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Horology’s mark on Zach Lu, New York Watch Collector’s life has been undeniable. However, horology has done far more than simply compelling a few individuals to hoard pretty wrist-pieces, and its imprint on today’s social landscape is deep.

Even as a changeable teenager, Zach Lu was persistently fascinated by luxury watches, their mechanized beauty, and by what they could represent to the world at large. It wasn’t long before he gained his VIP client status with Patek Philippe, one of the world’s most prestigious brands, and dedicated himself–with the discernment and determination of any art connoisseur–to learning about, and acquiring Patek’s most famed and aesthetic pieces. And as of today, Zach’s collection is chock full of coveted Patek acquisitions. Most recently, he used his instagram (@zachattack__25) to display the platinum Grand Complications Black Dial Minute Repeater 5374P on his wrist; incidentally this was also worn by Oscar-nominated Mark Wahlberg. Zach also owns Patek’s vintage rose-gold Time-Travel Chronograph, or the Nautilus 5990R and the Grandmaster Chime 6300 with its proud nomenclature of Patek’s most complicated wristwatch. And, in what he cites as his “most memorable acquisition” to date, Zach nabbed the auction example of the Patek’s holy grail Tiffany Blue Nautilus watch, co-signed by both Tiffany & Co. and Patek Philippe. As Zach explains each Patek horologe oozes sophistication–a marriage of the best possible technology with an unmatched aesthetic sensibility. “And they’re durable,” he added, explaining that these timepieces could be passed down through many generations; they could, in essence, become emblematic of a whole family’s history without losing an ounce of value.

Indeed, a timeless piece does much to strengthen the watch world’s communal sensibility, via the collective yearning that simultaneously ignites the brain synapses of watch collectors from a variety of different backgrounds. As Dr Richard Moulding, senior lecturer at Deakin University, explained to Tide and Time last year, watch collecting is about more than just the greedy possession of material items; because of the high financial commitment that goes into purchasing a watch, timepiece collectors know they want to feel absolutely certain about the watch’s worth before spending their fortune on it; any collector with half a brain tries to learn whatever they possibly can about that timepiece and other similar models; the process of watch collecting then, is about the persistently unsatiated desire for knowledge. And once a collector begins to acquire knowledge, they twitter about it to other collectors, who decide that they too want the coveted watch. They band together to see who captures the watch. The capturer is admired; the rest of the watch world commiserates in their shared and unstifled yearning. The watch world, thus, appreciates and comforts its members. In fact, Zach Lu mentions that some of the most special memories he holds are of meeting other collectors at events such as the Patek Annual Collectors dinner, or when thrown together by shopping for the same pieces.

Although, the territory of timepieces can only be traversed by the few people who can afford the expensive entry fee, the watch world has been conscious not to turn its back on the rest of the society, particularly on communitie in need. For instance, Zach Lu talks about bidding in auctions designed to assist charities and social justice causes. He made it a point to appear in Only Watch and Children Action. And more recently, he was at hand in the 2021 New York Watch Auction where the Tiffany Nautilus sat under the hammer, with all proceeds intended for the Nature Conservancy. When Zach purchased the watch for his original final bid of $6.2 million–about $3 million less than the price offered by the original auction winner who had to bail on the watch for undisclosed reasons–Patek and Tiffany made certain that the Nature Conservancy would receive its promised sum of $6.5 million regardless. Zach says that the charity aspect absolutely matters to him. 

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“Two amazing brands have come together to help out the environment,” he said. “It’s important.” He continued, “watches like the Tiffany Nautilus can be appreciated in so many ways; for me, it represents jewelry, horology and fashion, and opens doors to many important people in Tiffany and Patek. I don’t know what else I could ask for. But it also does something for a charity. It’s fantastic.”