Time Well Spent: An Interview with Michael Morgan

My good friend, and colleague, Michael Morgan, has garnered a favorable reputation dealing in top-condition vintage Rolex sports models. Michael has also amassed a fairly impressive, yet focused, personal collection comprised of classic Rolexes, vintage and contemporary. Without further ado, I present, Time Well Spent: An Interview with Michael Morgan.

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

Michael Morgan: "I had always been a collector of various objects such as coin and stamps, and after being gifted my great grandfather’s Illinois Pocket watch in 2007 my interest in watches grew. Shortly thereafter I began collecting wristwatches in 2008, starting with Swatches. At one point I had amassed a collection (if you want to call it that) of about 30 Swatches. I would wear a different one everyday. It later occurred to me that I should downsize that collection and start collecting lower end Vintage Rolexes. The first Vintage Rolex I ever purchased was a modest 1955 Rolex Oyster Perpetual ref. 6564 with a heavily patina’d dial, which I only paid around $1,000 for. I was enamored with it and my passion for collecting Vintage Rolex watches quickly grew. The 6564 was followed by many others. In around 2010 it dawned on me, why not begin to buy and sell Vintage Rolexes? I felt it would enable me to own a much greater variety of Vintage Rolex and allow me to make money simultaneously. That is essentially how it all started!"

TWA: What was your first “great” watch?

MM: "My first great watch was a 1966 Rolex Submariner ref. 5513 Meters First, it was my first Rolex sport model and I purchased it from the first person I ever met in the vintage watch industry. Unfortunately less than a year later I sold the watch to fund my first business, which was bittersweet as while it helped kick start my first business, I also lost a very important and sentimental watch. Since then I have owned well over 50 different 5513 Submariners and have tried to replicate that example, but with no success. Eventually I would like to track down and buy that very 5513 back that I sold years ago." 

TWA: What watches are currently in your collection?

MM: "My collection is constantly changing as well as evolving. Recently I sold a large portion of my vintage Rolex sport model collection, and am now concentrating on finding a few key and important sport models. The true staple of my collection is a 1970 Rolex Submariner Date ref.1680 in 18k yellow gold, as the condition is outstanding (near NOS) and it was one of my grail watches for many years. Everything from the original finish on the case, to the ultra tight bracelet (that still has the ability to hold a shape as the links are so tight) makes it truly unbeatable in terms of 1680's in yellow gold."

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

MM: "First and foremost Rolex, as it is one of the most historically important brands in the world, and was the innovator of many features that are taken for granted today within the modern watch industry. Another key attraction for me with Rolex is their timeless and elegant design, in turn making them truly versatile. My everyday watch as of recent has been a brand new ref.116600 Sea-Dweller, which I find it to be incredibly versatile as I can wear it to dinner or even to the beach and it still feels perfectly suited for the occasion. I think this versatility associated with Rolex is another aspect that attracted me to the brand originally. Another brand I appreciate is none other than Patek Philippe, which is arguably the best brand in the world. I admire it for many of the same reasons why I admire Rolex; because of timeless design and colorful history."

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

MM: "As of recent I have been on a brand new Rolex buying kick, because it represents something different to me (for the past 6 years I've only worn Vintage Rolexes). Some of the newer/modern Rolexes I plan on purchasing in the near future include an early 16610LV anniversary Submariner, 116506 Daytona in platinum, and a 116719BLRO in 18k white gold. On the Vintage side of the arena, I am looking to pick up a 5513 Comex Submariner and an early 6263 Daytona."

TWA: What is your "grail” watch? 

MM: "It is and always will be a Rolex Daytona 'Paul Newman' in YG with a black dial, preferably a ref. 6241 or 6264 with black acrylic bezel. The overall design of the watch is absolutely striking as well as beautiful."

TWA: Have you formerly owned your grail watch?

MM: "I came very close to purchasing/partnering on one with a friend of mine back in 2012, but I was intimidated by the asking price as it would have easily absorbed all of my capital at the time (asking price in 2012 was slightly under $200,000). Hindsight I should have done the deal, as today similar examples trade for well over $350,000. If only I had a crystal ball or a time machine. Who knew?!"

TWA: What is Iconic Watch Company about?

MM: "For me it's all about integrity, customer relations, and bringing the highest quality Vintage Rolex sport models available to the market. Hardly anything compares to the feeling of knowing that you helped that collector find that specific Submariner he had been searching for relentlessly, advising a client on a watch, or even just having a conversation with a client about watches in general and collecting. The Vintage Rolex dealer/collecting community is relatively small and tightly knit, I am proud to be apart of it. I have met some of the greatest people through being a dealer as well as a collector."