Jim Pearson and his wife Dorothy have traveled extensively, visiting many other IWC forum participants. In this interview, we learn more about Jim and his interests in IWC watches, archeology, Texas Barb-B-Que and especially meeting collectors.
MF = Michael Friedberg, IWC Collectors’ Forum Editor
JP = Jim Pearson
MF: Jim, you’ve always impressed me as a Texan in every way.
JP: You’re right, Michael. I grew up with hats, boots and buckles...and an accent you could cut with a knife.
MF: You were born and bred in Texas then?
JP: I was born in Wichita Falls, Texas and moved to Austin when I was three years old. My father was a history professor at the University of Texas for most of the time I was growing up.
Texas is a whole different thing. Since it is so big, it encompasses many different regional variations on a theme. It is also the only state in the U.S. that was an independent country. The history of the state is full of big personalities and it colors the consciousness of everyone who grew up here.
MF: You have a wonderful wife, Dorothy. But she’s not a Texan, at least originally.
JP: Dorothy is Kenyan by birth. She grew up in large family in Nairobi. Some of her sisters married Swiss guys and immigrated to Switzerland. Her brother and sister came to Austin to attend the University of Texas. Dorothy also chose Texas to start her higher education.
She started working at the psychiatric hospital where I work and we met when she came through training. Now, I had been single for over a decade and was pretty much resolved to avoid the relationship scene and concentrate on perfecting my eccentricities.
Ms. Dorothy changed my mind and we were married in 2007, one of the smartest things I ever did. She is constantly amazed at the Texan persona, but is such a kind person that she is always welcomed in any setting...and the heat was something she still bemoans!
MF: Are you still working at a psychiatric hospital?
JP: Yes, I'm the Director of Staff Development at the state psychiatric hospital in Austin. I’ve been doing that for 18 years.
MF: You also have an interesting job history before that.
JP: I was previously an archaeologist, a founder and organizer for a labor union and a human resource director.
MF: I would think that your jobs didn’t give you a lot of exposure to watches. How did you get interested in them?
JP: Shortly after Dorothy and I were married, we took a trip to Switzerland to meet her family members that immigrated to Zurich. I was interested in watches because I prized a watch as an adjunct to being well-dressed, so I was intrigued to find out about the famous Swiss watches since I was going to visit. I looked through dozens of watch store in Zurich but had little knowledge of what I was looking.
One of my Swiss brothers-in-law showed this bound book with remarkable renditions of the watches and beautiful product presentation. It was an IWC catalogue. He went on tell me that this was a company located in the Eastern part of Switzerland...and it was founded by an American looking for outsourcing opportunities. I was blown away. When I returned to Texas, I started reading all that I could find on IWC. I then found an authorized dealer back in Austin and purchase my first fine watch, a Spitfire Mark XVI on bracelet. It was my prize possession and my first fine watch.
MF: When did you find our forum?
JP: On Thanksgiving of 2008 as result of a Google search, I found the IWC forum. I was daily reader for two months, and finally submitted my first post on January 8, 2009. From the very first post, I felt like I had joined a very special community.
MF: Your name on the forum is DZUL. Why is that?
JP: As I mentioned earlier, I initially set out to be an archaeologist and my specialty was the Pre-Colombian cultures of Latin America. Most of my early digs were in Maya sites located in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. "Dzul" is the Yucatec Mayan word for "outsider" or any non-Maya. It became nickname for me amongst the Maya workers to were hired to help excavate the ruin site. It is essentially the Mayan linguistic equivalent of the Mexican noun "Gringo."
MF: Gringo or not, from your first post you’ve always been an enthusiastic forum contributor.
JP: Thanks, I've always been an avid learner. The IWC forum seemed like a place where I could learn about my watches and horology in general. That has certainly been the case. I've constantly been taught by group of men, and a few women, about the watches. What I didn't expect was that I would also have an opportunity to converse online and eventually meet some of the best people I've ever met. I log in every day and always look forward to seeing the new posts.
MF: We’ve met several times, but I especially recall you attending the Collectors’ Meeting in 2014.
JP: The Collectors' Meeting in Schaffhausen that I attended was a highpoint in my IWC experience. Not only did I get to visit the font head...so to speak...but I got to meet many collectors whose expertise and collections I admired. By the time I attended the meeting, I had met a number of our folks and so it was great being able to spend time with them. Dick L (whichwatch) and I arrived a day early in Zurich, and I got to roam the city with him, looking at watches. I wouldn't trade that time for anything.
Again, the forum members I met were just the best folks...including the other two members of the forum's Southern (US) contingent, Nelson and Terry.
MF: I know you’ve participated in several other get-togethers with our forum friends.
JP: My first IWC get-together, if you will, was traveling to Dallas for a WatchTime event. You were there hosting the IWC booth and I got a chance to spend some with you.
My next visit was to another WatchTime event held in Philadelphia. I was hosted, sight unseen, by Bill B. and I also met both Blues Brothers (Alan and our departed friend Kevin), Dick L. (whichwatch), Daniel K., plus Stuart M. And you were there hosting the IWC booth again. Dorothy and I were received with warmth and kindness by all present. Jeff Kingston presentation also was another opportunity for me to expand my knowledge of fine watches.
MF: You’ve literally travelled throughout the world meeting IWC forum members.
JP: Our get-togethers expanded exponentially over the past few years, something I call IWC Social Tourism. We walked the streets of Kavala, Greece with Argiris who hosted us when we attended his daughter's christening, dined with Roberto (Flyrobyfly) on one of hills of Rome, watched the sun go down on a balcony overlooking the Gulf of Corinth in Antikyra, Greece with Dimitris and Maro. We roamed New Bond Street watch shops with Ralph (rave), Greg (UKGreg), and Thang (TeeVee), was shown the sites of Netherlands with Mark (8541) and Annemie. Dorothy was given a personal tour of Schaffhausen by Tom (Sinclair). During our trip to the Netherlands, Tonny hosted us in Antwerp where Captain Vishal joined us, and also Mark facilitated a dinner in Dusseldorf that I will always remember...we broke bread with Giovanni and Natasha.
MF: You’ve also hosted IWC forum visitors in Texas.
JP: One of our Australian collectors, Ben D. (Bendy) attended a tech conference in Austin on three occasions. We made the pilgrimage to Taylor, Texas, to eat at the famous Bar-B-Que joint, Louie Mueller's.
Likewise, Dick L. was in Houston on business and drove all the way to Austin to join us for dinner. And we had more Bar-B-Que of course. Our most recent visitors were the Bill and Mary Barker. They also dined at Louie Mueller's and accompanied us for a in San Antonio.
It is my totally biased opinion that Texas Bar-B-Que is the world's best, and all our guests seem to come away convinced. I will use this answer as an open invitation to come let us treat you to the finest smoked meat on the planet, and we'll even give you a place to stay.
MF: I would like that –I just love good Bar-B-Que. I also think we share that as much as we like out IWC watches.
JP: I love all of my IWC watches, I have a Spitfire Mark XVI, a VC Ingenieur, a gold Portofino, the CFDV and the CF3.
MF: Any clear favorites?
JP: The two Collectors' Forum watches are my favorites with the CF3 taking first prize.
I missed the CFI by one year and was determined to not miss out again, when the CFDV was first offered, many were underwhelmed that a DaVinci was chosen as the forum watch.
It turns out that it was a limited run and only a few exist...making it very exclusive and special. The sale was facilitated by Hoa Huynh, who became a friend as result of the transaction. Hoa is now the manager of the Madison Ave. Flagship Boutique.
MF: I suspect there’s a story behind your CF3 too.
JP: When I saw the first renderings of the CF3, I thought it was the epitome of IWC. Hoa again facilitated the sale and acquisition and provided me with an engraving opportunity. The Maya glyph of Pacal, found in his tomb in excavation of Palenque, is what is engraved on the back. It is a symbol of my ongoing connection with Pre-Colombian art and archeology, and it is part of my signature line when I post on the forum.
MF: I know I, and I believe many of us, appreciate your passion. All to way from Texas Bar-B-Que to Pre-Columbian archeology to IWC watches and of course the forum.
JP: I continue to learn and enjoy the postings on the IWC forum. But the people I've met is what makes it more than just an online community. Dorothy is constantly amazed the kindness and friendships we've made by group of people brought together by a Swiss watch company and your pioneering work as moderator, Michael.
Permit me to mention just one example: Dorothy attended a conference in Zimbabwe this past Spring. She had a long layover at London Heathrow before she caught a connecting flight to Capetown. Ralph and Mrs. E picked up her up at the airport, took her on a tour and to their home, offered a bed and food and took her back to the airport in time to catch her flight. That is the kind of people with special open-heartedness who we've met here.
MF: I think people give of themselves to you and Dorothy because you, too, give of yourselves. Do you have any advice for new forum members?
JP: My advice to newbies is to jump on in and participate...you will learn a lot about IWC watches and meet an extraordinary group of folks...it is well worth the effort.
MF: Jim, you’ve really helped build a special community on the forum, and I know people appreciate that. Thank you!
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