Journal / Read

Matthew Hranek on Collecting to Suit Your Style

In Bezel's exclusive interview, we sit down with the author, photographer, editor, and bon vivant to explore his introduction to the world of watches, how he collects to suit his style, plus the most prized watch in his personal collection.


Team Bezel

December 15, 2023


9 min read

Matthew Hranek (aka @wmbrownproject) has without question made his mark on the worlds of style, travel, food and drink, and watches throughout his multi-hyphenated career to date. In addition to being the founder / editor of WM Brown magazine, Hranek is a best-selling author, perhaps most closely associated with his 2017 book A Man & His Watch. Thoughtfully exploring the relationships between a wide variety of differently iconic watches and their owners, the over 200-page long book is now something of a must-have for collectors new and old alike. Since its release, Hranek has also written The Martini, The Negroni, A Man & His Car, and most recently A Man & His Kitchen.

In Bezel's exclusive interview, we sit down with the author, photographer, editor, and bon vivant to explore his introduction to the world of watches, how he collects to suit his style, plus the most prized watch in his personal collection.

In Conversation with Matthew Hranek

Bezel: How did you get into watches? 

MH: It all started with my dad – he loved gadgets and gear, including but not limited to watches.

I always liked his style, so naturally, I took to watches just like him. Now I can’t quit them.

A selection of watches in Matt's collection: including a Rolex Submariner Date Ref. 16610, an Omega Speedmaster Professional "Moonwatch," and a sought-after "Tintin" dial equipped Speedy.

Bezel: Which watches do you associate most closely with your father? 

MH: Rolex. In his eyes, that was the ultimate symbol of success. It was well-styled and made with purpose, it was James Bond’s watch – it was the watch to have.

Being an outdoorsman into gadgets, he was also a big Pulsar LED guy. He was even one of the first in line to buy one when they were first introduced. Should he have bought a Daytona for the same money? Maybe, but he didn’t. 

A Man & His Watch – one of the definitive contemporary books on watch collecting.

Bezel: What was your first watch, and what’s the story behind it? 

MH: My first watch was my Winnie the Pooh watch made by Sears in the 1970s, which I got as a Christmas gift from my Grandmother. As for my first real watch, that would have to be a quartz TAG Heuer Formula 1. It was unfortunately stolen at a hotel, but I’ve since replaced it. 

Bezel: While writing “A Man and His Watch,” did speaking to so many individuals about the stories surrounding their collections influence your own approach to collecting? 

MH: Above all else, I really fell in love with G-Shock. When I heard the story of how Kikuo Ibe developed that watch, I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. And to think you can pick one up for under the $100 mark is wild. 

I also fell in love with Zenith. Between the role they played throughout the Quartz Crisis, and the beauty of their movements, I knew I had to have one. 

Post-servicing: Matt's prized Rolex Submariner Ref. 5513, fitted with a tropical matte dial.

Bezel: What’s your favorite watch in your collection and why?  

MH: Aside from my dad’s Datejust, my favorite would have to be my Ref. 5513 Submariner that I bought back in 1997, right at the dawn of online shopping. I can remember showing it to my wife, and telling her about the $1,700 asking price! 

When I got it, it was just beginning to turn tropical. It’s gotten more tropical over the years, and I really love it. 

Hranek pictured alongside his 1974 Lancia 2000 Berlina.

Bezel: As an avid traveler, would you say there’s a watch you enjoy wearing most on the road? 

MH: Knock on wood, I don’t leave watches in the room anymore, nor do I wear a Rolex in Naples. I was fly fishing recently and wore a modern Benrus reissue – they’re great. I try to always wear the right watch for the occasion and always travel with one watch in my dopp kit for running, a humble Casio F-7.

I’d say my taste for watches is definitely Rolex-centric, but over the years, it’s evolved to include Cartier and Zenith, among others. When I look back on all the watches I’ve been offered over the years and the ridiculous prices they were offered to me at, I can’t believe I passed them up, but I’ve always ultimately collected what I enjoyed and best suited my style. 

On the wrist, at the wheel: Matt's attractively patinated Rolex Explorer II Ref. 16570

Bezel: Can you share 3 must-have watches listed on Bezel right now?

MH:   Of course!

Rolex Submariner Ref. 5513

Cartier Tank Chinoise Ref. WGTA0075

Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 16718

Bezel: Why do you continue to enjoy collecting watches? 

MH: It’s never been about collecting, and instead, more so about discovering what exactly it is about these objects that makes me happy. Having them in my life is truly a privilege.

Have someone in mind that you'd like to see featured?  Interested in submitting a story of your own?

Reach out to us at

- Isaac Wingold


Start browsing watches now

Bezel is available to download on the App Store now. Please reach out to our concierge team if there is anything we can help you with!

Get the app