Jewellery, Watches, Antiquities and Objects of Vertu (15 September 2020)
Robert ‘Bob’ Culling was born in 1941 in Ilford, Essex, and spent much of his life working and living in east London and Essex. As a young boy, Bob often explored the buildings and areas left damaged by the Second World War, trading with his friends items of militaria they had found or purchased for very little - items which, much later in life, Bob wished he had kept. Although many subjects at school rarely peaked his interest, history was one subject he enjoyed and he could often be found at home reading military history books that his mother would deem ‘unsuitable’ for a young boy.
Bob left school at the age of 15 and began working at a messenger on Fleet Street, London. It was at this young age his interest in watches began, pausing to admire the watches in shop windows as he went about his work, only able to dream about owning one, while promising himself that one day he would. After a brief period working on the railways, he started his 32 year career as a British Telecommunications engineer, retiring in 1994. It was during the early years of his retirement that Bob began to fulfil his dreams of owning one of the watches that he had desired all those years ago, while also furthering his knowledge of military history. After deciding to begin his collection, he concentrated initially on acquiring German military watches from the Second World War, particularly Kriegsmarine, whilst also hunting for any U-Boat militaria. It was not long before he began researching and collecting British and American military watches. As his collection grew, his interest broadened. He began to collect civilian alongside military watches, often adding examples to the collection that he found interesting, or simply enjoying their design.
As with many collectors, Bob enjoyed the actual pursuit of collecting watches as much as the watches themselves. Although part of his collection is being kept by the family, a significant proportion is being offered for sale at auction in the hope that others will find the same enjoyment that Bob did in owning and collecting these, and other, watches.