Watch Expert Kristian Haagen: When Danish Serenity Meets Horological Competence

By Montredo in Lifestyle
May 14, 2019
Watch Expert Kristian Haagen: When Danish Serenity Meets Horological Competence

Kristian Haagen is the epitome of a watch nut and summarizing his creative drive in one word turns out to be more difficult than expected: The Dane is photographer, author, journalist, collector and watch auction consultant in one, a true multi-talent. In addition to the App 8past10, Haagen is also the brain behind the e-magazine Timegeeks and author of several watch books (more on this later).

Reason enough for us to get to know Kristian Haagen a little better. In our interview he gives us an insight into his impressive collection, reveals the emotional story behind his Vintage Rolex GMT Master and unveils his personal Grail Watch.

Kristian, how and when did you get into watches, what sparked the fascination?

Flipping through my family’s substantial collection of National Geographic magazines, I especially loved the watch adverts in the mags from the 1970ies. The Patek Philippe Nautilus with a sword in front of the watch had my full attention. I also noticed that many of the explorers, divers and mountaineers inside the magazine wore a watch, typically a Rolex or Omega. As I a young boy (I was six years old) the wristwatch became a part of a very masculine uniform and I guess this is where my love for wristwatches originates.

Watch Expert Kristian Haagen

In three words: What does Kristian Haagen stand for?

Passion, nostalgia and really old Red Wing boots. 

You are not only a great watch enthusiast but also an author. What was the incentive to come up with Hashtags & Watches?

I have published seven books on watches. I consider myself a print romantic, but I also have a hot relationship with Instagram. So why not combine the two and publish my Instagram profile as a book? That was my initial idea and now I am soon publishing the third volume of “Hashtags & Watches”, proving that the format is a great success. Also, I really enjoy seeing my own pictures on print.

Watch Expert Kristian Haagen

What is your favourite watch in your current collection and why? (Speaking of which: Are you a watch flipper?)

I am not a flipper. I collect to keep and enjoy. And many watches in my collection are favourites. However, a GMT-Master from 1968 has a special meaning as it was once owned by a hero of mine: Jan Stage. Stage left for Cuba in the 1960s and started working for the Cuban Secret Service bureau. He was a great fan of Che and Fidel and hence wanted to own the same watch as they did, explaining why he went for the Rolex GMT-master with the distinct “Pepsi” bezel insert. 

After his death his widow contacted me out of the blue, asking if I wanted to buy her late husband’s watch. She had no idea that I was a long-time fan of him, his many books and articles from war zones around the world. I saw him wearing the watch in the airport many times, but I never had the guts to approach him and ask him about the watch. But now I own it myself, knowing what that watch has experienced around his wrist. In other words, the emotional values connected to this watch makes it valuable and hence my most precious watch in my collection.

Watch Expert Kristian Haagen
The Rolex Pepsi GMT that once belonged to the Danish journalist Jan Stage.

Is there a watch you would kill for, your personal grail watch?

I am very content with my collection of watches. But if I had to expand my collecting right now I could see me go for a Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph ref. 3970. Many will find this watch small and not attractive at all (it has a diameter of only 36 millimetre), but I find this particular watch very very attractive. And best thing is that it will not completely ruin me, as it is not a very coveted reference and hence prices are very reasonable, considering what pretty much any other Patek Philippe with perpetual calendar and chronograph goes for these days. 

To which approach can you relate more: Five different entry-level pieces or one serious timepiece worth five entry-level watches?

I’d go for the latter. I am actually downsizing my collection dramatically these days as I still have too many watches I do not wear enough. And I think that is a shame. Then rather trade a handful of forgotten critters into a one extra fine ticker.

Watch Expert Kristian Haagen
Also an iconic Zeitwerk by A. Lange & Söhne has made it into Haagen’s collection.

If you were to have a tête-à-tête with your 20-year-old-self, which horological advice would you give yourself?

Don’t listen to the loud mouths. Be patient and make up your own mind. Buy the watches for yourself, not the onlookers. And don’t sell your vintage Rolexes! 

You’re one of the brains behind 8past10, a social network for watch aficionados. What’s the idea behind?

The 8past10 app is a niche app where every watch is welcome. Anybody can start a discussion, share opinions and pictures as well as use the sales market on the app. The app also offers quizzes and more and more gamification. It is pretty much a one-stop platform for watch lovers of any gender, age and knowledge.

Watch Expert Kristian Haagen
Undoubtedly one of the big all time classics: Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak

What would be your go-to watch in the following five categories on Montredo?

EUR 0 – 500: Hamilton Khaki Field
EUR 500 – 1,500: Victorinox I.N.O.X.
EUR 1,500 – 3,000: Oris Divers Sixty-Five
EUR 3,000 – 5,000: Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch
EUR 5,000 – 10,000: Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Geographic

Tak, Kristian!

(Also, make sure to check out Kristian Haagen’s website and Instagram profile for some seriously cool watch content.)