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A Father & Son's Watch Collecting Journey

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A Father & Son's Watch Collecting Journey

Eric and Philip Ferreira are two of a kind. A father-son duo with a shared passion for watches (and a few other things, too), they both have an interesting relationship with watch collecting that’s only served to reinforce the relationship they have with each other. 

Of course, it all began with the patriarch of the Ferreira family. When Eric was a child growing up in Campinas, Brazil in the state of São Paulo, he got a crash course in the inner workings of watches. He first became interested in watches as a way to help his mother. Eric explains that, “My mother would buy 20, 30 watches in Paraguay and sell them in Brazil. I would fix up the watches that were broken so that she could sell them.” Believe it or not, Eric actually taught himself to repair watches, both mechanical and quartz. “I always had a natural aptitude for fixing things. I would take them apart and figure out how everything fit together. This was true of everything from watches, to VCRs, to computers.” 


Eric’s relationship with watches was shaped not only by his relationship with his mother, but also his father. In fact, his father’s first watch occupies a special place in his collection. “When my father was young, he had his heart set on a Tissot Seastar. He worked shining shoes for a whole year to save up to purchase that Tissot.” The watch now sits in a prominent place in Eric’s own collection; he wears it once a year on August 3rd, his father’s birthday. 

It’s this connection between personal history and the watches that are acquired to memorialize certain milestones within that history that arguably makes timepieces so compelling. There are many objects one could purchase to commemorate an event. But there’s something about watches, with their ability to both keep time and mark time, that’s especially poignant. 

This aspect of watch collecting is not lost on Philip. His collection started out relatively modestly. At the beginning, he hadn’t yet fallen down the rabbit hole, so to speak. His first watch was a Timex that was purchased during his tenure in the Boy Scouts. His troop required him to have both an alarm and a method for telling the time but without the distraction of modern electronic technology. Though the watch was digital, it served as Philip’s entree into the world of horology. 

Subsequently, he received an Apple Watch as a high school graduation gift. While Apple Watches are often looked down upon by many (though not all) in the enthusiast community, Philip credits the technological gadget with catching a congenital heart condition that, to that point, had gone undetected. 

His first mechanical watch was an Orient field watch. That watch, however, didn’t get too much wrist time. Indeed, it wasn’t until Philip was gifted a Humboldt GMT for his college graduation that watches really “clicked” for him. “I was about to go on a trip to Europe, and I didn’t want to worry about charging my Apple Watch. That’s when I got it. I could track multiple time zones and wear the watch in any kind of weather or environment.” 

Just a short time after this, Philip purchased an Oak & Oscar for himself, namely, a white Olmsted on a Horween leather strap. From then on, there was no going back. He now has a collection of about 10 to 12 watches. (No, he doesn’t wear the Apple Watch anymore except when at the gym.) 

Oak & Oscar has provided yet another way for father and son to bond. For Eric, it’s all about balance. “Oak & Oscar has a good ratio between, on the one hand, attention to detail and, on the other, value for money.” He says that a friend of his introduced him to Oak & Oscar during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. But what ultimately sold him on the brand were the relationships he built since becoming an Owner. “I made good, personal connections with the team at Oak & Oscar, and the timepieces are well-made but not obscenely expensive.” 

For Philip, it’s the local, Chicago connection that really drew him in. “I’m a sucker for locally made things,” he points out. “If it’s made within 10 miles of me, I’m in. I like the small details on the watches, especially the Chicago-related details: the “eclipse,” the stars on the rotor.”

Eric and Philip have taken full advantage of their status as Owners. They’re regulars at Oak & Oscar’s annual Owners Weekend. And the duo joined us on our inaugural Built to Discover fly fishing trip in Wisconsin’s Driftless Area in August 2023. 

Of course, as life goes on, one achieves even more milestones, so the importance of watches to both the Ferreira men only continues to grow. For Eric’s 50th birthday, his wife purchased him a blue dial Rolex Datejust. 

As fate would have it, the day the couple went to pick up the new watch coincided with their 25th wedding anniversary. So, of course, Eric had to purchase a matching watch for his wife. The pair of Datejusts now does double-duty to commemorate both Eric’s 50th birthday and his 25th wedding anniversary! 

So how do the two Ferreira’s approach collecting these days? Philip has an interesting take. He sees a disparity between the collector he aspires to be and the collector that he is. “I want to be a person who fills in the gaps in my collection.” A dress watch here, a diver there, a chronograph thrown into the mix, perhaps. But that’s just not how he operates. “In reality, I tend to get watches that look the same: big, readable numbers, blue, gray, or black dials, and uncomplicated.” As the saying goes, the heart wants what it wants. 

His father, on the other hand, loves complications. Indeed, for Eric, the more complicated a watch is, the better. One of his most recent acquisitions is a Longines Master Collection that features both moonphase, chronograph, and day and date complications. And unlike many collectors, he actually uses these features. Cooking is one of his favorite things to do, and the chronograph is perfect for that.

Funny enough, Eric and Philip have the same wrist size, so in principle, they could swap watches pretty easily. But given their varied taste in watch design, that doesn’t happen too often. One thing they do share, however, is a love for Omega Speedmasters. Philip doesn’t have one in his collection just yet, but among all the members of the Ferreira family, they do have the full set of MoonSwatches! 

As is often the case with watch enthusiasts, Eric’s and Philip’s interest in collecting extends beyond watches. Eric notes that he had a small collection of pens when he was younger, but he put any new additions on hold after moving to the states and raising his family. But, once his sons got older, he began collecting again. 

Phillip ultimately inherited his father’s love for pens, too. Eric gave Phillip a pen as a gift when he was in college. During his senior year, Phillip, who, ironically, now works in the tech industry, began taking notes exclusively with pen and paper. Of course, there are plenty of psychological studies that show that the act of writing helps with retaining information. But that’s not the reason you write with a fine pen. It’s the romanticism of a mechanical object, the linkage with the past, and appreciation of something beautiful. This is something both pen and watch enthusiasts share in common.

Being part of a community is largely what drives collectors. It’s special to be able to share something you love with other people. It’s even more special when some of those people are your family. Their shared passion for watches and pens, among other things, has allowed the Ferreiras to maintain a close connection over the years. And as they continue collecting, that connection will only deepen. 

As Father's Day approaches, take the occasion to reflect on your own relationship with your father or son. How have your hobbies, whether it's watch collecting or something else, helped you bond together?