Despite growing up wearing Flik Flaks and having a horology-crazed father and brother, Mojdeh Cutter developed a passion for watches only about a year ago, when she became managing director of TimeForArt – the platform is behind a charity auction that partners with watchmaking brands to raise money to enable and support emerging artists. All proceeds go to the Swiss Institute, a nonprofit contemporary art museum located in New York City that promotes upcoming talent. The first auction kicks off in December.
“Watchmaking was not something I actively pursued until this TimeforArt chapter of my life,” says Cutter, who has worked in fundraising for the Swiss Institute for the past five years. “But watches have definitely been there the whole time, looming in the background.” Now, thanks to her job – plus some subconscious horological encounters in her youth – she has officially been bitten by the horological bug.
Over the past year, Cutter, 29, has immersed herself in the industry, which has ignited her passion for horology – or, rather, reignited it. “I’m rediscovering, developing – and redeveloping – this passion that had almost been waiting for me, but which I had been ignoring,” she says. “It’s very niche, but once you get into it, oh my God, you see watches everywhere. You become obsessed – you go onto the subway and start looking at people’s watches.”
She’s also started collecting, as you can see below. And next, she’s eyeing either a gold Cartier Panthère or Tank, as a 30th birthday gift to herself. “It feels more justified now that I’m working in this field,” she says. “Growing up, Cartier was always a sign of being a woman.” Read on to see the building blocks of her collection. And find her in the Ones To Watch feature of our brand-new magazine, HODINKEE Vol. 10.
Rolex Datejust (2020)
This was a gift from her father, who has always viewed watches as sentimental items that marked important milestones – so it made complete sense when he gifted Cutter and her fiancé a pair of matching Rolex Datejusts for their wedding. Hers has a pink dial and Roman numerals, his a black dial and baguette indexes.
The couple were married during COVID, over Zoom – which made the gift of a mechanical watch feel all the more poignant. “We never had a party or proper celebration,” she says. “So these watches feel extra special. It feels like something to really cherish and remember.”
Today, the DJ is the watch that Cutter wears the most – for work but also as his-and-hers, and the couple frequently wear the watches in tandem. “We went to Rolex together to tighten the bracelets,” Cutter says. “It’s very much our wedding watch. It’s like a love story and very sentimental.”
Cartier Trinity (1990s)
“This definitely was my first watch crush,” says Cutter of the Trinity Cartier set with a swirling bezel of yellow, rose, and diamond-set white gold. She recently inherited the watch from her mother, who faithfully wears an Omega Constellation every day. (“It’s the only watch she wears because it’s comfortable.”) The Cartier was always kept in the safe for when, says Cutter, “I was an adult.”
Each time her mother opened the safe, Cutter would peer inside and covet the Cartier. “I would be there with her looking at every single piece. And this was the one I always wanted to see.”
The watch has a clean satin dial with no numerals, matched to a simple burgundy strap, which is what drew Cutter to the design. It contrasted with the bulkier, steel-bracelet watches worn by her father and brother: “It’s so delicate and small. The scale made sense to me and felt approachable.” Despite having diamonds, the leather adds an understated, casual touch. “As an object, I find it so beautiful and elegant.”
Now the official owner of the watch, Cutter at first felt that this “fancy watch” was suitable only for special events like an evening gala. “But actually I wear it pretty often,” she says. “Maybe more than I should.”
Patek Philippe Calatrava Travel Time Ref. 5034 (1997)
Cutter was wearing this 1997 Calatrava with a striking clous de Paris bezel during our interview. Owned by her father for decades, the watch is very much a family heirloom. “It’s kind of like this timeless thing that will always be here. It doesn’t belong to me; it isn’t meant to belong to my dad – it’s going to my children, if I have children,” Cutter says. “It’s kind of this shared piece. The watch lives in a box most of the time and is something that’s just meant to grow old with us.”
The Patek mainly comes out for special occasions, such as recently for the Persian New Year, where it really did its duty as the multi-generational Patek. “My dad wore it, then halfway through the night I wore it,” Cutter says. “Thankfully the strap has enough holes to fit multiple wrists.”
The piece also reminds Cutter of the jewelry designer Gilbert Albert, who created some rakish watches for the likes of Patek Philippe and Omega (though Cutter’s particular Calatrava was not designed by him). In the late 2000s, Cutter’s father was close to Albert’s family and his business, with Cutter herself taking an “unofficial internship” with the designer – which no doubt helped plant the horological seed that’s now beginning to grow. “It was just nice spending time with him and his engineer, looking at his drawings,” Cutter recalls. “He was a true artist and I wish he had done more watches.”
Hello Kitty Flik Flak
Cutter recalls wearing Flik Flaks since around the age of five whilst growing up in Paris, but this one she bought as an adult as an homage to a Hello Kitty Flik Flak that she has since lost. “It’s definitely a sentimental piece that reminds me of my childhood and all the kids in France. Flik Flak was huge in Paris, it was everywhere.” Cutter says. “Looking at this makes me feel all kinds of things.”
This “super girly” and “so so so cute” watch with pink crystal indexes not only taps into her love of Hello Kitty but is also the right size, with a comfortable fabric strap, she says. Cutter wears it on the occasional Saturday and though she doesn’t yet wear it to work, that could change with her growing horological confidence.
Yves Saint Laurent In Love Again Fragrance (1998, Now Discontinued)
Since age 12, Cutter has kept every perfume she’s ever owned, having now amassed around a hundred bottles. This one, from 1998, was the fragrance her babysitter wore. “It takes me back to a 13-year-old hanging out with my girlfriends,” Cutter says. “It’s memory packed in an invisible thing.” But the bright and fruity green scent has since spoiled and Cutter no longer wears it. “The smell has changed,” she says. “That’s the problem with perfumes. They don’t age like watches do.”
Shop this story
The HODINKEE Shop features a variety of pre-owned watches from Cartier, Patek Philippe, and Rolex. HODINKEE Magazine Vol. 10 is available in the Shop. The HODINKEE Shop has also curated a selection of watches based on those featured in Vol. 10; explore the collection here.