Wristi is one of the pioneers of the Instagram ‘Watch Shot’ movement. Only taking pictures of his wrist, Wristi has gained over 25 thousand followers. I followed him around the city of Austin, accompanied by a few scantily-clad female friends, and took in some F1 racing. I first met Carter (@Wristi), in a strange Car/Art/Hat/Cocktail Party here in the art’s district of Miami and since then, we’ve been talking watches and suits for days.
Wristi: I get to read this interview before you post it right?
Carlos: Yeah, If you want to sound more like Steve McQueen, I can do that.
W: (Laughs) That’s what I like, That’s what I like.
C: Lets start off with the obvious first question, What was the first watch that caught your eye?
W: A Breitling NaviTimer when I was maybe 10 or 11.
C: You owned a Breitling when you were ten?
W: No, no, I didn’t own it, but It’s the first one I fell In love with.
C: I was about to say “MAN! You had a great childhood.”
W: The first watch I owned that I was ever really proud of is on my wrist today. It was given to me by mentor/father figure. It’s a a vintage 1969 two-tone Rolex. I got it in my early early twenties, I guess it was his at some point, he knew about my love for watches. It hardly gets any wrist time anymore, sadly.
C: Talk to me about Instagram. Where did @Wristi come from?
W: Well, I was active on some watch forums with other aficionados and we would take crazy watch shots. It got to a point where all my friends would stop and ask “Why are you always taking pictures of your wrist?” My close friend had an Instagram and she begged me, begged me to start one… In retrospect it was probably because she wanted one more follower. I’m a relatively private person actually, I like to keep to myself, but she really pushed me. So I started my Instagram just to have an archive for myself, one thing lead to another and it all took off.
C: Is that why we never see you in any of the pictures?
W: Yeah, I have a firm belief that people see what they want to see. Less is more a lot of times, so I’ve seen a few great yacht or watch related IG accounts, but really I don’t care what this guy looks like. (Laughs) I think people are more attracted to the mystery.
C: (Laughs) I always call you the “International Wrist of Mystery”.
W: I think it plays a little bit better, I’m also ridiculous about sticking to my theme. Carlos, you have no idea about how many pictures I would love to post, just general pictures, but they don’t follow my theme. Sometimes a watch sitting on a cigar box or on my desk, but those don’t make the cut. When I first started my Instagram I even used the same filters and settings for all of my pictures, but that really compromised the quality of the images. I just try to stick to a regular pace, a picture a day.
C: I love all of the Wristi Easter Egg accounts you leave everywhere, like @AnonymousShark or @RandomParrot.
W: (laughs) I just made one today but decided not to use it. It’s called @CuteBarista, I made it this morning but I don’t think its going to catch on. I just want to do something different, my ultimate goal is to get a laugh or a smile off people. To click and see that there is an actual @AnonymousShark or whatever, it catches people off guard.
[Editors note: In media, notably video games and movies (Pixar does tons of them), “Easter eggs” are hidden inside jokes that must be sought out by viewers. Although the term was first coined at Atari in 1979, the concept, perhaps best represented by Alfred Hitchcock’s cameos in his own films, has been around a lot longer.]
C: Lets get down to the actual chronograph styling here. You’ve been helping me look for a watch, and until I met you I knew nothing about watches. Sure, I knew about Rolex or Omega, but that’s about it.
W: Unfortunately that’s the case for most people, It’s a hot topic. Sure, I find Rolex to be one of the most beautiful and well-designed watches out there, however it’s the brand that most people recognize. I can’t stand that. Looking at my pictures you might think I’m posh but it’s actually the opposite. Every shmuck in the neighborhood has a Rolex, so I like to have a watch not many people recognize.
C: I knew for me, there was always a big stigma about investing thousands on a watch, I don’t make that much cash right now. It’s interesting to see that you can buy a lesser-known brand that’s arguably cooler, You showed me Bell & Ross watches, and me being a pilot fell in love with them. They don’t cost a ton either.
W: There is a misconception. Some people go to the big brands and see gold and diamonds and they want to spend a lot of money. On the other hand, some of the most expensive watches in the world are the lesser-known brands. If your after just a quality time piece there are a TON of quality watches out there. I remember discussing Bell & Ross with you, because there is an emphasis on aviation. They’re great buys.
C: I wrote an article about jeans and I said that my favorite thing about denim is the story it tells, with watches that’s almost times 10. You have brands like Van Cleef and Arpels who was a billionaire playboy or Mike Horn, who inspired ‘The Most Interesting Man In the World’, and he always wears a Panerai.
W: There is a ton of history in watches, the more collectable pieces have more stories behind them. Like a vintage Omega Speedmaster because it was the first watch worn on the moon. You would be crazy not to own one of those.
C: Let’s talk about a watch beginner, who doesn’t have a watch-mentor like I do. Where does he start?
W: That’s tough to say. It all comes down to what you like to see on your wrist. I spend at least an hour looking at my watch every day, 5 minutes here, two minutes there. It has to be what you like. Watches shouldn’t be seen as status symbols, you should buy a watch because it’s aesthetically pleasing, and it’s good quality, and it’s going to last a long time. You can’t be a ‘Watch Snob’. I’ve got a collection of Seiko watches that are relatively inexpensive, but they’re beautiful. Sure there are different quality steels and brand history but if you’re not going to be happy with it down the road, don’t buy it.
C: That was a pretty snappy end thought.
W: Is that going to work?
C: Hope so…