The Watch Collectors: @Bzabodyn214. A Serious Watch Flipper and a Great Family Man from the Heart of Texas.

A good ol’ Texas family man with a longhorn tattooed on his heart for his ‘alma mater’ —The University of Texas—, @Bzabodyn214 is one of those watch collectors that you click with instantly. He is an avid watch collector with a very good eye for photography and the owner of a watch collection that at times seems to be like a ‘revolving door’ with some permanent pieces in it. And just as if it was yesterday, we still remember the time we met @Bzabodyn214 in person during a trip to Las Vegas and talked watches and the good life while sipping a round of perfect Negronis at the Baccarat Bar & Lounge inside the Bellagio Hotel and Casino. A true Texan with a watch collection that evolves by the week, he is fascinated by watch straps, Yeezys, Rolexes, Tiffany Dial Patek Philippe watches and his now famous ‘watch roll’ videos. Now, you’ll hear straight from him all that he wants to share about this amazing hobby that brought us together in the first place.

When Did You Start Collecting Watches? 

I started admiring watches during my teen years when G-Shocks were first coming into popularity. Then in high school and college I slowly started noticing watches on teachers and professors as well as out in public and started taking more interest little by little. At that time, I told myself that when I got my first job and started making money, I would buy myself a “nice” watch. After saving up, I bought myself a TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph with a blue dial and orange accents after seeing it in magazines everywhere. For about three years I kept that watch as my only watch and eventually traded it in for an Omega Seamaster 300 blue “Bond” watch. Right then it was when I really caught the bug and started getting involved in online forums like Timezone, Paneristi, Dive Watch Connection, Rolex Forums and Vintage Rolex Forum. I lived on the sales forums and started buying, trading and selling like a mad man while enjoying the constant rotation of watches in and out of my collection.

How Long Have You Been Watch Collecting?

I would say the real “watch collecting” aspect started around 2007 or 2008 when I purchased my first Panerai, a Luminor Marina PAM 111 and then I started building a collection of Panerais.  At the height in 2012, I think I had like eight Panerais and one Rolex GMT Master II, along with like probably about 150 different straps. I would sometimes change straps multiple times in a single day depending on the mood or trying to coordinate the watches to what I was wearing and I was good at it. I turned so good, I could swap them in under 30 seconds! In sum, I’ve been collecting for like 11 years or so.

What are your favorite brands?  

My favorite brand of all time has always been and forever be Rolex, boring, I know, but they build solid quality watches that have withstood the test of time. Right now, I own more Rolexes than any other brand in my collection by far.  I am also a huge fan of Patek Philippe sport watches but they have always been at the edge of affordability for me so I’ve looked elsewhere for a while. I am thankful to have owned a Patek Philippe Aquanaut ref. 5167 twice including the Tiffany & Co stamped dial example I now still own, and I do hope to add a Nautilus to the collection eventually. Right behind those two brands would be Audemars Piguet. I’ve owned probably a dozen APs dating back to when the Royal Oak reference 15400 was first introduced. Since then, I’ve owned countless Royal Oaks, Royal Oak Chronos and a few Royal Oak Offshores. While I loved them all, after owning so many the Royal Oak reference 15300 Royal Oak is the best of all worlds for me and the ‘one’ AP for me.

Which of Your Watches Do You Consider Special and Why?  

I think for one reason or another, almost all of my watches are ‘special’ to me, but a few have a little more emotional attachment than others. My wife bought me one of my first watches which was a TAG Heuer F1 that has a Texas Longhorn on the dial and my initials and year of graduation from UT engraved on the back. Even though it doesn’t get worn much, I hope to be able to give it to my son as a graduation gift when he makes it out of UT —wishful thinking. The other two that have the most attachment are both Rolexes, one is my Submariner ref. 16800 transitional matte dial and the other is my GMT Master II BLNR a.k.a Batman. My Rolex Submariner ref. 16800 is an early example and a birthyear watch for me and I’ve owned it longer than any other watch in my current collection for about 7-8 years. 

The GMT Master II BLNR was one of the first examples retailed in Texas and was the first Rolex I purchased brand new with my name on the papers. It was really by luck that I was able to purchase it. At the time I was looking at purchasing my first new Rolex and it was going to either be the BLNR or the new blue dial Yachtmaster. That day, my wife and I were staying at the Westin in the Houston Galleria for a company party and my salesperson at Tourneau didn’t have either piece in stock. 

When we were headed up to the room to get ready for the party, I received a call from that same salesperson —named Judy— and she said: “believe it or not, but I just got a shipment in and both of the watches are here in the store and you have 15 minutes before I start calling the names on the list.” Of course we ran down to the store and after holding both watches up to my wife and saying “pick one”, the rest is history. It has been my single most worn watch since and will continue to be probably until the day I give it to my son or six feet under.

Can You List the Brands and Watches You’ve Owned In your Watch Collecting Journey? 

This is a pretty funny question for me. Since I started “collecting” in 2007, I’ve probably owned between 300 to 400 watches from Seikos and microbrands to F.P. Journes and everything in between. As I start counting watch brands, I’ve owned like 30 and still going strong. My current collection has about 20 watches I wear on a semi-regular basis, a few beater watches and a few watches that even though I don’t wear much, I could or would never sell because they’re either not worth much or I have some kind of emotional tie to them. In the average month now, I probably buy, sell or trade around five to six watches depending on what I run into or what I’m looking for. Right now, I’m mostly drawn to semi-vintage Rolex sport watches more than anything as they are “my style” more than just about any other watch from any era.

Why Do You Buy Certain Brands and Watches?

I never would or have bought a watch that I didn’t like and wouldn’t keep in my collection first and foremost. I’ve learned a lot over the years and I bet I’ve lost money on probably 80% of the first 50 watches I sold or traded. I eventually figured out that if I wanted to continue to expand the collection without emptying my savings account, I was going to have to be smart in what I bought and how I bought it. I still have bought watches I really loved and knew I would likely lose money on it, but the opportunity to try it and check it off the list outweighed the risks of losing one grand or so.  But now, the constant ‘flipping’ of watches does help to not only supplement the growth of my personal collection, but also get some pretty cool watches into the hands of friends and fellow collectors.

Which is Your Grail Watch you Wish to Own One Day?

My vintage grail is a silver brushed dial Rolex Milgauss ref. 1019 that of course I would love to find in a full set, unpolished case and perfect patina; however, they are becoming tougher and tougher to find and like all vintage Rolexes they are skyrocketing in price. Then the reason why I’ve scratched a black dial Cosmograph Big Red Daytona ref. 6263/6265 off the list is because even though I’ve had some come through my hands that I’ve sold, I could never pay today’s prices for one. On the modern front, I would love to own an MB&F LM 101, a Patek Nautilus 5980/1A blue dial or any Tiffany dial Nautilus but again, these are probably all out of reach or unobtainable so I’ll probably just stick to my little world for now.

How Many Times Do You Switch Watches During The Day?  

I rarely go through a day with the same watch on for the entire day. Because of our crazy lifestyle and how much we are running around, I might have one of my nicer pieces on during my workday, then swap to something more of a beater type of watch for the evening if I am attending baseball practice and then back to something nicer for going out to dinner. On the weekends, three times in a day is probably the average and if I’m taking time to do some photography, it might be even more.  When I travel even if it’s just overnight, I will usually pack three watches plus the watch I’m wearing just to be safe.

If You Had to Keep and Wear Only One Watch From Your Current Collection to Wear for the Rest of Your Life, Which One Would That Be?  

That’s tough because I sometimes can’t even wear one watch for a single day. I would have to narrow it down to either the Rolex GMT-Master II BLNR —per the story previously mentioned and because it is so versatile— or my Patek Philippe Aquanaut ref. 5167A Tiffany dial. The latter because of how hard it was to actually get one and the fact that it is my single favorite watch to wear today. I first put my name on a list for a Patek Philippe ref. 5711 or a ref. 5167 at the local Tiffany & Co. boutique in like 2013 and they never came through. Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to purchase one from my now good friend Kelly Yoch at the Tiffany & Co. flagship in New York City.