They Wear It Well: Creatives

Revolution talks to four creative minds and looks at the timepieces they choose to wear to reflect their personalities.

Chris Modoo

Creative Director of Chester Barrie

I’ve always cared about clothing, fashion and how I want to look, and a watch is very much a part of that. In the 1980s, I was very much into designer sportswear – Lacoste, Fila, that sort of thing. At that time, I wore a Swatch because it fitted that sports casual look of the era. I went on to work for Thomas Pink – I was in my 20s and it was an exciting brand with the taste I was then looking for.

While at Pink, my style went a bit ‘fogey’. Alongside the tailoring, at this point I started wearing a pocket watch on a chain, either in my waistcoat or my jacket’s top pocket. My career then took me to Ede & Ravenscroft on Savile Row and I thought I should get something a little better so rewarded myself with a vintage, hexagonal-shaped Omega De Ville. It was beautiful.

The watch that came next though is my absolute favourite. My father gave me my grandfather’s old Eterna for my 40th birthday. It had been given to my grandfather as a long-service award from his employer and there’s an engraving on the back commemorating this. Interestingly, the dial is signed Garrard. It means the absolute world to me.

I have also become a fan of vintage mechanical Seikos. In the pub one night, a friend showed me one he’d bought. I did a bit of research and was hooked. I went through a period of scouring shops and the internet, buying up old automatic Seikos from the 1960s and 1970s. Next on my wish list, though, are an early-1990s Rolex Air King, an old Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso in rose gold and – as I have a real affinity with the brand – a Seiko “Pogue”.

My time at Ede & Ravenscroft was great but, outside of Savile Row, it was pretty low profile. I wanted a bit more exposure and creative freedom to express what I’ve learnt over the years, so I came to Chester Barrie about six years ago. I’m now responsible for the design and quality of all the products here – it’s a fine line between respecting the tradition of tailoring and embracing modern innovations in manufacturing and fabrics.

On a personal level, I now like to mix tailoring up a little with knitwear and occasionally a pair of good sneakers with smart trousers. Outside of Chester Barrie, I love the likes of Edward Green and Gaziano & Girling shoes, Cubitts glasses – and also Converse Jack Purcells on the odd weekend.

Nadya Abela

Model and Entrepreneur

While studying at university in Moscow, I came to London to attend a language school and improve my English. I was approached by a model scout who spotted me walking down Oxford Street. I wanted to finish my education before pursuing anything else, so, I completed my degree in child psychology and then followed up on modelling in earnest.

It was an amazing job and I got to travel a lot and meet incredible people – designers, photographers, make-up artists and so on. My first runway show was in Berlin. I closed the show in the most incredible dress by Jean-Louis Scherrer. It was a beautiful gown and is actually now on display in the Louvre. It was all quite special for a little girl from Russia.

I’ve been lucky enough to work with a wide range of brands from Gucci to Yohji Yamamoto, Calvin Klein and TAG Heuer, and magazines including Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. I’ve taken a step back from modelling now, choosing to concentrate on charity work, supporting my husband and being a mum to our children.

I’ve been participating in charity work for some time, but I now have my own charity. Called Nadezda – which is actually my full name and means “hope” in Russian – I started it in 2015 and it is based in Russia. Being so fortunate in my life, I wanted to give back to the country and society that raised me.

One of my most prized watches is a Cartier Tank Anglaise given to me by my mother-in-law, it was very unexpected and a lovely gift – I nearly fell off the chair when she gave it to me. It’s beautiful and elegant and I find it goes with almost everything. I have a few other pieces – a fun white ceramic Chanel watch, a Royal Oak Offshore and a Baume & Mercier. Along with the Cartier, my Chopard is another real favourite. It was the first gift I received from my husband and is also a limited edition for Elton John’s charity. Sentimental value aside, I think the light-blue colour and mother-of-pearl dial are beautiful. I wear it a lot.

In terms of the clothes I wear, being a busy mum I try and plan my day or week in advance and dress accordingly. What I’m doing and where I am that particular morning, afternoon or evening really dictates how I’m dressed. I really enjoy what I wear and like playing with fashion, I’m very fond of Chanel and I also love Lanvin clothes from when designer Alber Elbaz was there. Quite honestly, my collection of clothes has grown far more than my collection of watches over the years.”

Nimesh Thakrar

Co-founder and CEO of Banneya London

After graduating from Imperial College, I embarked on a career in cars and motorsport, working for an automotive consultancy firm called Mira, before moving on to Honda’s F1 team. I worked in vehicle dynamics, characterising the performance of a car with simulation software to improve performance – essentially, helping to make the car go faster.

Being something of an entrepreneur by nature and by background, I decided I wanted to start my own business and decided to change career direction by attending business school. I enrolled at the London Business School to study for an MBA and this is where I met my business partner Misa.

After a brief stint working for Amazon, Misa and I decided to realise our shared vision for a luxury goods company that took full advantage of selling online and we teamed up to start Banneya. Net-a-Porter and Farfetch have really blazed the trail in terms of luxury tech platforms and I hope Banneya is seen as following in their footsteps. We want to establish a platform in fine jewellery but with no more than around 150 really great designers. We do plan to open showrooms to complement our online platform in the future – one attached to our head office in London and others in places like Dubai and the Far East as well.

I currently wear a Breitling that was a gift from my father. When I was at school I became interested in aviation and this culminated in me getting my private pilot’s licence. I’m truly an aviation nut and my father cottoned on to this interest, prompting him to choose a Breitling pilot’s chronograph for my 21st birthday.

I find my Breitling to be very versatile, fitting in well with almost everything I wear. I don’t tend to wear suits that often, preferring a blazer when I need to dress up – I’m definitely much more comfortable in a smart-casual outfit. You’ll find a lot of navy and blue in my wardrobe and pieces from brands like The Kooples and, as with Misa, I also wear a fair amount of Cos. Honestly, I’ve never had much of a fixation on clothes or shoes, I gravitate far more towards watches. I’m tempted by an IWC at the moment and, for obvious reasons, the Pilot’s Watch collection really appeals to me.”

Misa Zahar

Co-founder and Creative Director of Banneya London

In another life, I was a lawyer working as a consultant in the City. But I was looking to change jobs and really wanted to work in luxury. A friend of mine introduced me to Mark Dunhill – the great-grandson of Alfred – at an event and he happened to have a job going. I joined Dunhill in 2003 as UK Sales Support Manager, going on to run the merchandising department by the end of my time there.

I went on to study for an MBA at the London Business School, which is where I met my current business partner, Nimesh. In 2014, we started our online fine jewellery company, Banneya London, with all our products are made-to-order and fully customisable. Basically, it’s a platform where we work with designers to execute and retail their ideas. I was excited to embrace the internet and sell luxury products online – something that the luxury sector was notoriously fearful of.

In terms of watches, I wear my stainless steel and white dial Rolex Daytona a lot. It was a gift from my mum when I finished my MBA. When I was working for Dunhill, I could only wear Richemont watches. Upon leaving I naturally wanted something different and the Daytona was perfect. I do still have some nice watches from my time at Richemont – a simple Panerai Luminor, a Cartier Tank Francaise and of course a few Dunhills. I currently have my eye on the new Audemars Piguet collaboration with Carolina Bucci, the Royal Oak Frosted Gold – it’s spectacular.

I’m pretty casual in the way that I dress. For instance, I don’t wear suits and rarely wear formalwear. One of the advantages of being in a start-up is wearing what you want. I like simple and pure designs, so I have a few Prada pieces and some Miu Miu, too. Recently I’ve been wearing a lot of Cos – again, the simplicity and purity of the clothes appeal to me. I do also wear a lot of accessories and jewellery – I always have. However, my jewellery addiction is now fuelled by all the Banneya samples I get to try out. I always match the metal colour of my watch to the jewellery I’m wearing that day – I have OCD so it’s a bit of a must for me.”

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