Watches of Rowing Blazers

Our founder and creative director Jack sat down with Rescapement and OT to talk shop

We’re not exactly “watch people” but we’ve always thought watches are cool. We make a point to include the watches we love in all of our lookbooks, and we’re proud to carry a small selection of vintage watches on our site, which are updated all the time thanks to our friends at Wind Vintage and Foundwell.

Our founder and creative director Jack sat down with Rescapement and OT to talk shop: a little about Rowing Blazers, and a little about watches. Read the complete interview here and tune into the podcast here.

Watches regularly pop up on the wrists of both men and women in your lookbooks and marketing materials. Especially showing models wearing Rolexes on your in-house NATOs. Do you see watches as an inherent part of the brand’s look?

Yeah, I think so. The world of watches fits very nicely into everything else that we're doing at Rowing Blazers. It is a world of a lot of tradition, a lot of somewhat archaic knowledge, and of course a great deal of history and style.

There are definitely certain watches that you’ll see again and again, certain brands that I am particularly drawn towards. Of course, we have a selection of vintage watches for sale on our site, many of them curated by Eric Wind. You'll see a lot of cool watches in our campaigns and lookbooks and so on. Rolex Submariners or GMTs, Heuers, a lot of great vintage Seikos.

The watch is just one of many different little winks I try to weave into our imagery and storytelling. Rowing Blazers is a brand that is not very dumbed down or minimalist, it's a brand that is rich all the way through in that you can go back to a lookbook or an image and notice something that maybe you didn't the first three times that you looked at it. You can keep digging, keep discovering new things. Watches are a part of that.

What went into creating the NATO straps that you sell? Was this a case of not finding what you were looking for personally in the current market?

A couple of things went into creating these NATO straps. One is I generally don't like leather watch straps, I try to avoid wearing leather in general as much as I can. If I am wearing a watch it’s either on a bracelet or on a NATO strap.

This NATO strap just fit so perfectly into the world of Rowing Blazers because of the military history behind them, originally made in regimental colors— it's a very British thing. In civilian life, they were made in club or school or university colors. This all goes back to an interest of mine in heraldry and symbols and how these codes work in the world of apparel and accessories. So it totally makes sense for us to offer NATO straps.

I do think it can be hard to find good NATO straps and a lot of the websites that you will find seem a little sketchy. It was and still is amazing to me that more people don't make NATO straps. You can't walk into a great menswear store in New York and find a good selection. I remember when I was a kid in Boston, the J Press store in Harvard Square had all these great NATO straps. That J Press store doesn't even exist anymore. In my mind, I said ‘someone should be doing this.’

It’s not just in the same old colors that you always see, we don’t want to offer only, say, Harvard colors or simply a solid navy strap. Yeah, that is fine but we want to offer something with a little more going on.

Beyond all that, the style of watches that I go for and that the brand styles on both men and women is a very traditional and sporty style of watch. A Rolex Sub or GMT looks as great on a girl as it does on a guy, or even better. That’s why all of our NATO straps are 20mm. Just because our straps are colorful doesn’t mean they're for women exclusively and made in 16mm.

The interview continues on Rescapement here.