I’m reposting with his permission, a wonderful story originally posted Julio Grey on hit site: http://lacomunidad.elpais.com/grey-photographer/2014/5/2/una-bonita-historia-relojes-y-correas-. This story is about him presenting some straps originally made by Peter Gunny to some Celebrities, including the famous Arnold Schwarzeneggar. Its no secret that guys like Arnie and many other celebrities, are big watch aficionados.

The original article was written in Spanish, but has been translated by the author and permission has been granted to post it here in English. All photos are copyright the original owner. I think its a cool story, and hope you guys enjoy the read.

Those who know me, know my passion for watches; I’m not sure if its intrinsic relationship with time and my busy life or travel and be my constant companions always the case … is that what you from my communion and gift of my grandfather from my first clock, I think since always (and always say) my wrist has gone with a clock … always.

Since then they have spent many years and many adventures; the latter has been an accumulation of coincidences that concluded as the title says “A beautiful story of watches and straps.”

The year 2010 was the year that the movie “The Expendables” Sylvester Stallone premiered. I had already had contact with him, thanks to Arnold Schwarzenegger and in March of that year, I could enjoy a few days with both in the U.S., back in March, Sly, Arnold recommended, go to the European campaign the premiere of “The Expendables “in France, England and Spain (August 2010). It was during that trip when I could see up close a watch brand that captivated me from the first moment, Panerai, the brand that Sylvester is a expert and even had an exclusive series dedicated to him; the Slytech as a tribute to the selfless help he did (almost accidentally) when Sylvester made the film “Daylight” (In Spain, Pánico en el túnel) where wearing a watch that mark and was a sales a lot of watches, (and the movie result a big and great succes in all the world).

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Sylvester, is a great guy, with a mind for business and marketing commendable and as such I got into my veins the fever Paneristi brand watches. So much so that in turn ended up having a wonderful gift for the brand and that would have led to other models … But we do not leave the main theme; history.

After that, my relationship with Sylvester deepened as I have always treated such celebrities as more people like celebrities, and even “Rocky” for me was a demigod, I never let that stand in my role of photography .That led to Sly trust as sometimes happened to make him some photographs of staff and more familiar ground, as he had done before with other characters of his status.

After a time, I met a craftsman straps for watches. Panerai is a brand that has become just as important for their watches by wearing their belts watches and Peter Gunny ( Gunny Straps ), is one of the most recognized worldwide for its special models and exact replication of models of straps that’s exist only in museums and not marketed. In my case, I needed a special belt for one of the watches that they had given me and when I contacted him, although you never do not say anything, we did a good friendship, he is also a great seller and serious in his work craftsman. So one day out of the conversation I had to return to U.S. to meet somebody and told him he was another “fan” of Panerai, another Paneristi; which is Arnold Schwarzenegger, and once I told him why I had so much love to one of his watches (Arnold is known for his hobby of collecting watches), the watch in question is a Panerai Egiziano; a special commemorative edition Panerai performed for the Egyptian army. A truly spectacular watch for its size (60mm diameter) and robustness. Quite a vintage 1956. Precisely why Arnold loves that watch for his “grandiosity and robustness.”

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When I mentioned this to Peter Gunny told me if I had noticed the strap he wore, what he nodded, and he wore the original belt manufacturing today, and he told me; Why do not I make you a replica of the original watch strap that 1956? I told him if I could and that was the big mistake, because for Gunny, the challenges are his greatest motivation. The anecdote was an “okay, if you want to try it” and the challenge became a few weeks later, Peter wrote me and said; “I have finished the challenge, I’m going to send.” I had said to him that if something like that could spark a friendly “war” between Sly and Arny, because both have same watch and both are in love with that watch. So when I said the challenge was done, I put my hands to his head, – God, I messed up- I thought – I can now create a conflict that pleases one and not another- so I commented Peter and I decided to intrude and collaborate more on what he had done to do something really spectacular. If we do, do it right! I said.

And so, Peter rebuilt his idea, made and sent me a package with something very, very special …

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When the package arrived, I had to commute to customs, because what Peter had done was not just a strap Panerai Egiziano, but had made a box with wood that had been made in the 50 boxes to deliver military watches and also had not made a single, but had two models; one, the vintage replica and another more contemporary … and also not only that, but he had done in triplicate, a box for Arnold, Sylvester and another box … a box for me with an adaptation of the strap vintage clock that had given me the year everything happened promoting The Expendables and everything else …

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Three fantastic wooden boxes, a high value, since wood is a very coveted among collectors and high quality.

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Each box with a plaque dedicated by Peter Gunny

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When I had the box in my hand I was very surprised at the very heavy weight of them, that wood is a hardness and weight had never known, very similar to teak. Is soft to the touch, but if you hit it with the knuckles, it sounds incredibly “opaque” as if it were metal.

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When Peter asked me how to make straps and boxes, I said that the more “rough” Might over them both; is all known that both Arnold and Sly are passionate about the weights of the skulls, weapons, and everything about battles and wars (especially Arnold, who is a collector of antique weapons). Peter initially had devised a box with trimmings and with great details and said; – Hey, that’s nothing Peter, robustness and ease, they see that they are handmade!

To uncover the velvet covering the straps, I realized that there was 100% successful in my choice of the artisan. Gunny had done exactly that on more than one occasion, Arnold had said he would like for Egiziano. Peter, recorded several details on the straps, especially one for each belt and owner were so UNIQUE and EXCLUSIVE straps. All handmade details and antique burnish. Simply perfect for what we wanted to offer Arnold (in this article I will talk only Day Gift Arnold).

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As you can see, the straps have great detail, a jewel, to set in another gem.
And it was time to give surprise to Arnold, he said nothing and took advantage of an event to make delivery thereof, was the surprise was huge and could not believe what he had prepared. I did not expect something even remotely, because not everyone knew his passion for this clock and history. Only he and Sylvester.

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To capture the moment of delivery (especially Arnold’s face to see what we delivered was not expecting that, I chose my partner Jan, will make delivery of the box and so I could take the pictures. All end with all the hype we had mounted “pipe” because Arnold brought Joe Manganiello, True Blood actor and co-star of his latest film “Sabotage” still has not been released in Europe series.

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There was a time when Arnold “forgot” about people and plunged into the box and straps … at that time, Arnold’s face changed, and he became a child, examining and looking straps, while his friends talked to Jan, because he had disposed of all at once … “returned” to the reality and the media attended.

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Once he came to, he began to ask questions to Jan, literally firing questions a lot of questions, questions that sweet Jan knew poor answer because she does not understand or Panerai straps or loops or woods … so I had to stop shooting to answer some questions about how Peter Arnold had made the straps and was documented to build them.Arnold, like a child with new shoes, begins to explain to his friends what he has in his hands and ask questions again giving equal else.

The next day, Arnold already wear one of the strap on his watch … 🙂 A few days later, we received a letter from Arnold … the same day, which was given in the afternoon, Arnold through its office contacted Peter Gunny interested in their work. They also called us to thank us the detail and surprise.

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When I opened and read the letter, I moistened eyes, and automatically sent it to Peter, knew that Arnold had excited him and detail was really appreciated.

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Then the best way that Arnold gave us was to see Peter Gunny straps, on TV, in promotions, in the photographs of the media … everywhere … Arnold is happy with, as he says: “The big bands for any big watch”

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If I can boast of something, is that I have to do something that is, for me, much more important addition to having been photographed or being with great personalities. I become friends if any. 🙂

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I want to publicly thank Peter Gunny of ” Gunny Straps ” the FANTASTIC work he did with the manufacture of belts, these and all he has done for me my personal watches, each and every one of them being handmade and EXCLUSIVE for the quality and skill of the craftsman when to perform them. Thanks Gunny, Buddy, you are simply “THE BEAST” and of course THE BEST.

Now, I guess it depends on whether you think Badass CEO Erik Prince of Blackwater, now Xe Services, is a cool guy or just a power hungry ex-Marine, ex-CIA turned Private Security Expert who’s a dangerous man with a license to kill. Since I’m not American I don’t really follow the politics behind it and likely don’t really have an opinion either way. I just love cool military gear, and Blackwater used to make some cool stuff before they renamed themselves and changed up.

Erik Prince wears a Breitling Emergency, and has now fled to the UAE and is working in the Energy Sector. Here are a couple shots of Erik Prince with the side of his Emergency showing and a funny Blackwater Inspiration image! Actually not entirely sure if Erik Prince is a celebrity, but his exposure in the news has definately gained him some notoriety.

Stone Cold Steve Austin saw my write-up earlier this week about his watches and sent me an email! So cool. He also emailed me a pic of his latest acquisition, a Breitling SuperOcean Heritage Chronograph 46 Limited Edition with the white dial and black dual registers.

He indicated that he picked it up in Vegas when he was there watching the UFC Fight recently. I can’t help but notice that he has great taste in watches – very similar to my own. Pic below sent from Steve Austin himself:

On a side note, I can’t wait to see the Expendables movie that he’s in with Sly Stalone, Jet Li and Jason Statham coming out in August!!!

Among many others.. including IWC, Kobold and Omega. Very cool.

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin has been lighting up the WWE stage for years before he retired in 2000, and began collecting watches after his wrestling career took off. His main article is featured in this month’s WatchTime Magazine. Some of the watches in his collection include: IWC Aquatimer, Zenith Defy, Rolex Yachtmaster, Omega Seamaster 300m Chronodiver, Kobold Arctic Diver, IWC Big Pilot and a Breitling Super Avenger Blacksteel. He’s planning to add a Panerai to the collection soon.

I highly recommend the article in WatchTime magazine as he seems like a very cool guy and the article is a good read. I was never a huge wrestling fan, but this is good stuff.

The man who coached his team to a 4-0 Loss to Germany wears his Double Hublot watches. While he’s still a bit pudgy, its good he’s got rid of some of that weight he put on a few years back!

Still, he is a legend in the world of Football.

Not sure about the double Hublot’s though. Isn’t it a bit much?

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