Ask an Insider: Humbertown Jewellers’ Ferit Tecimer Talks Watches

As a 40-year veteran of the jewellery business whose family has been trading in gold and gemstones for generations, there’s not much Ferit Tecimer doesn’t know about Swiss watches and precious metals. We sat down with the owner of Toronto’s Humbertown Jewellers for his insights on watch collecting the value of timeless design.

How does your background make you uniquely suited to be a jeweller?
My family has been in the jewellery business for two centuries in Turkey, so I grew up sur- rounded by it. All the conversation over the dinner table was about jewellery and about gold. It’s in our blood. Even my grandchildren are starting to learn about jewellery now.

What are your guiding principles for business?
Jewellery is a culture, and to be a good jeweller is all about selling quality and making the customer happy. Those are the two main rules.

What advice would you offer someone who is looking to buy a watch for the first time?
There is a lot of demand right now for certain very popular pieces, but you will own this watch for a long time, so in my opinion it’s not about what is fashionable or popular right now, it’s about what you will enjoy for many years to come. You want something that’s timeless and functional, like the Rolex Datejust or the Patek Philippe Calatrava. Or, if you want something a little edgier, you can get a Tudor Black Bay. These are classic watches that will still look just as good in 40 years. It’s like buying a good quality navy blazer – it’s something that will always have value in your wardrobe. Then, and as your collection grows, you can work your way up to other more complicated, specialized and harder-to-find pieces.

What watches do you have in your collection?
I have watches from all of the brands that I sell, from Patek and Rolex to IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Cartier. My favourites are the classics. I never get tired of these watches, and each one has a story about when I bought it or received it as a gift that is just as important as the watches themselves. I hope someday to give these to my grandchildren.

As one of very few Patek Philippe dealers in Canada, what do you appreciate about the brand?
They are a family-run brand with a long-term vision, and they are focused on quality above all else. Everything is handmade, even down to the tiniest screw, and polished by hand by their artisans. In this way it is part art and part science. They also stand behind everything they make. If you come to them with a Patek Philippe watch that’s 100 years old, they will repair it even if it means creating replacement parts by hand.

What advice do you have for men buying jewellery for women?
I try to give people whatever they want, but I try to steer them towards something functional and timeless. Sometimes I’ll even go out of my way to convince them. For example, a couple came to me with a beautiful vintage Cartier piece and asked me to redesign it into something new. I did it for them, but I did it in a way that they can return it to its original form whenever they choose. Hopefully she will have it for a long time, and this way it will always be something she loves.