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The Fashion Geek Podcast

85 | How Important Is It To Wear A Watch In The 21st Century With Alec Zaballero

Alec Zaballero is an esteemed architect and partner at TPG Architecture, with a profound interest in watches. Alec’s passion extends to his role in the Harvard Club Watch Collectors and Enthusiasts, where he leads a vibrant community of like-minded individuals. With his comprehensive knowledge of menswear and horology, Alec is uniquely positioned to discuss the intersection of fashion and watch culture, making him the ideal guest to explore the relevancy of wearing a watch in the 21st century.

Guest Links


00:00 The Philosophical Significance of Watches
00:39 Meet Reg Ferguson: Fashion Geek and Men's Style Guru
01:35 Diving Deep into Watch Culture with Alec Zaballero
03:37 The Personal and Cultural Impact of Watches
04:53 Debunking the Necessity of Watches in the Digital Age
06:35 Watches as Totems of Personal and Cultural Identity
16:26 The Harvard Club Watch Collectors Group: A Community Born from Passion
21:49 Diving Into the Vetting Process and Club Dynamics
23:12 The Social Exercise of the Club
24:00 Guests and Events: Enhancing the Club Experience
24:34 The Challenge of Membership and Community Contribution
25:29 Exploring the Resurgence of Private Clubs
26:01 Diversity and Leadership in Club Communities
31:07 Defining a Watch Geek vs. Enthusiast
32:30 A Personal Take on Watch Collecting
34:16 The Impact of Micro Brands in the Watch Industry
36:28 Fashion, Personal Branding, and Communication
41:23 Fashion Tips for the Everyday Man
43:02 The Philosophy of Always Being Fly

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Alec Zaballero [00:00:00]: But so so why why why do watches matter? Why should we wear watches? Well, watches watches have a significance that goes beyond wearing the time. And for one thing, watches are incredibly personal. You wear them next to the skin. And so, we wear watches. So my, my, I've come to the theory, to the belief, that we wear watches because they are, they are totems. They are, they are icons. They are indicators. They're language. Alec Zaballero [00:00:36]: They are visual language. They're they're like men's wear.a Reginald Ferguson [00:00:39]: Welcome to the Fashion Geek podcast. The show that helps you learn more about men's fashion and get some tips to help you dress your best. This is Reg Ferguson, fashion geek number 1. And I'm a men's fashion consultant here in New York City, born and raised. My mission is to help you learn more about men's fashion so you can become fashion confident. How important is it to wear a watch in the 21st century? Reginald Ferguson [00:01:09]: Will wearing one make Reginald Ferguson [00:01:10]: you fashion confused? Or will wearing one make you fashion confident? My guest Alex Abayero is here on Reginald Ferguson [00:01:18]: the show because he's a watch geek serious. Reginald Ferguson [00:01:21]: He loves watches so much he created a club at the Harvard Club of New York to express his love and build a community. That is serious. So when it comes to your interest or love of watches, are you a carrier? Or do you have the disease? Hey. If you ever found yourself staring at the closet, not knowing what to wear, Reginald Ferguson [00:01:50]: if the idea of shopping for clothes makes Reginald Ferguson [00:01:52]: you feel physically ill, wait till the end of the show and I have something for you. But for now, let's get to the show. Reginald Ferguson [00:02:00]: Yo. This is Reg Ferguson, fashion geek number 1. How are you? Welcome to the ride. Thank you so much for listening. I'm a men's fashion consultant here in New York City and I help men go from fashion confused to fashion confident. If you ever found yourself staring at the closet not knowing what to wear or if the idea for shopping for clothes makes you feel physically ill, then this is the show for you. My goal with every episode is to help make looking good feel easy. If you ever want my help, email me at for a consultation. Reginald Ferguson [00:02:35]: If you have a friend who's looking to level up his fashion style wardrobe game, please share an episode with them. While you're at it, if you dig the show and haven't already left us a rating review, please consider doing so now. Your shares, ratings, and reviews help us grow the show and help us get the best possible guest and help more men dress their best. Today, we're going to talk with Alec Zavayero of the Harvard Club Watch Collectors and Enthusiasts. Who is here with me in New York City. We're here in his office. And we're gonna talk about something the everyday man should have an interest in. Why should you be interested in watches? Alec in the building. Reginald Ferguson [00:03:15]: How are you, man? Alec Zaballero [00:03:16]: I'm good, Dan. How are you? Reginald Ferguson [00:03:17]: I'm well. I'm well. So before we go into our topic, please tell us, so what do you do? So what do you do? Alec Zaballero [00:03:40]: What do I do? So Reg, I'm an architect and I'm a partner at TPG Architecture, which is where we are in our offices. Yeah. School place. And we are, architects in who do commercial interiors here in New York City. So without even knowing it, you know, people who are listening to this or in New York may have walked into spaces that we've done. Reginald Ferguson [00:04:01]: Wow. That's pretty neat. So that's your day gig. But we met at Rowing Blazers Right. Alec Zaballero [00:04:11]: For a collabo event. Yeah. So we met where the two worlds overlapped. Yes. Right? Because Rowing Blazers has done a collaboration, a watch collab, right, with tag. It wasn't tagged. It wasn't tagged? No. It'll come to me. Reginald Ferguson [00:04:33]: Wait. Oh. I thought it was well, I'll try to save you. I know You're gonna try Alec Zaballero [00:04:38]: to save you. Reginald Ferguson [00:04:39]: I know Eric I know Eric Wind. Alec Zaballero [00:04:40]: Correct. Eric Wind invited me to see to to to Zodiac. I'm sorry. Zodiac. Yes. Beautiful, beautiful collaboration. Very much in the Rowing Blazers aesthetic. Dive watches. Alec Zaballero [00:04:51]: Yes. And, we met and immediately discerned that we were men of, you know, some presence and sophistication. And I shared with you that I was here for the watches and you shared with me that you were there for the menswear. And so this this interaction was born. Reginald Ferguson [00:05:08]: Yes. With the Reese's peanut butter cup of fashion. Alec Zaballero [00:05:10]: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Both good things. 2 things wrapped together. Reginald Ferguson [00:05:13]: I love people. Alec Zaballero [00:05:15]: So so so watches. Watches and menswear. Right? Why should we why should we care about watches? Yeah. Why should we wear watches? So full disclosure, you know, I've I've been a watch collector for a little over 2 decades. Mhmm. And I started this this this interest group at the, Harvard Club of New York, watch collectors and enthusiasts, with a goal of creating community. With a and so with a goal of of of sort of reaching out and finding people who felt similarly interested in watches and similarly similarly passionate about what they mean. And so every, every, every, every person who, without even knowing it, everyone has interacted with or thought about or have or they have a watch in their life. Alec Zaballero [00:06:06]: Sure. Right. Sure. Every, you know, your your what you want, when you inherited, when you remember your parent wearing, when you want there's there's a watch in a drawer somewhere. Yep. So why should we, why should we care about them? So I, I keep asking this. So what's with this watch thing? And we have to start from from sort of square 1. Right? And I'm gonna say that in this day and age, we have to dispel a myth, or a fanciful belief. Alec Zaballero [00:06:40]: No one actually needs a watch. Reginald Ferguson [00:06:42]: What do you mean no one needs a watch? Alec Zaballero [00:06:44]: Oh, blah, blah, blah. Okay. Well let me qualify. So there's a people say I need a watch so I can tell the time. Reginald Ferguson [00:06:53]: Right. Alec Zaballero [00:06:53]: Right. Oh, do you? Well okay, I start my day. I wake up. My alarm clock gets me up and it tells me the watch. It tells me the time. Reginald Ferguson [00:07:01]: It tells you the time. Alec Zaballero [00:07:02]: I have my iPad as my backup in case I oversleep the alarm clock. Alright? It's set 5 minutes later. It tells me the time. Reginald Ferguson [00:07:10]: Right. Alec Zaballero [00:07:10]: Right? I get out of bed. My coffee maker tells me the time. My microwave tells me the time and so does my oven. And they don't really agree. Yeah. Reginald Ferguson [00:07:17]: My idea. No. No. No. No. Alec Zaballero [00:07:18]: It's a 10 minute mark. Siri would tell me the time if I asked it. Right? Right. Get on the subway and the subway tells you the time. Reginald Ferguson [00:07:25]: Yes. Alec Zaballero [00:07:25]: Right. Get to your office. The elevator tells you the time. We're we live in a we live in a world where where the rationale of saying I need to watch tell the time. Arguable. Arguable at best. Yes? Strange coming from a watch guy? Reginald Ferguson [00:07:43]: No. I mean, if if you wanna be contrarian, but I think you're doing it to make a point because these are personal choices. Alec Zaballero [00:07:49]: I'm making a point. So what's what is what is what is the point? So we have to ask ourselves, if we don't need watches to tell the time Right. Which is ostensibly why we we we we have watches. There's other myths around that like, you know, accuracy and robustness and, like, all these sort of things about watches. Yeah. Reginald Ferguson [00:08:08]: Which is very 20th century if you think about it. Alec Zaballero [00:08:11]: Oh, very much so. Very much so. But so so why why why do watches matter? Why should we wear watches? Well, watches watches have a significance that goes beyond wearing the time, of telling the time. And for one thing, watches are incredibly personal. Yes. You wear them next to the skin. Literally. Literally. Alec Zaballero [00:08:35]: They're all one of the few things that on a daily basis you wear and they they sit next to the skin. So much so that they gunk up. But anyway, so they but they sit right next to your skin and they're very, very personal that way. And so, we wear watches. So my, my, I've, I've come to the theory, to the belief that we wear watches because they are, they are totems. They are, they are icons. They are indicators. They're language. Alec Zaballero [00:09:11]: Mhmm. They are visual language. They're they're like menswear. Menswear Reginald Ferguson [00:09:16]: Yeah. Alec Zaballero [00:09:17]: The proper tie, the right jacket, whatever. Reginald Ferguson [00:09:19]: Yeah. Alec Zaballero [00:09:19]: They're they are a for they are important to us because, they are beautiful. They are, amazing. They carry with them stories and they, and and sort of cultural significance. Reginald Ferguson [00:09:39]: Sure. Alec Zaballero [00:09:39]: And they, and, and we bring on watches. We wear watches because because we want to adopt those stories and project them as part of our own persona. Sure. So there's fame so it apply that applies to if I wear you know, that applies to fancy watches and that applies to rugged watches and that applies to the watch. The watch is a part of your wardrobe the way that you dress to suit the occasion. Certainly. In the case of watches, watches have been there and take on the significance of incredibly important moments in our shared cultural history. Prime example, the Omega Speedmaster, the Moonwatch. Alec Zaballero [00:10:31]: Yeah. The watch that was worn on there. Right. Right. Right? Apollo. So if I wear that watch, I signify that, you know, I am I am I'm not that I wanna be an astronaut, but that, you know, I I I I care about this, about achievement. I care about accuracy. I care about, you know, the the stories that go with it. Alec Zaballero [00:10:51]: There are watches that are wore that have been that are worn, very famously by celebrities. Right. Paul Newman's Daytona went for $17,000,000 a month. Reginald Ferguson [00:11:02]: Crazy. Right. Alec Zaballero [00:11:04]: And every Daytona, every Rolex Daytona of that model has has somehow become imbued with the aura effect. Reginald Ferguson [00:11:15]: The hell yeah. The halo effect. Alec Zaballero [00:11:17]: The halo effect of of of of of that particular model having been worn by Paul Newman. Only the embodiment of cool. Right. Reginald Ferguson [00:11:27]: Certainly. Certainly one of them. I can also think of Steve McQueen. Steve McQueen. And his tag. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Alec Zaballero [00:11:34]: He wore tags. He wore Rolexes. The Steve McQueen. Right. Right? And so, famously, Jackie Kennedy wore a courtier. Yes. Right. So there are there are so watches become become these objects that have a carry the carry the magical aura along with them of legend and history and personality. Alec Zaballero [00:12:04]: And, by by choosing to wear these things, we're signaling. We're signaling that this is this is part of me. This is part of what I project. Reginald Ferguson [00:12:15]: 2 things in response to that. Do you think that every person and of course this is a generalization. I m aware of that. When they re wearing an Omega Speedmaster Alec Zaballero [00:12:25]: Yep. Reginald Ferguson [00:12:26]: Particularly now in the 21st century that they really are making and laying claim to the Apollo space program? Alec Zaballero [00:12:35]: No. I don't think it I I don't think it's that every person makes a specific link to the Apollo Space Program. But I do think that it's inescapable that the that Omega has made that, flip over to Speedmaster and it's his, the MoonWatch. And they've made that a key part of the brand persona. They've made that a key it's it's inescapable if you if you you walk into the store and this is the Moonwatch. Reginald Ferguson [00:13:07]: Right. Alec Zaballero [00:13:07]: I mean, the recent collab collaboration with Swatch. You read my mind. The Moonswatch. It says so. Right on the Reginald Ferguson [00:13:14]: It literally does. It literally does. Alec Zaballero [00:13:17]: Right. Reginald Ferguson [00:13:17]: Do you feel that collaboration enhances the Omega brand or does it dilute it? Oh. That's a debate. Well, that's what we're here for. Alec Zaballero [00:13:27]: So there's pluses and minuses. Right? And you you've you've heard both sides. The the plus side, it introduces wearing a watch and it introduces the a classic iconic style, even if it's done in bio ceramic, whatever that is. Right. Yeah. Right? Onto the wrists of many, many, many people who otherwise would not have that on their wrists. They literally matter. Reginald Ferguson [00:13:56]: It's an entry piece. Alec Zaballero [00:13:58]: Yes. And well, yeah. And it it breaks the ice. Right? It sort of gets people to the point of going, oh, there's something here. Right? This is the thing called the moonswatch because there's a moonwatch. Because there's this and then that it's sort of like will everyone then become a watch enthusiast? No. No. But, you know, it starts to get people to the point of saying, oh, okay. Alec Zaballero [00:14:23]: You know, this is on the on the minus side, there are people who said, oh, this this is not good for the brand because you're you're you're, you know, eroding, you know, brand equity by doing this to the Speedmaster, I think the Speedmaster will survive it. Reginald Ferguson [00:14:41]: I no. I agree. I posed the question just to be who I am. Yeah. But but I agree. I don't have any skin in the game. Right. That's a Swatch reference if you're paying attention. Reginald Ferguson [00:14:55]: Mhmm. I don't I don't believe it necessarily dilutes it. I think what's interesting that it's a collaboration with Swatch and Swatch is a brand that you and I are first generation users. Right. I love that brand still to this day. Alec Zaballero [00:15:12]: Yep. Reginald Ferguson [00:15:12]: I have 3 swatches. Technically, 4. One still in the case. Mhmm. I've never used it. I can explain why if asked. But the interesting thing about what you're saying, I believe as a premise, is theyre making this grand watch accessible for people who generally would not have the means to acquire a Speedmaster. And the reason why I find that interesting is knowing the history of Swatch and knowing that we have Keith Haring, the late Keith Haring Alec Zaballero [00:15:45]: Right. Reginald Ferguson [00:15:46]: Who did wonderful work with Swatch. Literally, if you were fortunate enough and now I'm sure these are grails of immense value. If you bumped into him in the street and he took his magic marker But even beyond that, having his illustrations as part of the brand, that was his whole premise of making art accessible Yeah. To everyone. Yeah. So what a nice circle there. Alec Zaballero [00:16:12]: Well, I like this. So there's different. So were living in an amazing time. Because were living in a time, when youve got a level of quality watch that is now that can now be made and brought to people by smaller brands and micro brands, that was never possible before. There's a higher quality of watch that can be brought by micro brands to the market And and we're living in kind of a golden age of horology because you have the highest of the high in terms of, of high horology being made And then you have amazingly good watches be, you know, available kind of at very at at at all different price points down into the 100 of dollars. If everything from like That's me. Oh sure. Well, but it's all of us. Alec Zaballero [00:17:08]: It's all of us because we're also living in an age where we go high low all the time. Right? Sure. We we we go we could you you can you can dress, you know, high and low and sometimes both. Absolutely. And so, I it's really a golden age. You can be in the same room and if you are truly if you true I think if you truly care about watches and not, not as status symbols but because of as as the thing and as the phenomenon and, you know, for what they are that you can you can you can feel as enthusiastic about a micro brand that costs 100 as you can about a high Swiss brand that costs 100 of 1,000. Reginald Ferguson [00:17:49]: Right. Alec Zaballero [00:17:51]: And we're living that's all happening Reginald Ferguson [00:17:55]: at the same moment. What led you to create this group outside of being a Harvard grad? I know you mentioned community, but I just would like you to elaborate about what was the Yeah. Alec Zaballero [00:18:08]: So the group with the group is really a product of our reaction to the pandemic. We all remember the pandemic. Yep. Right. We all remember being cooped up. You know, looking at people in little boxes on the screen. We all did it. The little box on the screen. Alec Zaballero [00:18:26]: And you're looking at us in little boxes. Right. Right. Right. Right. But this was bad. This was worse. So we were it was 2 years ago and, there we were and we were all sick of the pandemic and I, I, I made a, I, I made a resolution, that I wanted to come out of this insanity, right, which which was isolating and which was really kind of destructive to the soul and I wanted to come out of it more open and more social and more rooted in community and more I wanted to put myself in the way of interesting interactions. Alec Zaballero [00:19:09]: Oh, Reginald Ferguson [00:19:10]: you're very kind. Alec Zaballero [00:19:12]: And so I I looked around for I thought about where where where is where could I make that happen and what natural interests do I have that I can share? Because it's it's often useful to have a commonality. Right? And so I have been a watch collector and primarily, you know, vintage Rolex for over 2 decades. Mhmm. And I thought, well and I belong to the Harvard Group for Yeah. Almost for about that, length of time. Oh, wow. Yep. And I said, here here is a community. Alec Zaballero [00:19:47]: Here is a community and let's try something. And so the club allows you to form social groups. Reginald Ferguson [00:19:54]: Mhmm. Alec Zaballero [00:19:54]: And so it's a club within a club. Reginald Ferguson [00:19:56]: Nice. Alec Zaballero [00:19:57]: Yeah. So our membership is, you know, by definition pulled from the membership of the club. Right. And it's been incredibly rewarding because it's it isn't just people who we have a whole range. As you can imagine, you know, Harvard graduates are pretty intense and very, very engaged. And we have everything from world class collector to recent graduates who just say, hey, I'm really interested in this and I might want I'm interested I don't know what I want as my first, like, real watch. And I find the boutique thing just really terrible and intimidating. Sure. Alec Zaballero [00:20:40]: And the group welcomed And inaccessible. Yeah. And kind of deliberate. Deliberately so. Reginald Ferguson [00:20:47]: Absolutely. Which is ironic while this is happening at the Harvard Club. Alec Zaballero [00:20:51]: Well, that's a gratifying experience. Reginald Ferguson [00:20:53]: I know. Alec Zaballero [00:20:54]: No doubt. That's Reginald Ferguson [00:20:55]: I mean, NYU grad just busting. Oh, NYU's busting on Alec Zaballero [00:20:58]: Harvard. Yeah. Alright. Why not? Reginald Ferguson [00:21:01]: Punching up. Alec Zaballero [00:21:04]: I'm gonna go. Alright. We're settling the feud right there. Okay. Reginald Ferguson [00:21:07]: There's no beef. Alec Zaballero [00:21:10]: So so so even to Harvard graduates. Right? Because Reginald Ferguson [00:21:14]: Of course. No. It's it's all relevant. The the Alec Zaballero [00:21:16]: school the school is actually the school has really moved with the times and so has the club. And so it's diverse in age and it's diverse in, you know, gender and skin color and, you know, origin. And so, it's a it's a nice mix of a group because it's not all, like, dyed in the wool watch geeks. Mhmm. And we get to we get to, you know, we get to share and we get to, you know, do events with brands and and watchmakers. Reginald Ferguson [00:21:52]: How was the process of applying to the Harvard Club for your club? How does that work? Alec Zaballero [00:22:01]: How does that work? Reginald Ferguson [00:22:02]: Yeah. How does that work? Alec Zaballero [00:22:04]: Sure. Well, you have to apply to the, to the leadership within the club because there there has to be a certain amount of, and there are some stringent rules. There's some very stringent rules. For example? For example? Well, the although the purpose of the rules is so that is so that, you know, that there isn't abuse of, sort of the the association with the club. Because this for one thing, every group within the club has to be purely social. Purely social. This is for information. This is for, you know Right. Alec Zaballero [00:22:45]: Enrichment. Cultural enrichment. Cultural enrichment. And we keep it strictly so. Right? We keep it strictly social. And you know, it's got to be true to that sense of it being a plus to the club in terms of creating more camaraderie. Yeah. Value add to Reginald Ferguson [00:23:05]: the club. Alec Zaballero [00:23:05]: Value add. So it can't be an ego exercise. You know, Harvard ego, but, no, that can't happen. Right? Beats me. Reginald Ferguson [00:23:16]: I went to NYU. Alec Zaballero [00:23:21]: So so it is it is it is, it it is a a strict process. There's vetting involved. I won't go too deep into that. Right? Reginald Ferguson [00:23:30]: Why not? I'm I think I think the listeners and the viewers because as we know, ladies and gentlemen, I'm on both medias right now, audio and video. Mhmm. I think they would be interested. I mean, as long as it's not something that you have an NDA on. What what No. No NDA. Okay. Alec Zaballero [00:23:49]: So give us an example. So basically, you know, part of this, of course, is that what we what we work with and recognize is that the association with both the club and the school are powerful because we're back to brand. Right? Reginald Ferguson [00:24:09]: We're back to Alec Zaballero [00:24:10]: it's a powerful brand. And it's easy for that brand to then be kind of, it's easy for for it to be to to for for instance, for it to be commercialized. It's easy for it to be used as, say, a business building, enterprise. Right. Right? It's easy. And and unfortunately They forbid. Which they forbid because it it's easy for this to become like, groups can groups that that are ostensibly about, you know, neutral interests can become platforms for personal, you know, gain. And so, you know, we're, we're very, very, we, we, we keep this very, very much a social exercise. Alec Zaballero [00:25:01]: Right. We keep this very, very much and we we we do keep it we we we very much keep it an exercise where we invite guests in and we treat them like guests that come into our house. Right? Let's have an early dinner. Let's let's have a group meeting. Let's have drinks afterwards. And I I think that that is that's something that's really refreshing for a lot of, you know, our guests. And it's something that really sort of lends Reginald Ferguson [00:25:34]: itself to the character of the group. That really defines the group. Alec Zaballero [00:25:34]: Now, when you mention guests, Reginald Ferguson [00:25:38]: group. Now, when you mention guest, are you saying alums as guest? Or Well, Alec Zaballero [00:25:44]: we're saying, for instance, that we invite, say a watchmaker Right. To be our guest. To come in and to to show what his work and to talk about how he started the company, to talk about his projects and his passions. Or brands. Right? We bring representatives from brands in as guests. Or retailers or, you know, collectors or and that that's that's the those are our guests. Reginald Ferguson [00:26:13]: What was the hardest question either through the application or I'm assuming maybe you get interviewed by a board. What was the hardest question you received in presenting the application for the group? Alec Zaballero [00:26:26]: I think the hardest question is really answering the question of how is this how is this, a plus to the club experience? How is this a plus to the community? Right? How does this increase the the the the the how does this increase the connectivity with between members in the club and the usage of the club? Because it it's about creating critical mass of, you know, members using the the club as well. Right. It's interesting. We're back in the time when there's more private clubs being founded. You know, it's a phenomenon in the city. And that's been going on for a few years now. And so it's actually, it, it, the, the club, the Harvard Club's been there for, you know, since the 19th century. Right? But this phenomenon of private clubs is like newly resurgent. Alec Zaballero [00:27:33]: There's more private clubs now than than, you know, than I can remember there being. Reginald Ferguson [00:27:37]: Wow. You mentioned the diversity of the membership of the club. Sure. Do you have a sense? Because for the audience, whether you re watching or whether you re listening, Alec much earlier said that he is Filipino. Alec Zaballero [00:27:55]: I'm Filipino. Reginald Ferguson [00:27:56]: So he's a person of color. Do you have a sense of how many clubs are led by people of color? Alec Zaballero [00:28:07]: I you mean groups between groups? Reginald Ferguson [00:28:09]: Yeah. Yeah. Like you run a group. Alec Zaballero [00:28:10]: You run a group. I don't because honestly there's there's there's it's not it's not like there's a convocation of all the groups. Reginald Ferguson [00:28:18]: Oh. Alec Zaballero [00:28:18]: Right? It's like we're we're all doing our own thing. Right. And so there I like, I've never met the people who'd lead, for instance, the chess club or the cycling club or the it's like I I I don't really, I know I meet members within the club. Reginald Ferguson [00:28:35]: Sure. Yeah. Alec Zaballero [00:28:36]: I can speak to that. Right? But I couldn't tell you about the other groups. Reginald Ferguson [00:28:40]: Okay. I would lay a wager that I have no idea. I know. Alec Zaballero [00:28:52]: I have no idea. Reginald Ferguson [00:28:53]: I know. Ignorance is bliss, but but that's that's I know that's That's good. Anyway. What? So can you give an example? You kinda hinted when you bring people in as guests, representatives, watchmakers. Alec Zaballero [00:29:11]: Right. Reginald Ferguson [00:29:11]: But what's a typical event like for your group? Alec Zaballero [00:29:15]: Sure. So a really typical event is that, sort of meetings are monthly and a very typical event is that there's a there's a there's a group meeting with a guest present a guest speaker, and that is our guest. Right? Let's say you we invited you to come in as our guest. Right. Reginald Ferguson [00:29:39]: Right? One day, I could add value. Alec Zaballero [00:29:42]: You could add value. And so we would say we would we would say, okay, there's a meeting at 7 o'clock and it runs for an hour, hour and a half. And that is the form, that is the actual meeting. But we offer up that please come and let's do an early dinner. Reginald Ferguson [00:30:04]: Prior to the meeting? Alec Zaballero [00:30:05]: Prior to the meeting. Wow. And then who and then and then right. Let's do an early dinner and invite other members of the group. Oh, come and chat and we'll go bread and, you know, come come and let's, you know, go start downstairs in the main dining room and have an early dinner. And, you know, nothing is there's nothing like breaking bread. Right? Reginald Ferguson [00:30:22]: No. I I agree. Alec Zaballero [00:30:23]: Yeah. And that that is that that's core. Just human psychology. You wanna be together and it creates a it creates that sense of of of warmth and, you know, connection. And then we proceed to the meeting and we go through the meeting and there's always so much enthusiasm and always so much passion and always more to talk about. And so we got alright. We gotta clear the room because anyone who wants to continue, let's go down to the main bar. Reginald Ferguson [00:30:57]: Wow. I mean, that's fantastic. Alec Zaballero [00:30:59]: Watches are watches are, you know, a passionate thing. They are. They are. They are. They are. They are. You you can really you get into it and and and conversations can go and go and go. Reginald Ferguson [00:31:15]: Do you have a sense of how many members you have in this group? Alec Zaballero [00:31:22]: Yeah. I do. I I Reginald Ferguson [00:31:26]: it's 20, 30, a 100? No. No. Alec Zaballero [00:31:28]: It's more it's it's under a100. Okay. Yeah. It's under a100 or so. It's not the it's not a big group. There there are there so we're not alone in being a watch interest group. There are watch groups, you know, all over the city and some are quite big. Some are some are we're we're a relatively small, group. Alec Zaballero [00:31:47]: We're club in a club. Right. Right? So it's several dozen. Reginald Ferguson [00:31:54]: Okay. Okay. Very interesting. So let's see. So you and I, after we met at Roland Blazers. Alec Zaballero [00:32:10]: Yes. Reginald Ferguson [00:32:10]: We found out that we were neighbors, so to speak. Right. Right? A neighborhood apart from each other. So we went and we had beers in my neighborhood. And invariably, we started talking about watches. Right. And you made this reference. I'd I'd like everyone to hear it. Reginald Ferguson [00:32:30]: And I don't know if it's worth of elaboration, but I've never forgotten it since. You know I like watches. But I don't consider myself a watch geek. So actually, I realize I'm preempting myself. Can you define what a watch geek is? Alec Zaballero [00:32:48]: Define what a watch geek is? Reginald Ferguson [00:32:50]: Yeah. I mean, yeah. You lead a group. Probably comes up. Alec Zaballero [00:32:53]: Yeah. Yeah. So a watch geek is it's like any kind of geeky dude. Right? You you and after a while, you those of us who are geeks just sort of get comfortable with recognizing that we're geeks. It it's it's caring about the stories and the details and go and, you know, having that sort of brain where you you dive and you go down the rabbit hole. Reginald Ferguson [00:33:19]: Right. Alec Zaballero [00:33:20]: And it could be the rabbit hole of brand history and it could be the rabbit hole of different models and it could be the rabbit hole of like who wore it and when and how can I get one? There's different kind of ways to like, you know, different rabbit holes you could dive into. But Watch Geek, I think at at the core of it, geekitude starts with with passion. Sure. Geekitude starts with with, like, caring so deeply about a subject that you go into the minutiae of the subject. Right? Right. And you go into, like, the the subtleties of the subject. Right. You know, whether it's lapels or whether it's, you know, watch models. Reginald Ferguson [00:34:00]: I am not a geek. I am an enthusiast and I am a consultant. Alec Zaballero [00:34:04]: The line between enthusiast and geek is like Reginald Ferguson [00:34:07]: Well, what a what a wonderful segue because you know I like watches. Yeah. And ladies and gentlemen, particularly for the individuals who are not watching us on YouTube, but they're listening. We are going to be I don't even know how to say it. We're going to be overwhelmed by Alex's sample of his collection. Alec Zaballero [00:34:30]: Uh-huh. Reginald Ferguson [00:34:31]: Okay? I like watches. You like watches. Here's the line that you said. The difference between the 2 of us is that I'm infected and you have the disease. Those are your words. I'm not paraphrasing. Alec Zaballero [00:34:47]: True enough. True enough. Reginald Ferguson [00:34:49]: You can't hide, Alec. Or we could Alec Zaballero [00:34:51]: say we're at different we're we're at different stages of progression. Reginald Ferguson [00:34:55]: No. That's what you said. And I'm standing I'm standing by that because I do love watches. I absolutely do. Alec Zaballero [00:35:01]: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Reginald Ferguson [00:35:03]: But I'm a watch enthusiast. Alec Zaballero [00:35:05]: But that that's why we have enthusiasts in there. Reginald Ferguson [00:35:09]: Yeah. But you're a geek. Alec Zaballero [00:35:10]: I am a geek. Reginald Ferguson [00:35:11]: I know you are. Alec Zaballero [00:35:11]: I'm a self confessed geek. Reginald Ferguson [00:35:13]: I am aware of that. And I have a feeling that you have some people who already are geeks in the group. And if not, they will be slowly influenced to be geeks. Alec Zaballero [00:35:24]: Geek is a state of being. I'm I'm aware of that. Great. Reginald Ferguson [00:35:29]: So I I just have and hopefully we'll we'll do that too when we do the second part so to speak within 1 episode. Right. I'm just a humble man with a humble watch, which actually let me hide the watch because you you haven't seen it. Oh, chaos. And and I brought it I brought it intense. Alec Zaballero [00:35:46]: I brought Reginald Ferguson [00:35:46]: it yeah. You can put your glasses on, but it's cuffed up now. Alright. Alright. No. I I wanna I wanna see your I wanna hear your take. Yeah. And speaking of take, you mentioned something earlier I'd like you to elaborate on. Reginald Ferguson [00:35:59]: Okay. The amazing influx of micro brands. Alec Zaballero [00:36:05]: Yeah. You and I both on We can work remotely now. Brands can actually reach multiple collaborators, multiple vendors. They can work in the cloud. They can pull things together from any location. Reginald Ferguson [00:36:21]: Correct. Alec Zaballero [00:36:22]: So you can be in France or in Ohio or in the UK and you can have manufacturing done. Or in Singapore or wherever, Japan, then you can have manufacturing done, you know, globally. Reginald Ferguson [00:36:38]: It's an impressive time. Yeah. They're not gonna give my money. Oh, look at them. They're not. I mean, I like what I have. I have a nice collection. It's modern. Reginald Ferguson [00:36:50]: It's it's, you know, classic. It's mechanical. It's quartz. It's eclectic. It's here. Yeah. It's eclectic like me. So but, but I'm set. Reginald Ferguson [00:37:01]: I'm done. Mhmm. Because you know why? I have a case. It s a finite number of slots. That s, you know, Alec Zaballero [00:37:09]: it s kinda like imposed self control. Reginald Ferguson [00:37:12]: Absolutely. I filled my case. Absolutely. Alright. Now I know you're the watch guy, but you also saw Sharpie. Ladies and gentlemen, I just wanna let you know when I first came in, he was not dressed the way he was. I like the way he was dressed. He had a shirt. Reginald Ferguson [00:37:30]: He had a cardigan. Mhmm. But he said, if I'm going to do this visually, not just the audio, I have to undergo a costume change. Alec Zaballero [00:37:40]: Well Reginald Ferguson [00:37:40]: So. No. No. It's absolutely fine. I'm not trying to play you out. I'm just being factual. So he's got a he's got a nice sport jacket. And he's got a buttoned down, but the collar isn't buttoned down. Reginald Ferguson [00:37:53]: That's clearly, you know, some reverence. Beautiful, beautiful wool tie. Alec Zaballero [00:38:00]: Thank you, sir. Reginald Ferguson [00:38:01]: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. No doubt. And, you know, while you're from waist down, that's that's how you were. You didn't change that. So my point is, Alec, why is fashion important? Why is fashion important? Alec Zaballero [00:38:15]: So as a designer, I work with brands. Right? Right. And and, you know, and and so I think that I'm more conscious of brands and and the power of brands than than than most people might be. And I'm a firm believer that each of us is their own brand. We are whether you like it or not, you have a brand. Sure. And you're clearly, you know, conscious of the brand. Reginald Ferguson [00:38:45]: And I do like it. Alec Zaballero [00:38:45]: Correct. We should like our brands. Right? We should and we should be conscious of how we use our own brands and and and our own personal brands. And so so so I see see fashion as an what do brands do? Brands have to project that brand. Brands have to communicate. Right? They have to know that it's a it's it's the whole history of mankind is is a it's all coded communication. Right? Sure. Whether, you know, Scottish Scottish tartans or or, you know, tribal tattoos or amulets or whatever, it's it's communication. Alec Zaballero [00:39:27]: Yes. It's it's communication about belonging to groups and aspiring to things. Yeah. And fashion is a tool in that. Right? Yeah. In and if and I think you should control how you communicate. Be aware of how you communicate. Its like having an Instagram page. Alec Zaballero [00:39:51]: Right? You already turned that around. It's like you are not going Reginald Ferguson [00:39:54]: to talk about my Instagram page. It's terrible but it's gonna get better. Alec Zaballero [00:39:58]: Word come up words about your Instagram page. Reginald Ferguson [00:40:02]: I can take it. I can take it. What difference has fashion made in your life? Alec Zaballero [00:40:10]: Fashion has I was very fortunate in something we share, which is, which is that I was taught, I was taught the in, the basics and the ins and outs of menswear by a father who dressed well. Yep. Right? He taught me. I remember in his in his in his in his in his dressing room, right, in his closet, he taught me a 4 in hand, he taught me a half windsor, right, he taught me a windsor. Reginald Ferguson [00:40:34]: My grandpa did the same. Alec Zaballero [00:40:35]: Right. And I'm really fortunate in in in having had that as a start, as a as a start point. Trying to do that now for my son. Right? Yeah. Passing it on. Reginald Ferguson [00:40:45]: That's so cool. Alec Zaballero [00:40:46]: And so wait. What was the question again? Reginald Ferguson [00:40:48]: What difference has fashion made Alec Zaballero [00:40:50]: in your life? So the difference that fashion has made in my for me is that as someone who navigates both professional and social worlds, right, it it it it certainly is it certainly is a tool that I use to send the right signals about who I am and and and and and and what I do and how I wanna be perceived. And, but, we had we talked about this at the beginning. Reginald Ferguson [00:41:26]: I was about to say, would you care to share? Yeah. I'll Alec Zaballero [00:41:28]: share that. Sure. So, I'm a small Asian, small brown guy. Great. Reginald Ferguson [00:41:37]: And No. I'm just and I'm a tall black guy. You're a Alec Zaballero [00:41:40]: tall black guy. Reginald Ferguson [00:41:41]: Welcome to short and tall. Alec Zaballero [00:41:42]: Right. We make quite a pair. No. But, you know, there was a and, and I'm Asian and and so I think, you know, many Asians always have we look younger than we are, right, for longer. And there were certainly was a point at which I looked younger than, than my position and responsibilities, would indicate or would be aligned with. And I used, I used menswear and fashion as a way to to help people, in terms of of gaining that that that more accurate first impression. Right. Heuristics. Alec Zaballero [00:42:25]: Right. Reginald Ferguson [00:42:25]: Oh my gosh. I haven't heard that word since undergrad. Alec Zaballero [00:42:28]: Right? Right. Which is people's, you know, automatic assumptions. People people are people. You can't hold it against, you know, folks. But people, make quick assumptions and there's all sorts of studies about, you know, how quickly does someone, you know, come to a decision or may or have gain an impression of someone. And I saw it as helping helping people just sort of smoothing out social lubrication. So it's smoothing out the the the bumps in the in the conversation. Reginald Ferguson [00:43:01]: What's the top fashion tip you would give the everyday man so he could look his best? Alec Zaballero [00:43:08]: I I so 2 parts. Okay. Yeah. So the first the first fashion tip is I think you have to understand your body. Reginald Ferguson [00:43:20]: I agree. Alec Zaballero [00:43:21]: Right? Because because it I there was a point at which I aspired to be skinny and tall and to dress, you know, and I'm never gonna be skinny and tall. Right? So, you you work with what you have. Yeah. I'm secretly. Continuous. Continue. Reginald Ferguson [00:43:38]: So, Alec Zaballero [00:43:40]: so so I, and so if you understand those parameters, the basic parameters for the, you know, what what what what your what DNA gave you. Right? Then within that, find the style that you're that you're that you're comfortable with, that aligns with you. Right. And, you know, you need guidance sometimes. You because it's it's it's it's complicated. It is. It's confusing. And for myself, right, you referenced, you know, a few some of the style cues. Alec Zaballero [00:44:15]: And I'd be I'm I I am sort of, I've, you know, sort of square shoulders and I'm, you know, padded shoulders look like I'm wearing football gear, right? And so I I landed in the un in in the sort of Neapolitan unstructured Mhmm. Lane because it works. Right. And both for me physically and stylistically. Reginald Ferguson [00:44:41]: As is all my guests, So what does always be fly mean to you? Alec Zaballero [00:44:48]: I'd say always. So if you're fortunate, you have a rich and married life. Right? Many different cert situations and circumstances. And I think that Always Be Fly, is always tune how you present yourself for the milieu or circumstance that you walk into. And it's like controlling your brand. Right? It's always know be aware of how you use how you use that brand projection. And fashion is that brand projection. And you've you've showed, it, you know. Alec Zaballero [00:45:42]: You can be fly and casual. Reginald Ferguson [00:45:44]: Oh, thank you. Alec Zaballero [00:45:44]: Fly on the weekend and fly and and so every every situation that you find yourself in, Reginald Ferguson [00:45:50]: you Alec Zaballero [00:45:51]: know, view use it consciously. Use it judiciously. Project your brand. Reginald Ferguson [00:46:01]: I like how you talk. Alec, thank you so much for the time. Alec Zaballero [00:46:05]: Thank you. Reginald Ferguson [00:46:06]: I really really appreciate of this. Ladies and gentlemen, you'll see it or you'll hear it. And there'll probably be a little bonus because we're gonna go into looking at his collection. Thank you so much. Reginald Ferguson [00:46:21]: So you learned from Alec that it's not important to wear a watch in the 21st century, but nothing and no one should stop you from wearing one. You can become an enthusiast and build like him. You can find Alex Zaballero on Instagram under his name. If you wanna level up your watch game, then make it happen. Take initiative and become fashion confident in 30 days. All you have to do is email me at for a consultation. Well, that's a wrap. To my team of interns, past and present, who have helped make the fashion geek podcast what it is today, I thank you. Reginald Ferguson [00:47:06]: Always be fly.
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