New York wrist-enthusiast Zach Lu (or @zachattack__25 to his rapidly multiplying social media fan base) is the real deal, a true watch collector. Zach recalls guys in his teenage circle, gawking en-masse, at fancy watches and desperately trying to win themselves some macho stature with uninformed spheels about dials and wrist bands. Zach too, gawked. But his spheels were well-researched and his passion for watches was hardly superficial.
The teenage-timepiece-lover took a shockingly short time to obtain a nuanced working knowledge of time-devices and the territory they occupy. In 2005, 15-year-old Zach Lu’s beloved Gucci quartz watch came to sudden standstill. This was the pre-social media era and his best bet for research on watch fixes was a bookstore. He spent weeks ensconced between bookshelves, and, in so scrutinizing the pages of complex horology treatises, he discovered the complex cogs of the watch world. As Dr Richard Moulding, psychologist at Deakin University explained to Time and Tide in a 2021 article, both the elegant mechanics and aesthetic personality that characterize the watch scape are suffused with knowledge. Collecting then, is “not just about gaining watches,” he said. “It’s about gaining knowledge about the watches.” And as Time and Tide went on to explain, “the more you know, the more your appreciation grows. This sparks a self-perpetuating momentum, driving you deeper down the horological rabbit hole.”
Indeed, Zach Lu’s first exhilarating taste of horological education drove him to the 2005 Geneva Antiquorum–held in honor of Vacheron Constantine’s 250th anniversary–where he nabbed his first legit purchase (a nice VC) and rubbed shoulders with the VIPs of the watch world. He worked especially hard to build some sort of personal relationship with Patek Philippe, and before long, Patek was extending special invitations to Zach and he was sitting down to watch-talk lunches with the then-CEO Philippe Stern. Zach recalls how Stern’s gift, Zach’s second measure of horological education changed his life. “My view on horology completely changed. I began to love Patek.”
Zach Lu’s seventeen year buying history with Patek speaks for itself, and, today at age 32 he wears a number of their famed pieces. He owns, for example, the Grand Complication Sky Moon Tourbillon 6002R with its warm ornate setting, and the sturdy Grandmaster Chime 6300–frequently dubbed Patek’s second most complicated and Patek’s most complicated wrist watches, respectively. He also nabbed Patek’s second perpetual calendar chronograph, the yellow-gold 2499 first series. And when the original auction winner had to drop out of the race for the Tiffany Nautilus’s auction example, Patek offered the famed blue dial co-signed by both Tiffany and Patek to none other than Zach, after determining that his Patek loyalty made him a worthy winner. In Zach’s expert opinion, Patek Philippe is entirely deserving of its reputation as the world’s most prestigious watch brand. He called the watch manufacturer “iconic”, admired their fine elegance, durability and “class for days”. He added that their watches are “iconic”.
The only other luxury watch brand that Zach Lu seems to delight in as much as he does in Patek is Richard Mille. And his RM interest is also founded on the awe he reserves for their manufacturing skill. Their sporty demeanor is elevated by their “futuristic style and inventive design” all crafted from “material perfect for daily wear”. And Richard Mille’s innovation is undisputed in Zach’s “favorite sapphire”, or the 52-05 Pharrell Williams Sapphire, with its transparent case, and astonishing planetary dial art.
Zach, who has unbound appreciation for the painstaking art of hand-making fused with modern complications created from high-standard technology in all luxury watches, and particularly in Patek Philippe and Richard Mille pieces, is confident about the future of horology. He said, “I see young collectors often… I see myself in them” by which he means that the teenage guys now attracted by the watch vista are taking the trouble to learn their chronographs and chronometers. They may use social media and google rather than Zach’s dusty teenage timepiece tomes, but they too are educating themselves, tracing the manufacturing traditions of brands that will become their favorites. And thus erudite horology connoisseurs–version of Zach Lu–will always continue to fuel the landscape of horology.