Scott Kaplan grew up playing baseball, Basketball and handling vintage Cartier & Tiffany pieces the way some kids grow up playing with Legos. Born into the family Jewelry & Loan business, Scott was surrounded by fine vintage watches, diamonds and jewels growing up. After working 17 years at his family’s San Francisco-based business as a certified gemologist and watch expert, he founded H.Q. Milton in 2008.
Your first big boy watch:
The first Rolex I ever bought was a 1999 Zenith Daytona. That was the first expensive watch I purchased for myself. So, I’ll hang on to that one; probably keep it for one of my children. My son asks me every day if he can have it!
The one that got away:
There was a 1665 Tiffany Sea Dweller double name, which is very rare. I was disappointed that I did not keep that watch. Fortunately, I was able to buy this exact watch back several years later. It is now on my wrist.
First time you ever got butterflies:
The first watch that I was really excited about was a 6204 Rolex Submariner co-branded with Serpico Y Laino, a noted Venezuelan jeweler sometimes called the “Tiffany’s of Venezuela.”
From pop stars to politicians:
We’ve purchased many watches from people who have served in the military, many actors and musicians, professional athletes Baseball, Basketball players and golfers who have won tournaments and were given Rolexes, people in politics – all walks of life. The longer we’re in this business, the more amazing the stories become. We recently purchased a Submariner with an inscription on the back. It was bought by a very famous sports figure who gave it to a very famous pop star.
What excites you as a collector:
I’m very partial to co-branded watches, often called “double name watches.” Whether they are Submariners with Rolex and Tiffany on the dial or Rolex GMTs with Cartier on the dial. These watches are special.
Your holy grail of vintage Rolex watches:
I would say a 6241 Daytona with the double-name Cartier Dial or Tiffany Dial. I’ve only seen them in photos, never touched one. Maybe one day.
Last time you got butterflies:
We recently purchased a 5514 Comex Submariner.
Best advice for first time buyers:
My best advice is, go with what you’re drawn to. Start somewhere. Start simple. Something you like, a piece that suits you and makes you feel good, something you can afford. Research the history, be patient. Enjoy!
What's rocking the Rolex world right now?
This last year I feel that the color change dials in Submariners, Sea Dwellers and GMT’s are really strong. The dials that have naturally changed from Black & Blue to an even brown color have increased in value tremendously.
Where to start?
To start a collection, you can never go wrong with a Submariner, GMT, Explorer or Daytona. Starting with a Submariner from the 1960s, 1970s or 1980’s or GMT’s are fantastic places to begin when acquiring vintage Rolexes. A vintage Day-date 1803 is a great entry point as well.