Collectors Spotlight - June 2007 - Rick
Rick: R1ck (7h3 D0c+0r) F@wc3++
How long have you been a collector of Oakley items?
How did you get into collecting Oakley?
I'd say I became a collector right around the time the X-Metal Romeo was released. I had two pairs of Eye Jackets at that point, but when the Romeo hit things went sideways real quick. Soon after I bought the Romeo, it seemed Oakley couldn't release anything I didn't absolutely love so it was around that time that the collecting bug burrowed its way into my psyche. Plus, it didn't help when my best friend said "You can never have too many sunglasses". Those words have echoed in my head for the past decade. I think he has retracted that statement in light of my current collection, but it's too late. The damage has already been done.
What is the first Oakley item you remember having?
I received my first pair of glasses, a Black Gold/Gold Iridium Eye Jacket as a birthday gift from my dearly departed mother. My friend had recently splurged on a pair of FMJ/5.56 Eye Jackets, and I convinced my mother that I needed a pair of my own. I headed over to the local mall to try them all on and this was the winning combination. Thanks Mom.
What is your biggest Oakley regret? (if any)
My biggest regret is paying through the nose for my first pair of Carbon Ichiro Juliet's. I should have told the scalper I dealt with to take a hike, but I was so obsessed with getting them. Restraint has never been my forte.
What is your next Oakley purchase likely to be?
I'm thinking one of the upcoming X-Metals might be in the cards, but you never know with this hobby. I’ve tried many times to plan out my purchases, but in the end, you just never know what your next purchase will be.
What do you consider the "jewel" of your collection?
This is the most difficult question you can ask a collector. I would have to say my Juliet Collection is what I covet most. I don't even want to know how much time and money I spent completing it. I currently own all the official releases as well as a few customs. I particularly love my Ichiro Juliet's and my Ruby Corvette Juliet. In retrospect, I would say that the chase is what made this feat the fun it was. You got to enjoy the chase.
I treasure all of my glasses, but I do derive added pleasure from my Japanese Exclusives. I take great pride in such pairs as my David Flores Gascan, HIP Splice, Ti Clear Monster Dog, and my two Ti Clear Juliet's among others. I really like the Exclusives. Again, chasing them down is what makes them stand out as extra special in my mind.
How do you store/display your Oakley collection?
A few years ago, we bought an antique Chinese blanket chest while we were living in Korea. When we moved from Korea to Japan I converted it into my Oakley cabinet. I store my entire collection of watches and glasses in my treasure trove. I have 32 precision-placed hooks on the inside of the doors, 4 pullout drawers, as well as two sizable shelves for display space. It is my pride and joy since space constraints in Japan mean I don’t have a room to dedicate to my collection like some of you do. (I’m not bitter) In addition to several pairs of glasses on stands, the top shelf has two X-Metal displays featuring my “X-Metals of the Month”, my Time Tank, and a couple of watches in Vaults. The second shelf displays even more glasses along with my remaining watches on watch blocks. The four drawers contain the remainder of my collection along with the necessary tools you need to keep your collection in pristine condition. I recently installed halogen lights in the cabinet so she looks pretty cool in the evening sitting there like some Asian treasure chest. I used to wish for a Double Wide, but I find this is a great alternative since it is somewhat unique and goes with the décor of our place. Yeah, that’s right, I said “décor”.
Do you have a favorite Oakley retailer?
What used to be my favorite retailer in Calgary has fallen upon hard times. The selection, which was once expansive, is now pitiful. Japan is much better for selection but the prices are about 30% higher than American retail. The new O-Store in Tokyo is pretty slick, but their stock is somewhat limited to the OCE pairs. There’s this one little shop in Ikebukero that is run by a guy you can tell loves Oakley. He always has the good stuff so I like to drop in on him as often as possible. For the rest of my Oakley needs, I can always rely on the HQ Lobby Store in Ebisu. The staff there is always going out of their way to help the Doctor so I have to give them a special shout-out. I can’t begin to count the amount of times they did me a solid. Those people are the best I've ever encountered.
Do you customize?
I am what I would call a purist. I know many collectors enjoy making customs but I pretty much keep my items original. I’ve experimented a bit with custom combos from time to time, but in the end everything found its way back to the stock configuration. Not to say I don’t appreciate the amazing custom work that goes on here - I do have two custom Juliet's that I am quite proud of, but I prefer to keep my collection factory fresh.
What other Oakley products do you collect?
I have developed a passion for Oakley watches. I currently have nine and am hoping to round that off to an even ten in the not-too-distant future. I prefer round numbers. I would love to expand my collection of display items. Living in Japan makes space an issue, but I like having Oakley display items to showcase my goodies. Generally, I like the clothing but I wouldn't say I collect it. Pretty much just a watches and glasses guy.
What other hobbies/collections/passions do you have?
I am becoming addicted to photography. I purchased a digital Canon SLR camera last year and I love experimenting with it. My wife and I do a lot of traveling and I find the two go hand in hand quite naturally. Photographing my collection has become almost as much fun as adding to it now that I have a quality camera to play with. In addition to photography and traveling, I am passionate about reliving my youth through the purchasing of everything I had as a kid but never kept. I have amassed a pretty rad collection of hockey cards, car brochures, high-top running shoes, dinky cars, and the like. I am now on the hunt for a vintage Diamond Back Silver Streak BMX bike. PM me if you have one for sale. I’ll make you a fine offer!
What advice do you have for new Oakley collectors?
The running joke at the O-Review is “Hold on to your wallet”. It’s actually the best advice anyone could give a new collector. It is very important to keep your head on straight. It concerns me greatly when new collectors go crazy buying up everything they can get their hands on. I've seen too many people do this and they eventually end up selling off their collections because things spiraled out of control. This “hobby” can be all-consuming if you let it so try to keep yourself firmly grounded at all times. If you don’t think you can trust yourself to keep yourself in line, I recommend finding a spouse to help you. In all seriousness, keep your wits about you and remind yourself time to time that balance is important in life. Spending every waking hour in this place can mess you up if you let it – look at Warwagon if you don’t believe me! That dude is whack!
What do others think about your Oakley collection?
Obviously they think I’m the coolest person in the world, but they think this even before they see the collection! Actually, everyone I know thinks I'm somewhat disturbed, but they love coming over to marvel at my foolishness. I can see the little twinkle in their eye when those cabinet doors swing open. Many of our friends and colleagues are now sporting Oakley's, so I take that as the ultimate endorsement. My wife has been incredibly supportive of my hobby, and she has come to appreciate the "O" as well. Her collection of glasses isn’t too shabby. Overall, people think it’s cool but strange. I agree.
What's your fondest/most astounding Oakley memory?
I can't possibly narrow it down to one memory so please indulge me by allowing me to share my top 5 Oakley memories.
Number one would be our trip to Foothill Ranch in June of 2006. My wife and I stayed in Newport Beach for a week and met up with some other O-Reviewers and had ourselves a grand tour of the factory. It was any Oakley collector's dream excursion. There have been rumors floating around that Kingphilbert defiled me during one of our photo ops, but I don’t want to lend that rumor any credence by responding to it. He and I both know what really happened.
Number two would be meeting up with Eric (The Vault) in Ottawa and sitting down with him over a 12” Meatball Marinara sub while he modeled a sampling of his latest custom Monster Dog creations in that sassy French accent.
Number three would be the euphoric feeling I got when I finally completed the Juliet's. I had two deals fall apart for my last pair, which was the Plasma/Ti Clear Japanese Exclusive. Persistence paid off though. Living in Japan didn’t hurt either.
Number four would be attending the Grand Opening of the Tokyo O-Store and hobnobbing with all the staff there. Being one of the first people to buy the Japanese Exclusive David Flores Gascan topped the evening off nicely.
Number five would be the time I trekked across Tokyo in search of a newly released Tribal Monster Dog. I heard rumors that a shop up in Ueno had a pair, but that’s about all I knew. The Ueno district, as I quickly discovered, is a complex myriad of buildings, all of which are linked by a nonsensical grid of unnamed streets. I ascended from the Subway with absolutely no idea of which way to go. I bravely followed my senses and headed down one of the narrow lanes in front of me. Amazingly, I soon came upon the tiny shop I heard tale of. I think a great force intervened on that day. I snapped up the only pair they had and jumped back on the train a truly happy man.
Any final words?
Yeah, I got some final words. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the support over the last few months. As many of you know, I had been a highly active member of the O-Review until seemingly endless string of silly altercations convinced me that a little vacation was in order. During this self-imposed exile, I maintained contact with quite a few members, and through emails and chats I again realized that the O-Review really is a community of cool people. But, I think it is important that we are all mindful of the fact that we are all coming from different countries, cultures, beliefs, and backgrounds. As our membership increases, I encourage all of us (myself included) to bear this in mind when dealing with each other. Our shared passion for Oakley is what brings us together, but the personal relationships we forge is what keeps us here.
I should also take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Dann and the rest of the administrative team here at the OR. These guys have done, and continue to do an amazing job of cultivating this site. I have nothing but respect for them and the job they do. Months ago, I approached Dann with the idea of doing a Collector’s Spotlight and he immediately ran with it. This is just one tiny example of how willing he and the admin staff are to improve the O-Review experience for all of us. So, if you have an idea that you think would add to the site, I implore you to contact Dann or a member of the administrative staff. These guys will do anything in their power to make this place all it can be.
Lastly, I look forward to catching up with you guys, as well as getting to know the newer members in the coming days, weeks, and months. My goal is, and always has been, to contribute to this community in a positive manner, but be warned – The Doctor is back, so shine up your X-metal, massage your O-Matter, and keep your Titanium tight because this revolution will not be televised suckers. Can you dig it?