Gush Mundae, the founder of London-based creative agency Bulletproof, had his eye trained on watches from a young age. Mundae, who counts Coca-Cola, Cadbury chocolates and Nivea among his clients, recently shared his collecting story.
“My interest began when I was 10 years old,” says the Indian-born Mundae, who has resided in London since the age of 5. “Casio digital watches were very popular throughout my childhood and I would ask for a Casio rather than a toy for my birthday.” After assembling a collection of Casios, “I started collecting more seriously and studying certain brands in the early ‘90s,” he recalls.
“I tend to collect vintage watches with an interesting or rich history,” Mundae says. “They have an aesthetic, character and quality which is rarely matched by modern timepieces.”
His favorite watch has a storied provenance that’s well documented: ”My Panerai 3646 … I bought from the son of the original owner, who had bought the watch in World War II for 10 cigarettes,” he says.
“I love the story of the vintage Panerai watches and their association with the brotherhood of divers who used them as true tools,” he says. “Everything about this one is functional and yet it carries such an emotional history. I can only begin to imagine what this watch has seen and been through.”
He also admires the intricacy and balance of a watch’s design: “In complete contrast, my other out and out favorite is my 6263 screw-down pusher Paul Newman Daytona. I get lost in the beautiful details of the dial.”
Mundae enjoys collecting not only to revel in owning a fine watch but also to enjoy the adventure of discovering a choice timepiece and pursuing its purchase, which he describes as “the hunt, the chase to find something which sets my pulse racing.”
He also delights in meeting like-minded spirits, “the wonderful people you meet from all walks of life who share this passion.” He points out, “I have lifelong friends from every corner of the globe through collecting watches.”
Mundae says he wears all his watches on rotation, with the qualification that “I tend to wear my ‘tool’ watches more than my complications.” His go-to piece? A 5513 Rolex Milsub that he finds thoroughly versatile. “I tend to wear more complicated pieces such as my Patek 5970P on more formal occasions.”
None of his watches are confined to the back of a drawer, however. “I have a very simple rule to wear and enjoy all my watches,” Mundae says. “Life is too short!”
Mundae advises new collectors to pursue the following steps: “Do your homework on the brand and marketplace, join forums and ask questions respectfully.” Then purchase “what you love regardless of the market direction and hype,” he says, adding, “Buy the best example you can within your budget, remembering that the dial is everything.”
A last bit of advice could be applied to many a passion: “Wear it often and enjoy it unconditionally.”