Gino Ginobi Balbi is widely known to lovers of vintage watches. He has contributed to several reference books about OMEGA or other exemplary brands in the history of watchmaking. He owns a highly important collection of Speedmaster watches, some of which are illustrated in the MOONWATCH ONLY book. Gino has managed to acquire an unrivalled experience thanks to an unbounded curiosity and unending patience that have led him to research thoroughly his favorite sub jects. He was certainly ahead of most of us in taking an interest in the watches that have made their mark on the history of watchmaking, not out of any financial interest nor as a speculator, but simply out of enthusiasm.
Gino has certainly influenced what we know today, and for this we are all in his debt and are extremely grateful to him. We are very pleased to inaugurate this new 12 QUESTIONS ONLY series with him.
1. Do you remember your first watch?
Of course I do. It was a Seawatch, a cheap diver watch from the early 60s. Obviously I still have it.
2. The 3 most iconic watch models?
OMEGA Speedmaster, ROLEX Submariner, OMEGA Seamaster.
3. A noteworthy anecdote with one of your watches?
I will always remember the very first time I saw an advertising for the Omega Speedmaster in 1969, just after the first Moon landing. In fact it was talking about the Moonwatch. I looked at my wrist, very surprised and extremely proud of the watch I was wearing.
4. Are you more modern or vintage?
Vintage of course, but I appreciate also modern watches … if they are not too modern …
5. I love Speedmasters because …
I love the Speedmaster because this watch has been fascinating me since my father offered it to me for my 18th birthday. Since that day it has been part of my life, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
6. Your favorite Speedmaster?
It can only be this model, the one that I received for my 18th birthday, a 145.012-67. A lifetime watch, illustrated in the Moonwatch Only book (p. 237, first edition, and p. 241, second edition).
7. A single personal item you would take with you for a long stay on the Moon?
A second Speedmaster as a backup.
8. You just won the lottery. Do you first buy a sports car or call a financial advisor?
I buy a sports car. Without any doubt.
9. Where would you spend the next 24 hours if you had a teleporter?
At the National Air Space Museum, and more precisely in the chronographs / Speedmasters area, with the possibility to open and study each of them.
10. How many times a day do you watch … your watch?
Very often actually. At least 4 or 5 times per hour.
11. The last watch you bought?
It was a Pierce chronograph from the early 60s.
12. What’s on your wrist today?
A Rolex Sea-Dweller 16660.