Boris is a part-time horological blogger, he has dedicated many years of his life establishing a blog that concentrates on vintage timepieces as well as now modern.
1. Describe briefly your childhood.
I was born in Cologne, Germany, to a Yugoslavian father and German mother. I grew up with both languages. I spent my teenage years in the Black Forest at a Jesuit boarding school near the Swiss border. Those were fantastic years with great friendships which are lasting until today. Lots of sports, music, theatre, concerts and dancing. I used to play Beethoven and Chopin on the piano but also Scott Joplin and Frank Sinatra songs among others.
2. As a child did you have any driving ambition?
I wanted to be an opera singer. I love the piano, music and singing. My voice was educated to be a Tenor and there are professional recordings with a choir and even myself. Not sure where the records are.
3. What is your first significant memory as a child?
Good question. For whatever reason, I must say that I do not have any really significant memory as a child. I have a memory which I think is true which would explain my obsession with watches. I believe that I recall that when I took walks with my parents, I always stopped at Jeweler's windows to look at their watches...
4. Have you ever had another profession?
Yes. I graduated with an MBA from Loyola University in Chicago. I worked as a database developer and later on project manager for different consulting companies including AON Hewitt, Price Waterhouse Coppers and others in Chicago and later on in New York City. I spent about 14 years in the USA. It was a wonderful time with a lot of memories. I also worked for Sothebys Real Estate for a few years before returning to Germany. I received my auctioneers licence from Kruse during that time hoping I could become an auctioneer at Sothebys in the watch department. This unfortunately never materialized.
5. What made you decide to go in the direction you are currently in?
In 2009 I returned to Germany to assist my father who needed help. While in the US, I had started to collect vintage watches, primarily Rolex and Omega. The early times of collecting were much different than now. We had nobody to ask, no internet to check, nothing. Well, there was a watchforum in the US which I used, but there was very little knowledge compared to nowadays. Basically, you had to trust your gut and buy watches. It largely worked out. So with all my experience and passion for vintage watches, I started my own business selling vintage watches in January 2010. I had absolutely no idea how I wanted to go about it all, but somehow, it worked out and I am still running this business. I love watches, I love to meet the people in watchmaking and I love to meet collectors. It is so much fun. This decision brought me a lot of challenges and opportunities which I never imagined. I do not come from a jeweler's family nor am I a watchmaker. I had to learn everything the hard way as there were no places really to research. What I love most is that every day is a challenge. I never know what will happen. I feel privileged as I get to see beautiful watches all the time. By now, the business has grown and I am selling vintage watches as well as watches from small brands in Switzerland and Germany. I design dials, I create limited editions, and I am always looking to generate new ideas. I have a strong artistic side and paint since I am a little child. The paintings help me unwind from the stress in the job. I sometimes hold exhibitions, the last one in a Deutsche Bank branch.
6. What’s the worst job you’ve had to do?
I had an internship at a Tax Advisor. He ignored me most of the time and was not really willing to support me nor help me. Most of the time I heard him screaming and cussing the computer. It was funny in some way, but it did not offer me much of a learning opportunity other than that I never wanted to become a Tax Advisor. This experience most likely lead me to become an entrepreneur later in life where I decided to work on my own and make my own decisions.
7. What’s been the hardest moment in your life so far, and how did you overcome it?
My hardest experience was really to care for my dying father for nearly 4 years. It was incredibly hard on me as I was building a business at the same time from scratch. It was a big challenge to build a business in another country.
8. Who has had the strongest influence on you?
My grandfather from my mother's side. He was very calm, very warmhearted. Soft spoken and wise. I loved to listen to him talk. He would tell me sweet lies. One of them was that he told me that he is able to fly. And one day, he would take me up on the hill where he lived and fly down together with me. The dream of flying is still with me. And flying means to overcome obstacles.
9. What are you most proud of?
I have to say that when I returned to Germany, I had to overcome two huge obstacles. One was the daily caring for my father, the other the creation of my own business. I am proud that I was able to allow my father to spend his last years with his family. And I am proud that I managed to get my business off the ground and that I am allowed to spend my time with all the beautiful vintage and sometimes modern watches. I found my passion and turned it into a profession. What more can you wish for in life?
10.What advice would you give to a 20 something someone thinking of taking a similar path as you?
Only do it if you love it. When I started, competition was by far not as fierce as it is now. If you start now, understand that you may face times of hardship, when the business is not working and when you will have to be very persistent and struggle until you prevail. Understand that you never arrive, but you will always be “on the road”. And you will not have any security. If you can accept that, why not?
11. Name three things on your bucket list.
I want to go to Australia and look at Koala bears. - I would love to become a pilot, I started to get my PPL (Private pilot's licence) while in the US but due to September 11 in 2001 I had to stop it. I hope to continue and finish my PPL some day. - I want to drive down Route 66 some day together with my girlfriend.
12.Where do you think the industry is going to be in 10 years time.
I fear that more than a few watch manufacturers may disappear in the coming decade. Competition seems very fierce. At the same time, I see a lot of opportunity coming mostly from Asia. Asian buyers are mostly buying new watches, but I am confident they will start buying more and more vintage watches as well. Watches and luxury will face some hickups but I am sure that the younger generation will embrace it. I expect that people will buy more watches online. And there will be more competition by watch manufacturers which want to sell online themselves and which also contemplate to sell vintage watches online. The big brands will become even more powerful such as Rolex and Patek Philippe. Regarding vintage, I am under the impression that there is a strong urge for old dive watches and chronographs even from brands that have long disappeared or are completely unknown. As prices of the top brands rise higher, people will resort to lesser known watches. And there are many wonderful brands such as Universal Geneve, Excelsior Park, Gallet, Doxa, and others.
To learn more about Boris P-Pjanic watchesandart.com