Chris Clark set up Sonning Vintage Watches six years ago with the aim of finding and restoring vintage luxury watches for private clients. Since the formation of the company they have grown to become one of the largest vintage Rolex dealers on the internet specialising in Swiss watch brands including the Omega, Jaeger, Brietling as well as Patek and Vacheron.
We met up with Chris recently to talk to him about his adventures.
How did you get to know Dom Reilly?
One of my customers who owns a number of vintage watches mentioned the Dom Reilly brand to me as he'd just bought one of their watch rolls. I was intrigued so just called up Dom and we met for a coffee in Oxford. We got on immediately and when he showed me his watch rolls.....I bought four!
What inspired you to start your business?
I’ve always loved vintage watches and after a career in finance and data I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to turn a passion into a business. It was never meant to be anything more than something to do until I found a proper job and that was 8 years ago…. We’re now the largest vintage Rolex dealer on the Internet in the UK and have customers in over 20 countries.
What's the furthest you've travelled to find a watch?
We buy the majority of our stock from a select number of dealers and each watch is examined prior to purchase so sadly the furthest was Leeds…. As we expand I expect to start travelling to the States and Asia, I can’t wait!
When you travel, what are the three things you always take with you?
Phone, laptop and E cigarette…
Dom Reilly deals in travel (accessories) and you deal in time (pieces). If you could travel in time "when" would you go to and why?
I’d love to travel back to the 1960’s to drive a new E Type, see the Beatles and the Stones, Carnaby Street and the birth of the music festival, the first James Bond movie….
If someone was looking for a vintage watch what three pieces of advice would you give them?
I’m often asked this question and aside from being totally comfortable with the dealer and quality and of course price, I always say choose a good brand and then buy what you like and not what someone says you should like.
Thanks Chris, good advice.
Chris recommends the Dom Reilly watch roll to his customers and you can see our selection here.