Below is an interview with Matthew Goodman, founder of Philly Time Co.
Hill Country Affair: Hey Matthew, thanks for agreeing to do this. Can you share with us what you do?
Matthew Goodman: My name is Matthew and I founded Philly Time Co. in the beginning of 2018 with no business plan or any true grasp of what the business would turn into years later. Now, the cornerstone of my business is buying and selling a constantly changing inventory of timepieces. What sets me apart is that I offer a wider array of services; from appraisals, authentications, collection management, commission-based sales, and restoration services. I have even assisted Custom and Border Protection (CBP) in their investigations into counterfeit watches entering the country through Philadelphia ports. Philly Time Co., in-essence, acts as a Swiss Army Knife to the industry.
Hill Country Affair: The natural follow up then, is how does one get into this line of work?
Matthew Goodman: I would say, fortune favours the bold. That it's not just starting a business, but it's a journey into the self. It takes discipline, commitment, and passion. If you let the passion drive the business, the rest comes easy. It's also fair to say this business is not for those who convinced themselves they need to fail in order to succeed. There is no fumbling in this business. Each hand you play has to be a winning hand. Every deal. Every transaction. Every client phone call and meeting. Being a collector and being a dealer are two very different things.
Hill Country Affair: Can you describe your average client?
Matthew Goodman: In this business you make natural progressions. In that your clientele will evolve as you grow your business and put a tremendous value on reputation. That does take time, unprecedented commitment, and precision. My average client is between 30-65 years old. Professions vary across the board. Executives, restaurant owners, entrepreneurs, pilots, consultants, the occasional professional athlete. Many are just gentlemen making an honest living and are building upon their collection. Where they differ in profession, they share something much greater. A drive for success, a passion for collecting. There's a confidence about them, and you must share that confidence in order to sit at the same table as them, let alone be in the same room.
Hill Country Affair: I have a hard time explaining/defending the value of watches to my wife. She can’t comprehend a watch being worth more than $800. Can you share some of the intricacies that make a watch worth $1,200, $7,000, $20,000?
Matthew Goodman: You are not not alone in that sentiment. Explaining the level of expertise that goes into watchmaking or haute horology is not how she wants to spend her Friday evening. She probably does not care about COSC certifications, power reserves, water resistance or Parachrom hairsprings. I think the best approach is to convey what the watch means to you. That it may be a symbol of something you can't put a price on, similar to that of a wedding ring. That it may serve as a keepsake of a moment in time; a wedding day, the birth of a child or a big promotion at work. Women wear watches too, and I've seen plenty of couples get-in on the hobby together. Even a husband/wife duo are behind one of the most invigorating new microbrands in recent years at Lorier. This is something that can be shared rather than being divisive.
Hill Country Affair: Where is the watch market right now? What brands/styles are popular? What brands/styles are inflated? What brands/styles are considered values?
Matthew Goodman: It's the Gold Rush all over again, but don't be confused, it's not as simple as grabbing a pickaxe and heading west. All of the usual suspects are doing well right now. Rolex, of course. As well as F.P Journe, Audemars Piguet and Patek Phillippe. Vintage is soaring from Submariers to Nautilus and almost everything in between. In the last two years, we've seen powerhouses like Panerai, Hublot and IWC take a slight dip in both value and popularity. The more experienced dealers are utilizing a number of analytics tools to assess data and monitor the market. The watch market is similar to that of the stock market, in that prices are constantly fluctuating, there's opportunities to buy in early, but there's also opportunities for losses. The value proposition is vast. Baltic comes to mind with their Dual-Crown super compressor & newer MR01 models. Hamilton field watches and Intra-Matic chronographs punch well above their weight class. Unimatic, Nivada Grenchen CASD's, automatic Omega Speedmasters are all modest options. Here is my advice... When you are not a dealer, and you view your collection like a portfolio, it takes the wind out of the sails a bit.
Hill Country Affair: I like the idea of buying a watch and eventually passing it on to my future kids. Do you have a watch/or watches that you plan to hold onto indefinitely? If so, can you explain the significance?
Matthew Goodman: Watches just don't serve one purpose in telling time. They are markers of life events, achievements & milestones. They are a tool that can connect the past to the future. Now I always joke with my fiancé that our future child will undoubtedly have an impressive collection of timepieces. To clarify, I wouldn't put a '79 Tudor "Snowflake" Submariner or a "Pepsi" Rolex GMT Master II on a teenager. But my Seiko SRP777, now that's a watch that would suffice. Something sturdy, reliable and timeless. The other watch I'd love to pass down would be my Tudor Black Bay Heritage. Who knows? Maybe in a few decades it will be comparable to that of a Rolex reference 6536. But it will have to be well-earned.
Hill Country Affair: Ok, hypothetical question time: Your best friend is hunting for their first (big boy) watch, let’s say his budget is $5000, he works in a formal setting, and wants it to be his everyday watch. What are you recommending?
Matthew Goodman: I know my best friend well, and he wants a 41mm Datejust on a jubilee, which is well over the 5K budget. I would start by endorsing the Tudor Black Bay 58, a Tudor Pelagos or even a pre-owned Omega Speedmaster Professional. The piece couldn't be vintage though, nothing that requires upcoming maintenance or sheltering of any kind. Just a proper desk diver, with a colorful dial. A piece that wouldn't have to be removed during weekends down the shore. Something that could withstand being accidentally smacked against a 4 burner Weber while flipping steaks. My final recommendation would be the newer generation of ceramic Omega Seamasters, in blue of course.
Hill Country Affair: What’s the most common mistake you see people make when shopping for watches?
Matthew Goodman: How much time do you have? The most important thing I can recommend to those looking to join the watch community is to simply be willing to ask questions and not to shy away. Connect with those in the industry and ask for recommendations. Ask what the best watches are at varying price points. The next mistake I see involves limited editions. Not all limited editions are created equal. Just because the LE comes from a reputable brand, does not mean your watch will maintain value within the year. The Hodinkee X Oris divers come to mind, whereas anything Massena LAB collaborates on is as good as gold.
Not willing to go the pre-owned route is another huge mistake. It's important to remember everything from a Seiko SKX to a Rolex Yachtmaster is built to last. Save some money and treat yourself to a steak dinner and a new Ping driver.
Far and wide (where my ball on the links often ends up), the most substantial mistake is playing the AD (Authorized Dealer) game. Only willing to get a watch from an AD instead of a reputable watch dealer is pure madness. Jack Kozubek (Tropical Watch), Eric Wind (Wind Vintage), Christian Zeron (Theo & Harris), Ken Jacobs (Wanna Buy A Watch) are all dealers that are lightyears more knowledgeable than your standard AD. I may get shunned for this, but I'll tell you something other dealers will refrain from informing you. Unless you have been purchasing Patek since, say the start of the millennium, you are not going to get that call from your local AD. Getting a Submariner at retail? Forget about it. No matter how many Grand Seikos, Datejusts and Breitlings you scooped up, you did not buy yourself any express ticket up the call list. Do not confuse optimism with insanity.
Hill Country Affair: “Money talks, wealth whispers.” What watch said that?
Matthew Goodman: Three come to mind. The Cartier Tank Louis in 18KT gold, the Rolex Sky-Dweller, and Vacheron Constantin Overseas. These are what the CEO's are wearing. These are the watches of generational wealth. Whereas Richard Mille screams weekend-rental Lamborghini and a parking lot- facing room at The Fontainebleau.
Hill Country Affair: What do you like to do outside of watches?
Matthew Goodman: Like a doctor, I am always on call. So if a client calls me at 2 in the morning while they are in the midst of a 3-day bender in Vegas, I take the call. Bright & early, I am the first person in-line at the post office, ready to ship off some watches. By lunch I will have tracked down 3 different options of a 1990 birth year Rolex GMT for a client to choose from, and I'm engaged with potential clients through social media all hours of the night. I manage every aspect of the business, and even the less complex aspects, like content creation and photography, takes time. So the little time I have remaining outside of running a business is spent with my lovely fiance, with my family, and close friends. I have an easy recipe. I keep the watches bold and my life simple.
Hill Country Affair: Say someone just finished reading this interview and wants to find out more about you and watches. Where are you pointing them to as a resource?
Matthew Goodman: I'd recommend checking out Craft+Tailored, Hodinkee, and The Urban Gentry. Read every article, watch every video and you will be hooked. You will encounter pieces that defy explanation. If you feel compelled, you can even check out Instagram and follow my page, @phillytimeco, to view these watches in their natural habitats. If your city has a jewelers district or some watch shops, go see these watches in person. Because in each watch is a mini universe, and not so far away, is a community of collectors ready to connect with you.
If you would like to connect with me, shoot me an email at Phillytimeco@gmail.com or message me on Instagram at @phillytimeco