Forces behind the Sources: A Conversation with Mr Julian Farren-Price
Editor’s note: We all love to read about watches, and from a variety of sources. The reason so many watch review sources co-exist is that different voices, different opinions help broaden our horizons and understanding about the watch industry. So we like to approach a number of experts in their own rights, people that matter, voices that make a difference in the watch world every day. We call this series of interview articles: Forces behind the Sources. Today we are offering the insights from a legend of the Australian luxury watch world, Mr Julian Farren-Price. For our previous interviews, please head to our dedicated interviews page here.
The Quintessential Luxury Watches Universe
It is a beautiful spring November morning in Sydney. Birds are chirping in the expansive Hyde Park and the sun is shining in spells, peaking out from under the clouds to grace us with its heat but hiding again swiftly like a curious but scared young child cowering behind his parents. The main shopping strip, Castlereagh St, nearby is getting noticeably busy, with eager patrons queuing up for luxury boutiques such as Gucci and Cartier. A bit further down are Hermes, Dior and Chanel. Nestled between these globally known luxury boutiques is our own Australian luxury watch destination, J Farren-Price.
Even though it’s a Sunday, the passionate and relentless tour de force behind J Farren-Price, its Director, Mr Julian Farren-Price greets us with enthusiasm on what was supposed to be his day off. Yes, despite being the ‘boss’ and having a capable team, he still spends time at the boutique, still keen on providing that personal touch that adds an extra flair to their exceptional customer service
Dressed in a dapper Ermenegildo Zegna grey suit and wearing a beautiful Patek Philippe Annual Calendar ref. 5396 in rose gold, Mr. Farren-Price graciously allows us a delightful hour of his time talking watches.
Established in 1942, J Farren-Price has withstood global pandemics, a world war, multiple financial recessions and the Swiss quartz watch crisis. Today it has developed into one of Australia’s premier destinations for luxury watches and jewellery.
Having joined the company in 1989, Mr. Farren-Price has seen it go from strength to strength. Besides jewellery, they house a total of nine luxury watch brands. In the 1950s/60s, they were a household name in Australia. Move forward a few decades and 2019 saw them expand their Castlereagh boutique by adding a second floor above that houses one of the biggest Patek boutiques in the Southern Hemisphere.
Oscar Wilde once said: “The truth about the life of a man is not what he does, but the legend which he creates around himself”. In a world where some sort of luxury watch retailers, boutiques or retailers can be found at every corner in the CBD of a big city, J Farren-Price has managed to stand apart and create a legend of its own within the Australian watch community.
Exceptional customer service, impeccable staff knowledge and an overall welcoming boutique environment, all these aspects one might take for granted at their boutique though when it comes to such positive experience at generic watch stores, it is rarer than Rolex’s steel sports watches.
“Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence,” said Colin Powell, the Former United States Secretary of State. No watch retailer might come near total perfection ever because nothing in life is perfect, but J Farren-Price sure as hell challenges that notion.
It’s easy to tell that J Farren-Price (JFP) is the ‘home of Sydney’s most prestigious Swiss watches and luxury jewellery’. But it’s not all luck or chance that it’s got to thank; it’s that innate quest for perfection that Mr. Farren-Price brings up in our interview conversation quite frequently.
The Quest for Perfection
This interview is in three parts – the Business Side, the World of Horology and the Personal Side, all mixed to create a conversation-style interview. As it goes on, he provides us with insights into his life, he talks about his first watch, his love for Rolex and Patek Philippe, what advice he has for watch collectors, the journey to establishing J Farren-Price, future plans, and also how Covid-19 is shaping the present watch industry.
So without further adieu, we present our interview with Mr. Julian Farren-Price.
The 20-odd minutes of this recored interview are a peek into the universe he is a part of. There was of course much more that we talked about off-camera, and I must say it was a pleasure to speak with someone who’s life is so inter-twined with watches, yet he is approachable and grounded.
Just like us watch enthusiasts, it’s also affirming to note that Mr. Farren-Price is a collector himself, who as much as he likes to get the maximum use out of his Rolex GMT, has ended up amassing a small collection.
Among the other things we spoke about, there was one thing that we personally wanted to point out, and that was the fact that if you search for J Farren-Price on the internet, two different boutiques show up, one in Sydney and one in Adelaide. We have always been confused as to what the difference is, and I am glad Mr Farren-Price was able to clear that up for us. The original company is the one in Sydney, and whilst the Adelaide one was their franchise some decade ago, it is now owned and operated by a separate company.
Vince Lombardi was an American Football coach who once said that “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence”. I think Mr. Farren-Price with his boutique manages to do just that.
We wish to thank Mr Julian Farren-Price for this time with this interview. To read more of our interviews, head here. To explore the J Farren-Price website, please head here. All images and video are ©Watch Ya Gonna Do About It.