A Novelist's Love Letter to His Rolex

Rolex GMT-Master II

Rolex GMT-Master II


While writing a novel about a wealthy hedge fund manager who uses his watch collection to communicate with his autistic son, novelist Gary Shteyngart ended up falling in love with the “guys” he was writing about. Here are some of our favorite parts of the essay:

On Following Watch Feeds on Instagram:

“Watches relax me. Thinking about watches relaxes me. Sometimes, on a long plane ride, I’ll look at a photo of a watch on my phone while wearing another watch on my wrist. Is that sick? Feel free to judge me.”

“Pepsi” red and blue colors

“Pepsi” red and blue colors

The Rolex GMT

The Rolex GMT 1675 keeps track on two time zones and was originally used by Pan Am pilots in the ‘50s. A young immigrant from the former Soviet Union, the future author was enamored with everything Pan Am, which he thought represented all that was good about America.

Strapping on History 

His Rolex originally belonged to a high-up NASA P.R. executive who worked closely with Walter Cronkite. He was also a NASA liaison to Richard Nixon’s White House. “When I put on this watch, I think of the intense history its owner must have experienced.”

On His Secret to Collecting

He wasn’t especially looking for a vintage watch. He just wanted a GMT, but his dealer went beyond the call of duty. “The key to everything is building a relationship with a watch dealer you can trust.”

It Makes Him Feel Closer to His Son 

“And because I travel incessantly, I find myself constantly looking up the time back home, picturing my son dispatching his favorite hot dog at lunch, even as I’m wrestling down a nasi lemak in some tropical clime. My Rolex GMT is a watch of nostalgia and of parallel lives.”

Read the full Wall Sweet Journal essay here.  

David MeyerComment