Finders Keepers: David’s Vintage Divers

“Finders Keepers” is all about showing you a side of watch dealers you rarely see: The watches they aren’t trying to sell you. Those special timepieces they’ve come across that have a sentimental value far exceeding their market value.

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Killer inventory may lead you to a dealer, but ultimately you do business with one because you trust them. As much as you’re buying a watch, you’re also “buying the seller.”  When it’s David Kim dealing watches…I’m all-in.

David’s a collector at heart, who wrestles with putting on his dealer hat when amazing watches find their way into his lap. But one reason he got into this business was to give people an opportunity to feel the same pleasure he gets from owning vintage watches. That higher purpose is why he eventually comes around and makes available some pretty stunning vintage watches. He goes by frogman4me on the vintage rolex forum, rolexforums, and Instagram because his favorite watches have always been divers. In a few weeks, his entire selection will be ready to shop on his website, Watches With Patina.

But two divers that’ll never be listed are his insanely patina’d Tudor “Snowflake” and perhaps the granddaddy of all divers, his Rolex “Double Red” Sea Dweller.

Finders Keepers: David's Vintage Divers

If you’re curious why David named his company Watches With Patina, look no further than his ref. 7016 Tudor Submariner.   When he saw its deep, golden hour markers and “Snowflake” handset, David had what amounted to a religious experience. He was instantly converted to a devout vintage collector. But finding this Tudor also influenced him as a dealer…

David was the first to reply to the for sale listing when this Tudor “Snowflake” was up for grabs some years ago. For obvious reasons, watch lovers were lined up around the block for it. But the seller didn’t start a bidding war. Rather, he honored David’s position in line and sold it to him for the asking price. Today, as a dealer, David pays forward this gesture by keeping his word with customers.

They say you never forget your first love. In David’s case, he’ll never sell the watch that got him hooked on vintage. Sorry #watchfam…this Tudor is NOT FOR SALE.

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If you’re into dive watches and their history, like David is, then you can understand why he’d want a “Double Red” Sea Dweller, born from the iconic Submariner, but with innovations such as the Helium Escape Valve, to make it capable of descending greater depths. On several occasions he had the chance to try one on for size that belonged to a collector friend. Every time he saw his reflection in its Tropic 39 “Super Dome” crystal, he could see himself owning this watch one day…

His dream eventually came true when that same collector friend surprised him one day by saying “I’ll sell you mine…” David was “stoked” to get this watch. And the “icing on the cake”…it came with a service guarantee from Bexley, the acclaimed Rolex UK Service Center. It also included a certificate of authenticity with James Dowling’s signature, author of the Rolex bible “The Best of Time: Rolex Wristwatches.” Turns out, this “Double Red” had not only been in the hands of Mr. Rolex himself, but also resided in his safe at one time.

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David hit the trifecta with his Sea Dweller: It’s an endgame diver for any collection, it’s vintage, and its story is not only steeped in dive watch history, but it’s linked to a world-renowned Rolex guru. That’s why if you ask him – even politely – if he’ll sell it…he’ll politely tell you it’s NOT FOR SALE.

To find out the watches David has for sale, follow him @frogman4me on Instagram. To learn more about David and his business, visit WatchesWithPatina.com

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7 thoughts on “Finders Keepers: David’s Vintage Divers

  1. I’m in as well !! David has the passion and critical eye of a collector, and I totally understand that some watches are NFS. However, for those looking to purchase a vintage watch from Watches With Patina, rest assured that his attention to detail does not stop with his own collection, but extends to the beautiful pieces posted on his website as well. In addition, David Kim is a man of integrity and stands behind the watches he sells. I am a satisfied customer.

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    • Hey John, appreciate you reading David’s story! I haven’t had the pleasure of knowing David as long as you have (or done business with him…yet), but the one time we met and few times we’ve spoken, I’ve enjoyed every second of it! I plan to be a customer of his someday…In the meantime, I’ll consult him on vintage watches and enjoy getting to know him better personally. Have a great weekend coming up! Nick

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  3. Great write up! David and his new business Watches With Patina are exactly what we as watch collectors need and gravitate towards. David is a collector at heart with impeccable taste ,has “old school” values and is a dear friend. The watch collecting community is a very tight knit group and David has earned the respect and admiration of countless collectors. That said, any newcomers needing counsel, advise on their entry or that special piece will have his attention. New or old will receive the same treatment. This can’t be said for many others in this industry. The diversity of his collection and sale offerings is nothing short of amazing. The extremely broad spectrum of pieces (and prices) that David deals with, I find both interesting and appealing. My checkbook is anxiously awaiting the upcoming and soon to be frequent updates to his stock.

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    • nsummer, welcome to Watch Patina! Hope you check back in…more stories to come! Your comment, in addition to all those left on Instagram and the forums about David are a testament to his knowledge, consultation, and reputation as a collector and dealer. I met him very recently, but after only a few conversations…feel like I’ve known him forever. I, like you, look forward to his site completion and checking his latest inventory daily. Enjoy your weekend! Nick

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