30 years of Animal
The Animal watch collector
The people who have shared the Animal journey with us over the past three decades are integral to the brand we have become. Animal has grown through a shared mindset, a passion for adventure and a search for the new.
As we celebrate our 30th year, we want to connect not only with the riders, advocates and most memorable characters from back in the day, but also those customers who have been part of the story from the beginning. Since it all started with a watch strap, who better to speak to than long-time Animal watch collector, Stefon Leonard.
May we just point out this is not even half of Stefon's collection!
What drew you to Animal watches in the beginning?
I’m not the kind of person to follow the crowd. Straightaway the unique designs set the watches apart from the usual timepieces. The quality of the watches is excellent and they are very reliable. The animal watch repair centre is a major plus point as it always provides amazing service.
What inspired you to keep collecting them?
I started with a W001 Glow, which I bought in 1994 and, from then on, I was hooked. Since then I’ve always bought a watch when I’ve returned to the South West on holiday. The variety of designs and the option of having a unique strap makes every watch special.
The original W001 Series watches.
How many do you now own?
Too many! Seriously, I have around 50 watches with two W001’s currently with Animal undergoing repairs. I have a variety of models, together with several special editions, such as Surfers Against Sewage, Tide System watches and the rare digital watches Animal sold in the mid-nineties.
How big is your collection?
Which is your favourite and why?
All of my SAS watches, as they always remind me of sunny holidays in the South West, Cornwall & Devon.
Are there any watches missing from your collection that you’d love to get your hands on?
I would love several styles of W001 watch, including the Men’s Health edition.
I am currently on the lookout for a W004 Pro Series with the amber and black face with chronograph function—so far no luck!
If you've seen or own any of the above watches, do get in touch. We've got someone who may be interested...
Do you wear them all or keep them on display?
Both. I do wear a couple of Animal ‘Claw’ watches but the majority are kept in a display case safe and sound.
Who’s your all time favourite Animal rider?
I followed Alan Stokes for many years but Corinne Evans rocks!
Have you got to know our watch service department over the years? Is it important that we’ve still got this?
Chris and his team are excellent. The department is very important whether you own one watch and want to get it repaired, or collect several and need a reliable source to have them maintained. (See our interview with Chris here.)
It's all in the detail, and our horologist knows a thing or two about that. Read up about the Animal watch servicing department now.
Are you still collecting past designs?
I’m always on the lookout, I’ve just bought two brand new W005’s—never been used and still boxed! What I would like are some classic straps, particularly Sunny Garcia & SAS straps.
A few more from Stefon's extensive watch collection.
How do you manage to get hold of them? Any tips for other Animal watch aficionados?
Firstly, don’t just buy anything! I started with a few W001’s, which I bought back in 1994-5 and then progressed with W002’s and so on. Ensure if you buy scratched pieces or items with missing parts that they can be repaired. Basically, buy the best you can, as it’s a benefit in the long run. eBay is a good source.
What do you think of our new Z42 and T44 range and the special edition 30th Anniversary watch?
I bought the 30th Anniversary watch last Saturday at Animal in Truro, Cornwall. I’m very pleased with it—love the classic strap. The new watches are great but I think the faces would benefit from a revival of some classic Animal designs and we do need a new SAS watch in a Z42 or T44 design!