Grahame Fowler is a military watch gatherer. He concentrates on those watches that were never given to civilians – the watches that were reason built for real action. On a radiant fall day in September, we paid a visit to Grahame’s store to see a portion of his favorites.
Grahame owns seven Tudor Submariners gave to the French Marine Nationale. They range from the earliest black dial 7016/0 gave in 1974 (the rarest and generally sought after) to the blue snowflakes of the later ’70s, and all the way until the final round of MN Tudor’s given in 1983, that come with Mercedes hands and maxi plot dials. He has them all, and these seven watches complete a wonderful, detailed set for Marine Nationale watches.
Grahame’s military assortment proceeds across the channel to incorporate the Tudors’ British brethren – the Rolex Military Submariners. Like his arrangement of MN’s, Grahame is a completist, and owns several variations on the same theme.
In fact, he owns six diverse MOD-gave Rolexes. Included here are the three main references of MilSub – 5513, 5517, and the double reference 5513/5517. But the assortment doesn’t end there – he owns a beautiful civilianized MilSub – a watch gave, and then later transformed into a more traditional looking Submariner via the change of hands and bezel.
He also owns a lovely 5513 that happens to have an exceptionally special serial number – finishing in 007 – adequately the watch James Bond would have been given (in the event that, you know, he was a real individual). Finally, Grahame’s favorite MilSub is a 5513 that was dropped off a boat in Dorset – the training grounds of the SBS – and lived under the sand for quite a long time. He had it sealed with the sand still inside the case, and while it runs impeccably, it is hard to tell the time. He doesn’t mind.
To understand Grahame’s fascination with Military Submariners is to understand Grahame as a creator, shop owner, and an individual. He puts it best when he says “such countless things are tarted up…so shiny and new,” and when you think of these watches – with years of action surprisingly, and compare them with watches of today, one can immediately see why Grahame has consumed his time on earth building things of lasting value, and searching out these exceptionally special watches. Grahame, his store, and his watches all have stories to tell. And isn’t that what watches are about, anyway?
You may view Grahame Fowler’s official website right here . His store is located at 138 West 10th Street in NYC, and while he doesn’t keep his MilSubs in the shop, he offers a few more affordable military gave watches available to be purchased . It is absolutely worth a visit, whether you like watches or not.