I consider myself a hard worker. In 10+ years, I built a company from my kitchen table to a successful business and accepted the opportunity to teach at the university level.
I had finally gotten to a place where I could afford a few nice things, and so I bought myself some nice watches, including the standards like a Submariner, a Speedmaster, a GMT Master, a Luminor, and a few others.
Life was great; normal and exciting at times. My business was picking up, and I was doing quite a bit of traveling. Years back, I took a calculated business gamble that actually worked out, and all of these fun things happened because I worked hard and took that chance. I’ve always considered myself lucky and blessed, but as we all know, life is not static.
Twelve years into my marriage, my then-wife and I separated and got divorced. It was a mutual agreement. My ex-wife and I are still friends on very good terms, but that is a story for another time.
Those of you who have lived through a divorce know that life can take a quick turn. The lifestyle you once were accustomed to suddenly ceases, and you begin to reevaluate what is truly important to you. I happen to live in Southern-California, so housing is quite expensive. I needed to move, furnish an entire apartment, and start over in many ways during this transitional time.
A lesser one of the many choices that I had to make was selling my watch collection. I sold everything except for the Submariner (hold on to your Sub.)
For some time, all I did was listen to Watch Podcasts, watch Horology YouTube videos, and live life vicariously.
Sometime later, I was finally in a better place and back on my feet. I saved some money and could afford to buy myself another nice watch.
The watch that hurt the most to sell was my Omega Speedmaster (3873.50.31) with an exhibition case back. I loved that watch. It felt a little big on my wrist, but I didn’t mind at all, different straps and bracelets look great on that watch. That was the watch that brought me the most joy. So naturally, I started hunting for that same watch as soon as I could afford it.
I looked for it on all the usual websites. On eBay, I came across a listing from this man that I will call “Steve.” He wrote pretty detailed information about his watch and included a more personal message saying that his partner was in graduate school and needed money for tuition. He really loved that watch but was gladly parting with it to pay for his partner’s university tuition.
I reached out to him to get a feel for him as a seller. As we all know, it is important to ask a lot of questions to make sure you don’t get scammed.
We struck up a pleasant conversation over the eBay messages, where he told me that he was happy to help the person he loved the most by selling pieces from his collection. I felt comfortable enough to share some of my story of selling my collection after my divorce, and I was so touched that he was selling his collection for love.
Even though we are all separated by distance and sometimes divided by beliefs, little things like watches can bring us together.
His watch is a little different from the one I had. It is still a Speedmaster but is a First Omega in Space (3220.127.116.11.01.001), which is a little smaller and actually perfect for my wrist. I did what we all do, which was go on the internet and research the heck out of it. I found an awesome video called “A Week on the Wrist” by Hodinkee on this particular watch, and I was hooked.
The day of the eBay auction came. I was so nervous because I had developed a connection with this watch, and it felt like it was coming back home to me. I bid over my budget for it but didn’t care. I wanted to own this particular speedy.
This process was a full-circle moment for me. Sitting alone in my apartment, yet so happy to know that not only was I purchasing a watch, but helping this man show a gesture of love to a person he cared so much about.
When people ask me or compliment me about this watch, I quickly tell them that “I bought it from a guy who sold it for love.”
Henry Alonzo is a Music Entrepreneur and College Professor who lives in Los Angeles. @henryalonzo
Editors Note: While you are reading about Speedmasters why not check out one of our Community unboxings of a Speedmaster.
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Disclaimer: Details of this article have been edited for continuity purposes.