In Collectors Among Us, we highlight some of our favorite watch collectors — and friends — and hear about their collecting journeys. In this week’s episode, we welcome Katrina Vrakas.
Katrina Vrakas comes from a long family line of jewelers, goldsmiths, and watch lovers. The founder of her own eponymous brand, she speaks to us about growing up surrounded by timepieces, her favorite vintage watches, and more.
When and how did you go down the horological rabbit hole?
I’ve been interested in watches and jewelry since I was a child given my extensive family history within the industry. It dates back to my great-grandfather who was a goldsmith and a watchmaker, to my grandfather who was in diamond sourcing, to my parents who own a jewelry store, and finally, to my older brother, who sells rare vintage watches. I really started to go down the rabbit hole though after I purchased my first Rolex — a 34mm stainless steel Oyster Perpetual Reference 15000. It was my daily watch for a while until I started to trade and upgrade, ultimately landing on my current daily piece: a 36mm yellow gold, black dial Rolex Day-Date Reference 18238. It’s been an exciting journey fueled by passion!
What is your grail watch?
My grail watch would have to be a rainbow Rolex Daytona. I really appreciate the manufacturing and craftsmanship that goes into a watch like this - from the quality of the stones that are picked, to the gem setting, and the beautifully fluid color gradation of the sapphires. It's so aesthetically pleasing and just a boss watch, period!
What is your next purchase on your list?
A yellow gold Rolex Day-Date Reference 18238 with a black onyx stone dial has been on my radar for way too long now..
Do you prefer vintage or modern watches, and why?
Both, but vintage will always have a special place in my heart. Specifically I’m very passionate about vintage Rolex Day-Dates and the many rare variations. I love the stone dials, the gem-set dials, the colorful, lacquered Stella dials — you name it. Vintage watches with experimental and unique design both excite and inspire me. They’re also exceptional conversation starters. On the other hand, modern watches will always have a place in my collection as well. Given that my aesthetic and design style is very modern, there is a piece of me that gravitates to the newer models too!
What’s more important to you — design or functionality — and why?
Design first, 100%. I view watches as works of art. Being that I’m in the jewelry industry, I recognize and appreciate the conceptualization and craftsmanship that goes into each piece. I do appreciate the functionality too, but a watch to me is more of an accessory as well as an extension of my jewelry collection.
Do you build your outfits around your watch, or do you choose the watch to go with your outfits?
I tend to choose the watch to go with my outfit unless the watch is an extreme statement piece, which will then require me to do the opposite. 99% of the time I’m wearing all black ,so it’s a seamless process when getting dressed each morning. I aim to keep my outfits simple so that my jewelry and watch can do the talking. Each jewelry piece and watch tells a story. It’s all strategic.
You picked three watches from Analog:Shift’s collection to wear for our photo shoot. Which did you spring for, and why?
For my three watches I chose a Rolex Day-Date with a red vignette dial, a Rolex Day-Date with a diamond and ruby-string dial, and a Cartier Tank Normale.
I chose the vignette dial Day-Date because I have a Day-Date obsession, especially for ones with rare dial variations. My love for colored dials began when I first laid eyes on a vintage Stella dial, but this vignette takes it to another level! The beautiful ombre fade to the red hue paired with the diamond indices is just something else. Plus, the German date wheel makes it even more unique and interesting. I love pairing a watch like this with a monochromatic (likely all- black outfit) to make the yellow gold case and dial really pop.
Rolex Day-Date 'Vignette' - IN THE SHOP
I chose the diamond and ruby-string dial Day-Date because this is a watch that you won’t run into anyone else wearing. It’s a rare and exceptional statement piece that perfectly bridges the gap between a piece of jewelry and a watch. From the factory-set ruby-and-diamond-string dial, to the factory-set bezel and lugs — it’s beautifully crafted and has an eye-catching design overall. I believe that you simply can’t go wrong owning a Day-Date, and especially a unique one like this.
Rolex Day-Date 'Pave Diamond Ruby String Dial' - IN THE SHOP
I chose the Cartier Tank because I’ve always been a fan of the brand — both their jewelry creations and their watches. The Tank has such a timeless design aesthetic as well as a simple functionality. It’s a watch that exudes luxury without being too over the top. I also love the sapphire cabochon crown. It’s such a subtle yet beautiful detail! This would be the perfect daily watch.
Edited by Oren Hartov
Directed and Photographed by Paulo Salud