“If you do your homework, you can make sure which watches are really worth the money.”
Brian Palakow, vice president of the Milan- based Laboratorio Elettrofisico engineering firm, commemorates significant moments with a fine timepiece. “Each watch I buy represents an accomplishment,” he says. “My two-tone Rolex Submariner was my first ‘big boy’ watch,” he adds, recalling how while working on an important deal, he and his partner would stop at a local jeweler and admire its Submariner.
“After a full year, we finally closed the deal and I rewarded myself with the watch,” he says “My watches give me confidence because when I look at them, I remember realizing my goals.”
A former Cage Fury Fighting champion who now does Brazilian jiujitsu, Muay Thai kickboxing and mixed martial arts, Palakow occasionally serves as a commentator for CBS Sports. People are intrigued to learn about that side of him, he says, adding, “I believe in balance in everything in life.” Palakow always wears a watch when working, especially while appearing on TV.
“When I commentate, I wear the Submariner or my rose gold Franck Muller with the platinum rotor,” he says.
He first learned about watches as a college student working one summer at Hamilton Jewelers. “I used to look at some of the timepieces and be blown away by how beautiful they are and how passionate people were about them.” When the store started carrying Franck Muller timepieces, he vowed to someday buy one and did so a few years ago.
Palakow does a proper investigation before buying a new watch. “I want to do my research and know that the brand has the right amount of engineering and quality control,” he says. “I have seen an explosion of brands with really expensive watches. If you do your homework, you can make sure which watches are really worth the money.”
“Watches are so detailed and intricate, and there is so much engineering and design inside them,” he adds. “Working in an engineering company now, I have so much appreciation for the thought process that goes into them. Nothing you can wear tells more about you than a timepiece.”
He also recognizes the role that a watch can play as a conversation starter. On a recent London flight, a fellow passenger spotted him reading about watches and began asking questions. “This then became a four-hour conversation,” he recalls. “What else other than watches can you talk about for four hours?”
Palakow’s current favorite is his Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore, followed by an Oyster Perpetual Rolex Deepsea with d-blue dial edition (the James Cameron expedition version).
“I wear all my watches and rotate them,” he says. “I change them out a couple of times a day.”
“I love watches and I plan on passing them on to my sons, Palakow adds. “When I need to think, I will stand at my winder with my polishing rag and I will polish my watches and it’s like meditation. I’ll do that two or three times a day.”
His next purchase? “I am constantly looking at different brands, but I think I want to get a Panerai,” he says. Most likely, “I’ll buy it in Italy as I am there five or six times a year on business.” He’s also considering a Blancpain 50 Fathoms.
“I like well built, aggressive designs,” he says. “But my watch collection is like my life; I want it to be diverse.”