When it comes to collecting watches, Mayank Agarwal confesses to being a novice with a burning passion for watches. The 31-year-old Indian cricketer is not only making a name for himself in the world of cricket with his incredible talent, but also in the world of watchmaking with his collection of watches. We talk to the budding watch enthusiast about his watch collection, how he got into the world of watches, and where he sees his collection going.
MW: Before talking about watches, I first wanted to understand how you got into cricket?
MY : I wanted to play cricket after seeing Sachin’s bat. It was actually seeing him play with Shane Warne that really intrigued me and made me curious about the sport. That’s how I took the bat in the first place. Then, like most people in India, I also grew up with gully cricket. I remember we had a study table and it turned into a counter. When my parents put me in summer camps, I started playing cricket there too. By the time I reached class 5, I was playing competitively in inter-class matches and I remember doing well during that time. Then during one of those matches my school coach picked me up and then asked me to represent the school in cricket and that’s how my journey began.
MW: So how did you come to have this passion for watches?
MY : It’s kind of a sad story, or should I say rather irresponsible when it comes to talking about my interest in watches. My grandparents had gone on vacation to France and when they came back they had bought my brother and me watches. I was very excited that my grandfather bought me a watch and I would wear it all the time. This time I wore it to the pool and lost it while changing or something. It broke my heart because my grandfather is my hero and everything he gives or gives to me holds a very special place in my heart. That day, I promised myself that I wouldn’t buy or wear a watch until I made something of myself.
We can say that I entered the world of watches thanks to the watch that my grandfather gave me. After losing the watch, it pained me so much that I decided to buy one only after I had done something great in my life.
MW: What do you think was the first watch you got? The one you got from your grandfather or the one you bought yourself when you realized something?
MY : You know losing this watch is a sore point for me. Even now, I feel rather sad to lose him. I think the first watch I got for myself is what I would consider my first watch, but he was the one who made me fall in love with watches. My first watch was a Fossil watch – the one I bought when I was playing cricket at state level.
MW: How was the process of buying your first watch, because it meant so much to you? I’m sure it was more than walking into a store and getting it. What did that mean?
MY : In fact, let me be very honest with you. I wouldn’t say my first real watch was the Fossil. My first real and proper watch would be the Rolex Submariner which I bought very recently in the UK. This watch means a lot to me because it was the time when I played test cricket for India and scored a few hundred. That’s when I thought I could afford a real luxury watch, so I consider the Rolex Submariner my first watch.
From my research to entering the showroom and viewing all the watches, buying this particular watch was a great experience. That said, I want to start building my watch collection slowly and thought the Submariner would be fine as my first watch.
MW: Regarding the look and mechanics of a watch, can you tell us a bit about what attracts you the most in a watch?
MY : For me, I am interested in the history of the watch, like why was it made, how they made it, and what purpose the watch was created for. I always look for factors in a watch that intrigues me. Digital watches are good and I have a few and enjoy them, but these are the old school classics that I’m a fan of. One of the most appealing features of a mechanical watch is the way you have to maintain it, wind it up and adjust it, doing it all on my own is really fun. When it comes to mechanical watches, you have to be disciplined to wind them every other day and you have to spend time with them to understand the work behind the creation of these pieces. I have nothing against smartwatches, but when it comes to mechanical watches, extra care needs to be taken in maintaining and winding them, and that’s something I really appreciate about these watches.
MW: Speaking of smartwatches, how much time do you spend with both types of watches? Do you notice that you wear one more than the other?
MY : I think whenever I’m not on the field and not playing, I prefer to wear my mechanical watches. But when I’m out in the field, the usefulness of a smartwatch, tracking our steps and training how much we sleep, outweighs the other. But when I’m off the court, I usually prefer to wear mechanical watches.
MW: Can you tell us a bit about your collection?
MY : To be honest, I don’t have a very large collection since I started this fairly recently. I have another Rolex GMT-Master II “Pepsi” and a Longines watch that Rahul (KL) gave me and my wife as a wedding gift. I also have another Longines watch.
MW: If you had to choose one watch from your collection that you could wear all the time, which would you choose?
MY : For me, out of the two watches I currently have, I think the Submariner is the one I’m going to go with. As the first luxury watch I bought myself, I would say the Rolex Submariner is a watch close to my heart.
MW: If money and availability weren’t an issue, what watch would you like to have?
MY : I would like them all (laughs). I know it’s not possible, but the next one I’m looking at is the Oyster Perpetual Day-Date in the green dial (the anniversary with the 18k rose gold). I’m kind of watching that one right now.
MW: If you could take a watch from one of your team members, which one would you choose and why?
MY : the Oyster Perpetual Day-Date from KL (Rahul) and one of the Patek Philippe from Virat.
MW: If you could define your watch style, what would you say?
MY : I think I like straps and dials in classic colors like black or blue. I’m not a big fan of having diamonds on my watch. I’m interested in more classic old-school watches.
MW: Have you ever thought of passing these watches on from generation to generation? Does this thought strike you?
MY : Definitively. This is one of the traditions I want to start. For us as a family, if we could pass our watch collections on to the next generation, that would be fantastic.
Image Courtesy: Mayank Agarwal