The desktop detritus of Nick Sullivan

Esquire USA’s Creative Director talks us through the mess on his desk

(Words by)
Nick Sullivan

Nick Sullivan's desktop detritus, clockwise from top-left

#1: 1930s snapshots of assorted Hussar officers. I’m a fan and small-time collector of the sort of OTT, handmade, ornate parade uniforms that proliferated in the British Army (in particular in mounted regiments) until WW2. The handwork inside is as spectacular as the outside. These officers had probably already converted from horse to tank when these pics were taken, making their uniforms seem even more of a throwback.

#2: Random bit of iron found in the Mojave Desert on the set of a fashion shoot. I’m forever picking up rusty bits of metal from dry lake beds when on shoots. I have no idea why. But on the mantelpiece at home, they remind me of obscure bits of sculpture.

#3: Leo Marx Presidents. Starting with George Washington, you could collect the whole set of former US Presidents. It ran until 1972, when the company was sold, and the series ended rather ignominiously with Richard Nixon.

#4: First generation iPod launched in 2001. I bought it the day it came out for a trip from London to Auckland and loaded it with two albums. The batteries ran out over Germany.

#5: 50th Anniversary ceramic NASA astronaut, Omega 2019. Anything to do with the moon landings is fascinating to me. Through my watch writing — i.e., through Omega — I’ve managed to meet a string of former astronauts.

#6: 1960s promotional whisky figurine, possibly for Long John. He’s missing a wiggly walking stick but his grin cheers me up. I don’t drink whisky as a rule.

#7: 1935c Hermes Pilot watch, modern NATO strap. Long story: found on eBay for $213 in Latvia. Murky provenance but all the elements point to it being one of a very short run made in the mid 1930s for the Faubourg St Honoré store. It’s big for the era at 39.5mm and certainly made with civilian or military aviation in mind. It’s my favorite watch ever.

#8: Ashtray from Kaiserlicher Yacht Club, Kiel Germany, early 1930s. This was the Royal yacht club of Germany, the equivalent of the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes. In 1937, it was merged by the Nazi state into an engine of its propaganda machine. In the process, the ageing ousted Kaiser Wilhelm II, its long time Commodore, was unceremoniously retired.

#9: Noodle from two-tone Gorillaz figure set, 2003, Kid Robot.

#10: Mercedes 200 T Estate Car. I haven’t owned a car since moving to New York. Except this one. But if I did I’d love a 200T Estate.

#11: Unknown Arabic plaque, found in a flea market in Florence, Italy. I haven’t been able to identify or date it yet. To me it’s a random thing of beauty.

#12: Claridge’s ashtray, circa 2003. Some wag slipped this into my coat pocket during farewell drinks when I left London to move to New York in 2004. Reminds me of home.

#13: ST Dupont mini lighter. Made in conjunction with LA Designer Mike Amiri. I’m a fan of both. Even this little one makes the famous “clink” noise when you flick it open. Some chap by tradition is charged with ensuring they all make the same note.

#14: Royal Ocean Racing Club buttons, destined for a new home on a Ring Jacket blazer.

#15: WW2 Royal Navy officer’s cap badge. I’m fascinated by the ornate way these bullion badges were made. Modern RN badges look woefully cheap in comparison.

Want more incredible items? Here’s the curious tale of a Rolex “Single Red” Sea Dweller…

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