Monday, June 9, 2008

WISitis Defined: The "CharlesN" Story...

WISitis Defined

"CharlesN" (His user name on suffers from WISitis, and is proud of it!!!

What is WISitis? WIS stands for "Watch Idiot Savant" and people who are Watch Idiot Savants suffer from WISitis–including myself. "CharlesN" did not develop WISitis over time–he claims he was born with it. When he was a small boy he used to love playing with his fathers watch.

I bought my first Rolex Submariner more than a quarter century ago when I was 16, and I though I was very young, but "CharlesN" has me beat by 4 years. Yes, you read that right. "CharlesN" purchased his first Rolex when he was 12 years old. It was a Rolex Bubbleback.

"CharlesN" has always been extremely passionate about mechanical watches and is a big collector. He only likes and collects Rolex and Patek Phillipe watches. For those not familiar with Patek Philippe, if Rolex is the Mercedes of watches, Patek Philippe would be the Rolls Royce of watches. Even though he loves Patek Philippe, he does not like talking about them.

Rolex and Patek Philippe are also my favorite two brands, so "CharlesN" and I get along really well. "CharlesN" retired a few years ago and spent a tremendous amount of time on the - Rolex forums. So much so, Timezone offered him an incredible sum of money to become a full time moderator on the Rolex forums, and "CharlesN" very happily accepted it. The huge sum of money was .. $0.00. "CharlesN" was happy to moderate the forum, just to have an excuse to read about and comment on Rolex watches all day long.

"CharlesN" volunteers between 8-12 hours a day to moderating the Rolex forums and absolutely loves it!!! This brings up a fascinating point:

Web 2.0 offers a whole new mechanism for people who suffer from WISitis in the form of different web based Rolex Discussion Forums. You see, prior to the web we had no WISitis support groups.

As a matter of fact, I have a quick side story to share with you on this point. Ever since I was 14 I was fascinated with Rolex watches, and as I mentioned, I purchased my first submariner when I was 16. Over the last 25 years I would occasionally run into a Rolex enthusiast and we would have a nice conversation, and then many monts or even years later it might happen again.

I was so passionate about Rolex design and history learned so much about Rolex, but I had nobody to share it with, which is the reason I finally started Jake's Rolex Watch Blog. This all came about several months ago, when I kept typing Rolex into Google and kept running into all the different Rolex Watch Forums on the web. When I first started joining forums, I was stunned with how many fellow Rolex enthusiast/fanatics there were.

I literally felt like I had been dying of thirst for 25 years out in the dessert and all of a sudden, I wandered into a lush oasis where everybody was talking about and wearing Rolex watches. I also, noticed, that with most of my fellow Rolex fanatics, we seem to get along really well and have a great deal to talk about.

"CharlesN" concurs. He says, "I have met and made some good friends through Timezone."

When I first met "CharlesN", we seemed to talk forever about Rolex & Patek Philippe, which brings us to the most fascinating part of this WISitis defined story.

"CharlesN" wears his Platinum Rolex Day-Date, Rolex GMT II and White Gold Patek Philippe 5036 Annual Calender as his daily watches. He saves his Rose Gold Patek Philippe 5127R Calatrava for the occasions that require him to dress up in a TUX or a smart suit.

Charles' Patek Philippe Rose Gold 5127

Just before attending Baselworld 2007 in Switzerland, "CharlesN" decided he wanted a "Coke" GMT II (non ceramic). He actually bought it in London at his favorite AD on the first day of Baselworld 2007, which coincidentally ended up being the day that Rolex announced they were discontinuing the non ceramic GMT II. His papers are dated that very day.

Not so long after Baselworld, "CharlesN" learned Rolex was making one final batch of non ceramic GMT models and that there was a portion of them that was rumored to be only destined for the United States market that would have the new 3186 movement in them. Historically, the non ceramic GMT has a 3185 movement, which was know for it's reliability and precision.

The new Ceramic GMT has the 3186 movement which has the Parachron Blue Hair Spring and is even more precise.

Well, once "CharlesN" learned this, he had to have the discontinued GMT with the 3186 movement. So he called a friend in the United States who tracked one down from a Rolex Authorized Dealer and sent it to him in England. "CharlesN" admits most people would think it was strange to buy the exact same looking watch just for a slightly different movement, but "CharlesN" said he had no choice. He had to do it.!!! That's one of the symptoms of WISitis.

When I asked Charles why he bought the almost identical watch, he said, "I don't know. I just had to do it."

I asked him if it was because he thought the 3186 would be more precise than the 3185 and he said no. I said there must be some reason you had to have it. "CharlesN" said, "No reason. I just had to have it." Then he said, "But I will tell you the 3185 was very precise. It was only off by +2 seconds a day."

Then Charles volunteered, "The 3186 keeps perfect time". I tested it for weeks and it was never off at all–not even by a second a week, My 3186 is amazing, astonishing, incredible, stunning!!! All I can think of complaining about is there is not error to give me an excuse to reset it and play with it enough!!!"

You must click on the image to check out the detail!!!

The Parachron Blue Hair Spring is located at 4 O'clock

Photo Credit: Champthekid

Even though "CharlesN" has an incredible watch collection he says "My GMT II's get used a lot. I scuba dive at least once per week, and I travel a lot around Europe, The USA & Asia. My Coke GMT is getting ALL my wrist time. My Platinum Day-Date has been on it's Orbita winder for weeks now as have my Patek Philippe's. What a terrible situation!"

If you know a lot about Rolex and you overheard "CharlesN" talking about Rolex you would swear he must work for Rolex–and he would like to. Charles' passion for and knowledge of Rolex is intoxicating!!!

Talking with Charles about Rolex is like talking to a Rolex encyclopedia. Charles freely admits he spends a small fortune buying books about watches for his personal library. He has read all the books and loves to stare at the pictures–that's where he learns a lot about Rolex watches and horology in general.

Chances are if you have made it this far into this article, you too are suffering from WISitis or will be soon.

According to "CharlesN", WISitis is incurable and he would never want to be cured of it anyway!!!


sheldon said...

Great article! When I traveled to London, Charles even called me in California to tell me which watch places to visit in London. Truly, a class gentleman Charles is!

BTW, the Rolex Watch Blog is really taking traction...

Jake Ehrlich said...

Hi Sheldon!!!

I agree. Charles is the epitome of a sophisticated Gentle Man. He also has superb taste.

I am having the time of my life putting together the blog, and more than anything I am learning so much about Rolex. It is amazing!!!!

Your pal,


Charles said...


You are making me blush !