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Max Poux
July 20, 2021
Author: Spiff
Discovering Max Poux

If France had a king, Max would wear a crown. A 42-year-old Parisian and anonymous for anyone who remains oblivious to this little world that a few of us nostalgic romantics have created and that we catalog under the name classic menswear. Because within the circle, Max is a reference. An influencer. Although whispering, I recognize my rapture; few produce such an effect. I see it that way, an incorrigible Agnelli-style playboy appearance, which actually hides a familiar, close type. An extinct species. Roguish and sentimental in equal parts. Motorcycle rides and custom Porsches versus weekends surrounded by family. It's numerous, by the way; he just became a father. For the third time.

Surely it has happened to you before. Those tendencies to tear away all of one's properties. I have them with Poux. In a good way, Max, don't worry. I envy - I repeat, in a good way - and I want your Porsche, your Harley Davidson, your Defender, your hut with a pool in Ramatuelle, your Vespa... And now also your new watch display. Not your overwhelming collection of haute horlogerie -that's desirable too, as if there were anything to not want about it-, but the one that has replaced it. Nautilus, Daytonas and Aquanauts take leave of the Frenchman to say Hello to a series of very colorful Swatch chronographs from the nineties; Grand Prix, Jelly Stag, Black Friday, Neo Wave, White Horse, Flash Arrow, Jelly Stag, JFK and Skatebike.

On August 22, 2019, Daniele Pradè, Fiorentina’s Athletic Director, appeared on Italianwatchspotter’s Instagram profile with the Swatch SCJ101 Grand Prix from 1992 on his wrist. A director with supposedly good style, in a suit -most likely bespoke- and a plastic neon watch. A contrast as surprising as it was fascinating. I investigated. Unfortunately, I was not the only one whose interest was piqued. The influx of the style had been overpowered by a watch that had been stuck at the back of a wardrobe for years. Everyone who had a Grand Prix investigated appraising it. From the 35-90€ it originally cost to the 400-plus it was seen for on the internet. I did not buy it, but I kept investigating. While the modern folks used pagers, Blockbuster was everyone’s second home, Donald Trump appeared on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and the little blue pill was the most heavily advertised drug of all time, Swatch was launching chronographs in neon colors.

Swatch SCJ101 Grand Prix from 1992

Best of all, no one, or almost no one, had reached the pinnacle of success of our protagonist. No Pradè in turn had come out with any of the Grand Prix’s siblings. Consequently, their prices were much lower. But then he, Max Poux, came along. His followers of seven thousand and change were enough to collapse the market. First the Grand Prix, then the Flash… until completing a collection that day by day increased in value.

I have him before me -smiling, in reality he is laughing at all of us- to, among other things, ask him about it, and then convince him to have us give up one of our least prized possessions; let’s see if with any success, we can increase its value so we can sell it.

 SPIFF: Pleasure to meet you, Max, and congratulations on the newest member of your family. Tell me, what is your secret?  How do you, from your anonymous position -your Instagram profile is private- become in a source of inspiration for so many people?

Hello and thank you for the nice introduction! Indeed my profile is private since a guy from Nigeria has been using my pictures to get money out of women on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Tinder in NY… It’s been 3 years and since then I switched to private. And I stopped accepting new followers unless I know them... I am "anonymous" as you say because I have nothing to sell or promote, I only use Instagram as my album of favorite photos and memories, which was the initial concept.

I started getting followers simply by being tagged by others. Andrea (Luparelli) when he started making my suits, car spotters in Paris, motorcycle builders etc. I like stuff that most men like and this brings an audience quite easily…

 SPIFF: Correct me if I'm wrong. You do not dedicate yourself to the world of fashion or clothing, but your wife does. Does she have something to do with your style?

MAX: No, no I don't work in fashion at all. I like it, I mean I like clothes, but not necessarily "fashion". I like classic stuff with an history or a story behind it. And most of all I like feeling good in clothes, even if it sometimes look weird!

My wife does indeed work in fashion and of course she has great taste! She doesn’t really care about what I wear but she certainly tells me what I shouldn’t wear! As a child I would always dress up after watching movies with my brother. And sometimes I still do it! so she has to remind me that I am not Jack Nicholson in Easyrider or Tom Cruise in Top Gun!

 SPIFF: A classic, 3 staples of your wardrobe. If things get ugly, we can go up to 5.

MAX: You will probably find this boring, but:

  • A navy suit from Ripense (I used to like gray, but Andrea says blue is best for me...and he's the Pro so I trust his judgment)
  • A pair of jeans from Resolute.
  • A pair of loafers from Barbanera (I like their tassels)
  • A shirt from Piccolo (I call him « Edward Scissorshands » for the way he pins 2000 needles around you while taking your measurements)
  • And a blue cashmere sweater from Prada.

I would like to add a Buco jacket from Real McCoy's. It’s expensive but it will last a lifetime and gets better with age.

barbeque tassels loafers

Barbanera Tassels Loafers

SPIFF: And in the summer? What is your perfect look?

MAX: Shirts from Jinji with 2 pockets so you can carry most of your stuff while in your bathing suit on a bike. Trousers from Casatlantic. I’ve only been wearing these since they launch the brand last year. They have Very wide legs and super high waisted (which I like) Loafers from CB made in Italy or Barbanera.

 SPIFF: We have seen you several posts with Andrea Luparelli from Sartoria Ripense and Julien from Jinji Shop. Where do you feel most comfortable? Near workwear or tailoring? If you could only have one, shoes or sneakers? Jeans or dress pants?

MAX: Tailoring. For me it’s easier to put on a suit and a shirt as it is my "workwear". So I don't have to overthink it. Plus, everyone look so much better in a suit… It’s when you see people dressing « casual » that you can tell they dress badly. It’s much harder… I’d give up sneakers and jeans… I mean, Do you prefer Batman or Bruce Wayne? I like the uniform! If you like to dress, you like wearing suits. Especially if you’re lucky enough to have found a great tailor and you can afford bespoke.

 SPIFF: Closer to the Italian style? French? English? American?

MAX: Italian because they’re more comfortable. You cannot ride a motorcycle in a British or a french suit. The only exception is A&S on Savile Row who makes a soft shoulder as well. But overall I like all styles for different reasons: American for sweat, Italian for construction, British for the understated chic. I don't think French are defined by a particular style though. I feel that in France, women Haute Couture and fashion has always been so important that Men fashion was never a big focus compared to British or Italians.

Max Poux and his customized Harley Davidson

SPIFF: I’ve seen a Riva Acquarama on your Instagram. Is it yours?

MAX: No. I’d love to own one but they are too expensive for me and the running cost is mad. Also there is too much waves where I go for this kind of boats… my wife would get wet and we don't want that!

SPIFF: I suppose with the 912 and the (Cigarette) was enough. What was the process like for the restoration of your Porsche? Was it a long wait?

MAX: The Cigarette is the best motorboat you can get. Really. The sea is the only place on earth where you don't have to wear a helmet, nor a seatbelt, and where there are no speed limits…Pure Freedom. Speed over water is by far the best sensation. Life is too short to have a slow boat!! They were fashionable in the 80/90s but not anymore and it’s a shame… My dream would be to own a shipyard dedicated to offshore speed boats from that era, that I could design and customize!

Regarding the Porsche, It was very complicated because I trusted someone to take care of it for me while I would just take care of the design… But that didn't really work as planned so I had to supervise everything and it took almost 4 years. But the result is amazing! I took the project to 3 very talented specialists: Ateliers Gobin for all the bodywork, chassis, suspensions, brakes etc. Autosiaste for the engine and gearbox. And Caribex for all the interior.

SPIFF: Come on, talk to me about the Swatch thing. Why?

MAX: I needed money to buy a house in the South of France and the price of vintage watches were getting to completely ridiculous levels, so I sold the watches I had. I still liked watches and needed one but couldn't afford anything anymore so I searched for the cheapest vintage watch I could get which was waterproof.

After seeing early 1990s Chronos from Swatch and reminiscing about my teens day wearing them, I thought it was the coolest things I could get. I digged into it, read books about it, talked to collectors, and realized it was an obvious trade. These guys (swatch collectors) kept these watches unworn, with box and papers for 30 years! Always kept them in the dark to avoid colors to fade. Even replacing the batteries every year for 30 years to make sure the movement would keep working (while Swatch initially estimated the life span of their watch wouldn’t exceed 10 years)! I mean this is serious dedication… it does not exist in the Patek or Rolex world. I decided to go after the exact 9 models you mentioned. They represent the first ever complication in a Swatch.

swatch vintage chrono

90s Chrono Swatch Collection by Max Poux

Swatch did so much for the watch industry it saved in its artisans from insolvency when the Japanese flooded the world with their Quartz innovation in the late 70s. Most of all, it represent a lot of things for a lot of us. We all had swatches when we were young. I learned reading time on one and so did my kids. They represent fun and an easy going mindset (80s pop art) in a world who’s getting way too serious about watches, as prices now testify. Not to mention the risk of getting mugged now… They are easy to steal from someone’s wrist and coveted by people willing to risk the same legal punition as for robbing an iphone in the streets… So it’s the perfect timing to move to something more easy to wear, more affordable, that you don't have to worry about and that goes in the water… That was my investment rationale…so I decided to source all good condition pieces I could find, first on Internet and then directly through collectors…and it’s been great to see the shared enthusiasm as many people did the same thing.

Now prices for these watches have gone up, ranging from 400 to 1000, but if you search a little you can still dig some at lower prices. You probably know this but in investment finance, a "Spiff" (or spiv) is someone looking to sell something for a quick profit… The idea here is not to "spiff" the market but just to wear a cool and still affordable vintage watch, with a nice story behind it!

SPIFF: Hahaha I know about Spiff, although ours means something different; make someone or something attractive, smart, or stylish. I have a couple of Swatches from that era, the Wall Street and the Rollerball, but I want something more fun, more summery, more fluorescent. Do you regret having sold your old collection of luxury watches?

MAX: No. I like owning stuff but I never really feel attached to objects. I like to change. My taste evolves and I often want something else. Nowadays watches are a status, they’re only valuable because of their prices. Vintage watches was a game for connaisseurs, passionate about all the little details. People who could speak for hours about stories around it, its specificities and rarities. That’s what fascinated me… Now the market is too crowded, prices went too high too quickly, it brought too much attention and they´re now dangerous to wear. So it’s not cool anymore.

Trends are very interesting, and not always rational, which always allow some sort of manipulation… So why not invest in plastic? The only plastic you’re allowed to throw in the sea (on your wrist)!

Max Poux

Max Poux with Swatch SCJ101 Grand Prix

SPIFF: You mentioned you saved a few of them to me. Can you tell me which ones and why?

MAX: I kept only 3: a Boucheron (my first watch), a Cartier Tank Speciale from the 1940s I received for my 40th birthday from my friends, and a Patek ref 3579 from 1974. This last one I kept because I think it’s still undervalued compared to the Nautilus. It was the model just before and it’s rarer than a 3700 which sells for 100k+. I will probably sell it one day but not yet.

SPIFF: One last question and we’ll know before publishing this interview so we can use it to our own benefit… What will be the next watch you purchase?

MAX: An AP RO 34 mm extra slim in Quartz… Very simple, tiny and powered by a battery like my swatch!

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