you get this watch? “I was offered this watch from the widow of a long-time hero of mine. I think it was back in 2014.”

How much is this watch now worth? “The emotional value of this watch makes it the most valuable watch in my collection. It was owned by a big hero of mine, Jan Stage. He was a war correspondent and author of many books. He bought the watch back in 1968, when he joined the Cuban intelligence. He wanted the same watch as his own heroes back then, Che Guevara and Fidel Castro — hence the GMT-Master with the distinct Pepsi-bezel insert.

What does this watch mean to you? “I cannot describe what it feels like to own a watch that once belonged to my hero. And knowing what the watch has been through makes it an exquisite horological storyteller on its own.”

1976 Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 3700

When did you get this watch? “I was offered this watch by an older Danish gentleman, who knew that I had a fondness for the Nautilus line. I bought it in 2016.”

How much is this watch now worth? “This watch is worth a lot more today than when I bought it. But that doesn’t really matter as I bought it to keep it. It wasn’t a monetary investment — rather an emotional investment.”

What does this watch mean to you? “I first saw the Nautilus in one of those adverts in National Geographic in 1976. It had a sword in front of the actual watch and, for a six-year-old, a sword is a strong signal. Of course, I also noticed the watch, and the Nautilus ref. 3700 became a childhood favourite. Imagine owning a Nautilus from its actual launch year — it’s a childhood dream come true!”

Rolex GMT-Master ref. 126710BLRO

Rolex GMT-Master ref. 126710BLRO

When did you get this watch? “I bought this from a local retailer in September 2018.”

How much is this watch now worth? “I believe the current value is double what I paid. But, as I did not buy this watch to flip it, I instead had the case back engraved with the words: “NOT FOR SALE”. True story.”

What does this watch mean to you? “I travel a lot  — well, I did before the pandemic — and a GMT-function is one of the features I appreciate most in a watch. It’s basically the perfect watch for me, and extremely pleasant to wear. I also enjoy owning two generations of the illustrious Pepsi: one from 1968 and one from 2018.”

Linde Werdelin 3 Timer Haagen Edition

When did you get this watch? “I made this watch with Linde Werdelin in 2017.”

How much is this watch now worth? “I have the prototype number 00/33 and, to me, the value is again based on emotions rather than money.”

What does this watch mean to you? “Imagine a watch company — one you really, really like — calling you up and suggesting you make a watch together. It was such an honour! The founders, Morten Linde and Jørn Werdelin, know my love for Land Rovers, Barbour jackets, Filson bags and Red Wing Boots. Together, we designed the watch in earthy tones inspired by my love for a life enjoyed in nature.”

Rolex Daytona ref. 116500LN

Rolex Daytona ref. 116500LN

When did you get this watch? “I bought this from my local Rolex retailer in 2019.”

How much is this watch now worth? “I believe the current value is double what I paid.”

What does this watch mean to you? “I have always been very fond of the Daytona. Even as a young kid, I knew this was an important watch in modern watchmaking history. I have owned many Daytonas before this. But the white dial and black ceramic bezel give this one the perfect mix of a Zenith-driven Daytona (due to the dial design) and a vintage ref. 6263 (due to the black bezel). So, to me at least, this is the perfect Daytona.”

Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time ref. 5524G

When did you get this watch? “I bought this in September 2018 after waiting for approximately six months.”

How much is this watch now worth? “This model is worth a lot less than what I paid. It is not at all a very popular model.”

What does this watch mean to you? “I originally did not like this watch when it was introduced in 2015. But, during a visit to the Patek Philippe salon in Geneva, where I originally wanted to try on the Nautilus 5712G in white gold, I tried the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time and was amazed how well it fit me. I really fell in love with the model and ordered it at my local Patek Philippe retailer as soon as I returned to Denmark.

“The dark blue dial is stunning and, with a customised Two Stitch strap, the watch has a tool-like look to it. Not least because of the screw-down pushers that regulate home and travel time. It is so different from the Nautilus and Aquanauts that I have in my collection. I really appreciate the ‘under-the-radar’ look and feel of this unusual Patek Philippe.”

Patek Philippe Aquanaut ref. 5167

Patek Philippe Aquanaut ref. 5167

When did you get this watch? “I bought it pre-owned back in 2015.”

How much is this watch now worth? “I believe the current value is double what I paid. Or more even. It is a very popular model. Especially with the green tropic rubber strap. People are paying crazy money for that strap!”

What does this watch mean to you? “The Aquanaut is one of the most comfortable watches to wear. It sits so gently on the wrist and the ergonomic rubber and butterfly strap is simply perfect! It is the perfect watch for sports and everyday wear.”

Patek Philippe Nautilus Chronograph ref. 5980

When did you get this watch? “I bought this watch in September 2009 — in the midst of the financial crisis. Crazy!”

How much is this watch now worth? “The value of this model today is crazy. Like three times what I paid in 2009. Recently, however, it has decreased in value, but is still very pricey on the secondary market.”

What does this watch mean to you? “This was the first very expensive watch I bought. I must admit, I was slightly drunk when I ordered it at the Monaco Yacht Show. On the plane back home the next day, all sobered up, I was all: “What have I done!” That said, I love this watch to bits. Recently I had it serviced, but not polished, as I appreciate that this watch shows wear and tear. Or attractive wabi-sabi, if you like! This watch is very ‘me’, as I have owned and worn it for so long I consider it a permanent part of my collection.”

1976 Tudor Chronograph ref. 7149

1976 Tudor Chronograph ref. 7149

When did you get this watch? “I bought this watch at an auction back in 2017.”

How much is this watch now worth? “This is a rare beast and has increased dramatically since I bought it. I believe around €20-25,000 or so.”

What does this watch mean to you? “The funny thing about these manual-wind Tudor Chronographs is that I bought my very first one 20 years ago. Back then, I bought one for $500 as I needed the Rolex bracelet that came with the watch. The watch itself I left in a drawer and sold it for very little money a little later. Now, with the great Heritage line from Tudor that was introduced in 2010, the vintage pieces have all taken a wild jump and all become so collectable. Personally I really like that funky, offbeat look and odd position of the date window.”

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