NEW YORK – Comedy writer Spike Feresten is the man behind some of the most hilarious moments on many of TVs most iconic shows, including Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, Late Night with David Letterman and Seinfeld. (Thanks to Feresten, America will never think about soup the same way again). Lately Feresten, a car collector and enthusiast, has been taking a turn in front of the camera as the host of Car Matchmaker from NBCU (NBC Universal). Ahead of Sotheby's Important Watches auction, we spoke with Feresten – who you can follow on Instagram and Twitter @spikeferesten – about his other great collecting passion: watches. Here he talks about the timepiece that started it all, shares his favourite lots from the sale and more.
How did you first get into collecting watches? Was there a watch that started it all for you?
Yes – a TAG Heuer 2000 Chronograph in a storefront window on Columbus Avenue in New York City. I passed it every day on my walk home from work at David Letterman. I had no idea what it was, but I knew I had to have it. That was in 1990, I think. TAG Heuer recently restored the watch for me. It's perfect.
In a few words – how would you describe your personal “watch style?”
I like timeless, classic designs. Watches that hold their value or increase in value. It's very important that I love how it looks. I'm not a movement nerd. I'm a regular nerd.
Do you have any all-time favourite brands or pieces in your collection? What watches are you wearing right now?
I'm wearing three consistently right now: the new ref. 116500 Black Rolex Daytona, the new TAG Heuer Autavia Heuer 02 and a Tudor Marine National Submariner. And also ten other watches…I have a problem.
Watches have arguably become the most important accessory for men. What's the appeal of wearing a really great watch?
For some it’s a subtle business cue that says, “Hey, you're dealing with a tier one businessman. A man of class and taste.” For me, I just enjoy seeing it on my wrist. It’s certainly not for our wives and girlfriends. My wife has yet to notice any of the watches I wear. Which is preferable. No interference. That's how a great collection is built – ha!
On your show Car Matchmaker, you help people select the right car. What advice do you have for people shopping for the perfect watch?
Do a pre-purchase inspection on your watch just as you do with a car. I don’t need to tell you about all the counterfeits in circulation, so make sure you thoroughly check it out or buy from a place that guarantees authenticity. And if you can, buy one and wear it for the rest of your life. That would be cool. I have failed, but perhaps you can succeed.
Whether they’re cars or watches, why do you think so many of us gravitate towards vintage items?
Honestly, it’s crow behaviour. We are all part crow. We see shiny things and then fly them up to the nest. Then after eating a weevil or two, it's time for more shiny things!
Click below to see which pieces from Sotheby's Important Watches auction caught Feresten’s eye.