Greg Franks is a man I didn’t know 6 months ago. Yet when I started the Watch Collector, it was to enable me to talk to and hopefully meet people like Greg. People who shared a passion for vintage watches, enthusiasts who appreciate the aesthetics and simple beauty of a perfectly engineered measurement of time. Over the months I have been speaking with him I’ve come to understand that passion in the precise way he has built his collection of watches and the massive appetite he has for the information and stories around them. From the vintage Omega Officers Trench Watch via a limited edition George Daniels co axial through to a 18ct pink gold Omega Constellation, Greg clearly has researched and understands his watches. He even has affectionate names he references them by, identities shared by all his family for whom many of these pieces have been collected. In short he is a man after my own heart. A real gent and a genuine pleasure to know, even if only for a little time.
Last night I received a heartbreaking message from his son Tom telling me that Greg is currently in a hospice after a three year fight with advanced, terminal, lung cancer, an illness he fought with the same dignity I have come to recognise in our all too brief communication. Tom was generous enough to take the time to mention how much his dad had enjoyed building his collection and even now was proudly wearing his Omega Constellation which he called his Calcutta. In typical, dignified, fashion Greg has decided to reject any further medical intervention.
I simply wanted to take this opportunity to offer a small, heartfelt tribute to a man I wish I’d known for longer. Greg, it seems a small thing to say but you are in the thoughts of everyone associated with The Watch Collector at this difficult time and, I trust, our close group of collectors who share your passion. Our prayers are with you Greg and your family.