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Meet Nicholas Ferrell of DC Vintage Watches in Long Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicholas Ferrell.

Nicholas, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Watches have been in my family for as long as I can remember. From my grandfather’s watch to my father’s burgeoning watch collection when I was in high school and after; all my family have either been involved in or interested in, horology. For me, my father got me started in watch collecting. Vintage Seiko was my (and many, many others) gateway drug. I got hooked in high school and college on Seiko – hard. Few other watch manufacturers have the catalog of Seiko, nor the history for that matter, from the fantastic 6139 automatic movements of the Seiko Pogue fame to Seiko being instrumental to the start of the notorious quartz crisis in the 1970s with the Seiko Astron.

Accompanying all of the above is the phenomenal vintage watch collector community. I have met amazing people the world over – but in particular within SoCal – all through a shared love of horology. These collectors don’t collect for the passing status a brand name brings, but from an understanding of history and the unique beauty, a work of art like a complex mechanical watch represents. Fast forward to 2012, and I realized I should start my own business, and possibly turn a profit from something I love and remain highly passionate about – and here we are today, with business better than ever!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
We’ve taken a “slow and steady” approach to expanding our business, by building inventory and marketing share over the last seven years – instrumental in our growth has been moving to the SoCal area, which not only has an enormous watch community, but far more potential for “watch sourcing” aka finding specific watches for customers, within the greater Los Angeles area.

Secondly, appearances on several YouTube podcasts like Matt Farah’s “Watch & Listen” on vintage Seiko and Heuer has been amazing for our social media presence.

Finally, we’ve been able to bolster our business, following the move to LA, by providing a unique service – namely, a customer comes to us with a specific request for a certain vintage watch, and we use our expertise and network to find it, make sure its authentic, and also in great working order.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about DC Vintage Watches – what should we know?
We specialize in vintage watches, usually between the 1950s and 1980s, and usually vintage Seiko, Heuer, and Omega. We are a family-run business, with several decades of experience, and we have a presence on both the east (Washington, DC) and west (Los Angeles) coasts. I myself am present in LA, along with my wife (a television producer, because, well, LA).

We bring the same customer service and dedication to all of our customers, regardless of the vintage watch in question – unlike some others businesses, we don’t look down on “lower end” Swiss and non-Swiss watches, or beginners to vintage watch collecting. This alone sets us apart from most other vintage watch dealers, and few occupy our place in the business strata – ie: not selling Rolex and with a great reputation for transparency in the watch community (and not some sketchy seller on eBay).

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
First and foremost, I have to thank my wife for her steadfast support during this entire journey – and her unending patience when I prattle on non-stop about various small inane watch details.

I grew up, as did my family, in the DMV area (that’s DC, Maryland, and Virginia for the uninitiated) but when the chance – via my wife – came to expand DCVW to Los Angeles and its extraordinary watch scene, I jumped on it.

I bring a decent eye to the photography DCVW uses to sell its watches. I love photography, in particular, the creativity that comes with it and social media platforms like Instagram that allow us to showcase our work. I share this passion with my sister, who is a much better photographer than I could ever hope to be.

Finally, I’ve always had a passion for knowledge and learning, a gift from my mother. I read widely and often, from books on horology to military history to political science. But its this passion for knowledge that has been the most useful in the vintage watch business, with its need for the ability to be versed in small details to determine authentic watches from fakes – but also of great importance, the ability to tell great stories about some of the history of certain vintage watches we sell.

Pricing:

  • Our desposit to source/find a specific vintage watch is $50
  • Our vintage watch prices normally run between $500 and $2,500

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
All pictures taken by Nicholas Ferrell, DC Vintage Watches

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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