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My Watch Story: Rob Blum And His Zenith Chronomaster Grande Date

Changing Straps Can Make Your Watch New Again

The original article was published on You can read it here.

Hello watch friends, it’s been a while and we’re happy to be back on the blog with a new interview in our “My Watch Story” series. Last time we had Paul Altieri and we are now happy to welcome Rob Blum which our founder Marc had the pleasure to meet in New York City!

Hello Rob, could you please quickly introduce yourself to our readers?

I’m Rob Blum, founder of BlumSafe. We produce a high quality, affordable wall safe for the convenient storage of watches and other valuables. I made my career as a lawyer and in finance, and am still very active as an investor. However, the BlumSafe is my labor of love. It has some cool features, including the ability to easily add more modular winders to the BlumSafe as your collection grows and evolves, and you can also monitor the safe’s status from a smartphone app.

My Watch Story Rob Blum And His Zenith Chronomaster Grande Date

How long have you been into watches, can you remember which watch started it all?

My first real watch experience was when I was 13. My uncle had returned from serving in the US army in Vietnam, and on his way back in Japan he picked up a Seiko for me as a Bar Mitzvah present. I believe it was quartz but, regrettably, cannot find it today. The next watch I received was after law school, a quartz Tag Heuer (which I still own). I always liked watches, being mechanically inclined, but it had not yet become an obsessive thing for me. The watch that really turned me into a fanatic was my wife’s gift to me about twenty years ago of a Rolex Pepsi GMT-Master II. I wear it probably twice a week to this day.

Can you present the grail watch you have with you? What drew you to this particular watch?

That’s a tough one. How do you pick just one watch as your “grail” watch? I love the look and feel of my Tutima Grand Classic Havanna anniversary edition with the brick-red face and brushed fine-link stainless steel band, and the tried and true Valjoux 7750 movement. However, I am a sucker for complications, and this one attracted my eye at a shop in Luzerne two years ago – a Zenith Chronomaster Grande Date with that classic El Primero movement, the beautiful heartbeat exposure in the dial, the big two-wheel date complication, moon phase and daytime/nighttime wheel. It almost has TOO much going on and is a bit blingy for my tastes at 45mm and in rose gold. However, it has the ability to suddenly attract my attention and hypnotize me at a business meeting, which I believe to be the sign of a watch that is well-mated to its owner.

My Watch Story Rob Blum And His Zenith Chronomaster Grande Date

It didn’t hurt that at that time the Chinese watch recession was forcing healthy discounting to be the norm, but it still was far from cheap.

Changing Straps Can Make Your Watch New Again

How about its accuracy?

The El Primero movement is legendary, and this watch keeps reasonably decent time – according to, +4.8 seconds per day. By the way, my Tutima is at a crazy +0.7 SPD, but as all mechanical watch owners know, you don’t solely judge your watches by their timekeeping accuracy (or all we’d own would be quartz watches).

Is there a watch you are currently thinking of getting?

Two watches, actually. I am on “the list” for a Patek Nautilus 5712 — because you once told me on Quora (this is how I met you, actually) that if I needed to own ONE Patek, that is the one you would buy. Hopefully, it’s arrival times perfectly with my 30th wedding anniversary. With three sons, I know that it will ultimately be in good hands.

More for fun, I am trying to decide between the Bucherer Tudor Black Bay Blue special edition (not easy to lay my hands on) or a used Omega Speedmaster Reduced with the gold face and the silver and gold band. I don’t own an Omega and feel it is only appropriate that I own one, but I want something a bit different looking than the standard black-faced moonwatch, as iconic as it is, and the gold face is unusual.

Thank you, Rob, if there something else you would like to add?

Just that it’s a lot of fun to own and collect watches, not so much fun when one disappears from your desktop watch winder. That is the incident that compelled me to design the BlumSafe, which, together with a good insurance policy and a Tool watch account, should allow any watch owner to sleep well at night.

Marc, it’s always a pleasure to speak with you, and I love what you are doing with Toolwatch.

Want to be featured here or recommend someone that should be? Feel free to contact us!

See you soon for the next article to share our love for mechanical watches!