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NYCWatchGuy on Collecting Independents

In Bezel's exclusive interview, we sit down with the collector and venture capitalist to explore his introduction to the world of watches, his Michael Jordan superfan status, plus the most prized watch in his personal collection.


Team Bezel

August 4, 2023


8 min read

@NYCWatchGuy is a New York based collector, venture capitalist, and basketball fanatic. Apart from watches, he also collects ticket stubs from the most important moments in sports. On Instagram, he’s made a name for himself by not taking the industry too seriously and poking fun at the hobby via memes, while also shining a spotlight on the up and coming independent watchmakers of our time. 

In Bezel's exclusive interview, we sit down with the collector and venture capitalist to explore his introduction to the world of watches, his Michael Jordan superfan status, plus the most prized watch in his personal collection.

In Conversation with @NYCWatchGuy

Bezel: How did you get into watches? 

NYC: As a kid I’d always wanted a Casio calculator watch, but couldn't afford one. Fast forward a few years post-college – I saw an ad for a Zenith El Primero, and instantly became obsessed with finding one. It was a long journey to get one on my wrist, but that was the first domino to fall. I wore that watch for about a year – every single day, happy as a clam, and never thought I’d buy another watch. Then I saw an A. Lange & Söhne in the window of a store in Istanbul and decided to Google it.

That led me down the rabbit hole of forums, blogs, meetups, and ultimately Instagram, which is without a doubt the devil’s work. I also have an addictive personality and so this plethora of content did not help my case. Some 150 something purchases later, I’m trying hard to ask myself how do I get out of watches?

A portion of NYCWatchGuy's outstanding collection, including pieces from Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin, Patek Philippe, and more.

Bezel:  Was it the concept of complications that enticed you? Or was it the mechanical nature of fine watches in general?

NYC: The initial allure was certainly just about having one nice watch on the wrist - something mechanical that didn’t need a battery. That was what initially hooked me. Then the allure shifted towards complications, and I began to desire my own chronograph, along with a perpetual calendar, a tourbillon, etc.

Eventually I settled into understanding that for me, watches are wearable art, and as a result, they need to be aesthetically pleasing on the wrist before anything else. Then of course comes finishing, complication, brand ethos, etc.

@NYCWatchGuy's Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Ref. 26574TI.OO.1220TI.01

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

NYC: My first mechanical watch was a Zenith El Primero Chronomaster. I bought it a little over a decade ago, and spent an entire day in Rome trying to find it pre-owned since I couldn't afford to pay full retail for it at the time. I finally found it in a jewelry store, with no box or papers, and of course I still have it to this day.

NYCWatchGuy's Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Reserve de Marche.

Bezel: Love to hear that it’s still in your collection. Where did watch collecting take you from there?

NYC: As I mentioned, the Zenith was a daily wear for a year, but then I really got sucked in. Next up was a Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Geographic World Timer, followed by an IWC Perpetual Calendar, but then I very quickly went down the path of F.P. Journe and MB&F. Being a startup / VC guy, I think the smaller brands that were willing to take risks while making watches that were so much cooler than the mainstream stuff really resonated with me.

It also definitely helped that back then these indies were selling for 40% off retail. Today you can’t get one if you tried, but I think the fact that I was supporting them back when nobody cared about them has helped me maintain a great relationship with most of these brands.

@NYCWatchGuy's tourbillon-equipped, dual time zone indicating Richard Mille RM003-V1.

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

NYC:  The Urwerk UR-220 Grove Edition. It’s a limited edition of 23 pieces that Michael Jordan commissioned exclusively for members of his golf club – never publicly offered for sale. Having a watch that favorably represents one of my favorite indies as well as the greatest athlete of all time is truly the definition of a grail.

@NYCWatchGuy's Urwerk 220 Grove Edition – one of 23 pieces produced.

Bezel: Have you had the opportunity to meet Jordan? He’s got an incredible collection. 

NYC: I have indeed met God twice officially, and have also successfully crashed his 50th, 51st, 52nd, 53rd and 54th birthday parties. By now you’d think I’d get an invite.

He’s an interesting guy. Very intelligent. Great people person as long as you’re not fan-boying around him. Estimate has his watch collection at north of 600 pieces, which might make him not only the hoops GOAT, but the watch GOAT, as well.

@NYCWatchGuy's F.P. Journe Octa Calendrier.

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

NYC: Definitely:

Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5726/1A-014

F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain Platinum

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked Ceramic Ref. 15416CE.OO.1225CE.01

Bezel: Why do you continue to enjoy collecting watches? 

NYC: It used to be about the hunt, but today it's about the friends and community that I’ve cultivated along the way throughout my time spent engaging in the hobby. Without them, I think I'd buy very few new watches. For the most part, this hobby has been good to me (other than the toll it's taken on my bank account), and the relationships I’ve built will hopefully last me a lifetime.

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- Isaac Wingold, Senior Editor


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