Time Well Spent: An Interview with Sam Fremstar, a Watch-Collecting Superstar

Sam Fremstar is literally a watch-collecting superstar. Not only because he's the man behind the renowned Instagram account, @Fremstar, but also because he has one hell of a modern and vintage watch collection. If Sam isn't chilling with his buddy Fake Watch Busta or some other Rolex-sporting, walking-watch-encyclopedia type, he's probably on the hunt for his next horological acquisition. Enough with all of this chit-chat from me, let's get down to the good stuff. Here's my interview with Mr. Sam Fremstar. 

THE WATCH ADVISER: What sparked your passion for watches and when and where did this occur?

SAM FREMSTAR: My passion for mechanical watches started in the second grade.  After a bad day in school, my mom picked me up and purchased a Lorus Mickey Mouse watch for me.  I vividly recall the black leather strap and pulling the crown out of the stainless steel case in order to adjust the time (seeing Mickey’s hands move). The magic happened for me when I subsequently forgot about my bad day quickly after receiving that watch. As the years progressed, my parents would always gift me a watch to commemorate my birthdays, graduations, etc. With the exception of that first watch, I still own all the watches my parents gifted to me.  When I got older and started my career I said I would like to buy a nice watch and, while on my honeymoon at Hawaii, I was able to buy a simple Rolex DateJust (ref. 16200).

TWA: How did you become so knowledgeable, and was it through research (watch books) or via experience (attending auctions, etc.)? 

SF: My basic knowledge came from magazines. Seeing Mr. Shawn Carter--a.k.a. Jay-Z--on the cover of the October 2005 WatchTime magazine at my local Barnes and Noble made it imperative for me to educate myself on what was a growing hobby for me. That occurrence  sparked the flame a little more. Shortly after, I became addicted to more intricate and complex timepieces and started to research different brands. My first foray into the virtual world was on a website called rolexforum.com which led me towards pursitpro.com when I started to venture into Patek and Jaeger-LeCoultre references.

On top of that, I have a mentor whom I will address only by the initials K.R. He has been someone that has been a golden source for most of my horological endeavors. It also helps that he doesn’t mind all of my late night texts that are full of the 101 questions I stumble upon. 

TWA: What watches are in your collection currently? 

SF: I own an extensive modern Rolex collection that spans from the Prince line all the way to the SkyDweller. Those watches are complemented by several Patek’s, a JLC and watches from several independent watch houses.

TWA: What brand(s) do you predominately collect and admire, and why? 

SF: Rolex, for the simple fact that is where my passion and love for no-gimmick mechanical timepieces grew, and Jaeger-LeCoultre, for the company being considered “The Watchmakers, Watchmaker.” JLC is a company known for pushing the envelope for their movements and innovation, and one look at their Duometre/GyroTourbillion line and Grande Sonnerie timepieces will have even the most jaded watch fan stop to take notice.

TWA: Do you see any watch acquisitions in the near future? If so, please specify.

SF:  I’ve purchased all the modern pieces I wanted during 2014 so I am sitting tight to see what Patek and Rolex, amongst a few other brands, will introduce during Basel 2015.  With that said I do have my eyes set on a close friend’s Patek 5970J.

TWA: What is your "grail" watch?

SF: My unobtainable grail is the Vacheron Constantin Tour de I’lle. My obtainable grail, which I once owned, is a Rolex 1655.