TimeZone Napa Valley, California Gathering – July 2000

By Mike Disher

Part I

Photos by Mike Disher and John Davis





On Saturday, July 22, some 55 TimeZoners met at Robert Mondavi’s beautiful La Famiglia Winery in the hills above the Napa Valley. The weather was as perfect as the setting, and it was truly a day to remember.

Above, one of the entrances to La Famiglia Winery. (Sony)

Before I get too far into the story, several people deserve special thanks for making this day possible, and I’ll do my best to mention them all. Marvin Arnold acted as event organizer, and he did a splendid job. Wes Zane secured the La Famiglia Winery for us, and he arranged tours of the Robert Mondavi and Opus 1 wineries for TZers. Blancpain’s John McBarron traveled from Chicago to join us, and Ulysse Nardin arranged for Dr. Ludwig Oechslin to travel to Napa from his vacation in Mexico City to be with us. UN also graciously provided the Trilogy of Time watches for the event. Three TZers traveled great distances to be with us: Rafael Valdez from Guatemala, Thomas Mao from Taiwan, and Alec Yin from Hong Kong. Rob Cook brought a large portion of his impressive collection, and Hugues Beck brought a Journe Resonance and a Tourbillon with Remontoir for us to see. Mark Passey provided some English-German translating services during the Q & A session following Dr. Ludwig Oechslin’s presentation. Special thanks to everyone from TimeZone for making this ultimate TZ event possible!

Also, a quick note – The photos marked (Sony) were taken by Mike Disher with a Sony DSC-S70. The images marked (Nikon) were taken by John Davis with a Nikon Coolpix 950. This info is for the digital camera fans.

Now, back to our story. Lunch was scheduled to be served at 12:30, but I understand eager TZers began arriving shortly after 10 a.m. By 11:30, a nice crowd was gathered on the patio, enjoying the wine and the view, and meeting for the first time people they’d known for years.

Above, the view from the Winery. (Sony)

Enjoying wine on the patio are, L to R, Christine Mao, Brian Spaid, Marvin Arnold, Bonnie Russell, Terry Russell, Gary Spinella, and Gary Kirkhofer. (Sony)

Your humble reporter (L) displays Ulysse Nardin Trilogy watches for (L to R) Larry Seiden, Nancy Howitt and Michael Hickcox. (Nikon)

Dr. Ludwig Oechslin (L) and Rob Cook compliment each other on their UN hats. (Nikon)

We finally adjourned to the dining room for lunch around 1 p.m. We were formally welcomed by Gary Kirkhofer of the La Famiglia Winery. Gary turned out to be a WIS, sporting a Chronoswiss Regulator. He is also one heck of a nice guy. The lunch was excellent, and it included Caesar salad, grilled chicken, pasta salad, and an assortment of creme brulees for desert. Of course, we enjoyed several excellent house wines.

Gary Kirkhofer, La Famiglia Winery’s resident WIS, welcomes us. (Sony)

My focus was on getting pictures (no pun intended), so unfortunately I did not make a detailed study of who was wearing what watch. Some of the watches I recall seeing are: several Lange 1s, UN Ludwig and GMT Perpetuals, IWC Fliegers, Blancpain Tourbillons and Blancpain Trilogy watches, UN 1846s, IWC Portugiesers, some complicated Pateks including a 3070, Minervas of all types, a few Panerais, an AP Tourbillon, Omega Seamasters, Rolex Daytonas, JLC Reversos, PP 5035s, a JLC Master Perpetual, and more beautiful vintage pieces than you can shake a stick at. Thomas Mao brought some of his original Dubey & Schaldenbrand Index Mobiles, and Drew Lunsford had 2 boxes of great vintage pieces.

Going around the table L to R, Rafael Valdez (black shirt), Jeff Kingston, Thomas Mao, Christine Mao, Kate Parsons, Lindsey Parsons, Michael Hickcox. (Sony)

L to R, Dean Dinnetz, John Crowder, Mike Matteson, Veronica Dyson. (Nikon)

Long distance travellers Rafael Valdez (L) and Thomas Mao. (Sony)

Peter Wells (center) admires Rob Cook’s AP Tourbillon. Chuck Bell is on the right. (Sony)

Mark Flaming (L) and John “ei8htohms” Davis. (Sony)

L to R, Helen Shyn, Ed Fang, Larry Seiden, Mark Passey. (Sony)

Drew Lunsford strikes a pose. (Sony)


TimeZone Napa Valley, California Gathering – July 2000

Part II



After lunch, Marvin Arnold introduced John McBarron of Blancpain. John traced the histories of both “old” and “new” Blancpain, focusing on the rebirth of the modern company, their production of the Six Masterpieces, and the more recent masterpiece, the1735. John’s presentation was witty and engaging, especially considering that it was largely off the cuff. His intended topic could not be presented because the CD containing the images for his talk broke during shipping. In the finest showbiz tradition, John persevered and the show went on.

Marvin Arnold informs us that he is retiring to Mexico with the checks we wrote him for the lunch. (Sony)

John McBarron of Blancpain recounts the company’s history. (Nikon)

The audience listens to John’s presentation. (Sony)

Front L to R, Wes Zane (black shirt) Gary Kirkhofer, Terry Russell, Bonnie Russell, Walt Odets, Ludwig Oechslin, Charlie Arnold and Darlene Fetherman listen to John McBarron’s presentation. (Sony)

John was followed by Dr. Ludwig Oechslin, the Master Watchmaker, astronomer and physicist who designs movements for Ulysse Nardin. Dr. Oechslin discussed his 4 year restoration of the the immensely complicated Farnesian clock for the Vatican. This clock contains over 1000 pieces and provides over 60 civil, astrological and astronomical readings. Dr. Oechslin took us on a tour around the 4 sided Turler Clock – the world’s most complicated clock – which he spent over 18 months designing. His talk also included the development of the beautiful and complex Trilogy of Time watches, and finally the ultimately practical Perpetual Ludwig and GMT ± Perpetual.

Dr. Ludwig Oechslin addresses the audience. (Sony)

Dr. Oechslin with an image of the Farnesian Clock works behind him. (Sony)

After the formal presentations, the serious watch viewing began. On one table, the UN Trilogy pieces were on display. On another table, Rob Cook’s amazing collection was on view in 2 beautiful Scatola cases. At a third table, Hugues Beck was showing the Journe Resonance and Tourbillon with Remontoir, and he was instantly mobbed by WIS eager to get their first look at these pieces in the flesh. Meanwhile, the Opus 1 tour group was getting ready to depart. The room was abuzz with talk of fine watches and wine.

On right (standing) Dr. Oechslin speaks with Hugues Beck. Going around the table to Hugues’ right: Susan Wolcott, Win Wolcott, Bob Fielding, Barbara Fielding, John McBarron, Jeanie Beck, Mario Carona. (Sony)

Wes Zane of Robert Mondavi gets folks ready for the Opus 1 Tour. (Sony)

Hugues Beck (R) discusses a Journe Resonance with (L to R) Larry Seiden, Austin Aurandt (standing), John Davis (seated), Michael Hickcox. (Nikon)

The object of much attention: Journe Resonance. (Nikon)

The Ulysse Nardin Tellurium Johannes Kepler (one of the Trilogy of Time). (Sony)

The Ulysse Nardin Astrolabium Galileo Galilei (another Trilogy piece). (Sony)

A rare Ulysse Nardin Planetarium Copernicus with meteorite dial (Trilogy of Time piece). (Sony)

Jeff Kingston (L) discusses a Journe with Hugues Beck. (Sony)

Dr. Ludwig Oechslin and Marvin Arnold. Marvin is wearing his Perpetual Ludwig. (Sony)

Peter Wells and Marvin Arnold examine Dr. Oechslin’s GMT Perpetual prototype. (Sony)

Marvin’s son, Charlie Arnold, with Dr. Oechslin. Yes, that’s a custom Ulysse Nardin tie Ludwig is sporting. (Sony)

L to R, John Davis (seated), Jeff Kingston and Austin Aurandt talk with Hugues Beck. (Sony)

I had the honor of being the last person out of the room. I think it was about 4:30 when I left.

This was a very special TZ event. I believe that with 55 attendees, it is the largest to date, surpassing the Basel 2000 gathering. As always, friendship and shared passion were in the air. On several occasions during the day, people asked me to point out Walt O, Terry Russell, Walt A, and other well known TZ figures. It was part family get together and part back-stage party with the stars. I enjoyed myself immensely, and I hope it won’t be too long before we can do this again. Thanks to everyone who attended, and especially to those who worked so hard to bring us all together.

List of attendees (complied by Marvin Arnold): Charlie Arnold, Darlene Fetherman, Marvin Arnold, Nadia Arnold, Walt Arnstein, Austin Aurandt, Hugues Beck, Jeanie Beck, Gary Burke, Peter Wells, Rob Cook, Chuck Bell, Mario Corona, John Crowder, John Davis, Dawn Bard, Dean Dinnetz, Mike Disher, Thom Dyson, Veronica Dyson, Edward Fang, Helen Shyn, Bob Fielding, Barbara Fielding, Mark Flaming, Michael Hickcox, John Joachim, Gloria Joachim, Jeff Kingston, Drew Lunsford, Thomas Mao, Christine Mao, Mike Matteson, John McBarron, Walt Odets, Dr. Ludwig Oechslin, Lindsey Parsons, Kate Parsons, Mark Passey, Terry Russell, Bonnie Russell, Larry Seiden, Nancy Howitt, Yin Shih, Carol Shih, Brian Spaid, Jennifer Spaid, Gary Spinella, Sandy Spinella, Rafael Valdez, Win Wolcott, Susan Wolcott, Alec Yin, Wes Zane.