“We all progress and evolve [together].” – Pedro Aguiar
Ask anyone from the #watchfam whether they know of Pedro and you’ll most likely be met with an instant smile and an emphatic “Yes!” It’s just as likely that they’ve had a meaningful interaction with him over a shiny new acquisition or even competed in one of his weekly challenges on Instagram – such as the increasingly popular “lume battle” he hosts with his fellow “illumenauts.” The relationship and connectedness people have with Pedro is perhaps the most appropriate compliment to bestow on a man whose reach spans the entire watch community, both online and offline. So what is it that makes him tick?
A native of Brazil, Pedro now finds himself situated in the slightly cooler climate of Detroit, Michigan. Here he has warmed up to a community of equally watch obsessed men and women in what has traditionally been a city of automotive enthusiasts. But, with the emergence of RedBar Detroit and the introduction of brands such as the Detroit Watch Company, we may be starting to witness a shift in its residents mechanical fancies towards those of a horological kind. The importance of the watch community cannot be understated for Pedro and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more engaging and supportive member. He’s ever-present in conversations happening about watches – in the digital world and real world. Many look to Pedro as a sounding board and oftentimes he plays the part of an enabler. “Instagram was a natural extension for me” he says. “The exchange of social interactions, likes, comments… this all goes into building the watchfam community that we are all blessed to be a part of.”
As Pedro spoke about his watch collection, beginning with the very first Timex Ironman he owned, I could sense that his passion ran deep. The way he told the story of each purchase, including the most minute details, was intriguing to me. Recounting his journey with each watch he’s owned was a joy for him, even down to the details of the broken lug that an early Swatch unfortunately suffered. As he elaborated on what he loves about watches specifically, it became apparent that it’s not all about a watch’s looks. To Pedro, “the most exciting part is the movement, its technology. And of course the design is important.” He continued “sometimes it’s the combination of all these elements, the dial, the case. It’s often beyond the realm of understanding how these all come together.”
Admittedly, Pedro loves variety. His initial collecting philosophy was quantity over quality. This led him to explore a great many watches ranging from larger, mass market fashion brands such as Fossil, as well as micro brands, which he has become known for featuring on his Instagram handle @paguiarneto. Regulars in his lineup over the past year include his trusty Steinhart “OCEAN vintage Military” and his more recent pickup – a Helberg CH8. Although the watch that has garnered the most acclaim is a piece that he affectionately nicknamed “The General” – a brushed brass Maranez Layan with marble-like dial, which has notoriously been engaged in numerous “patina wars.”
Time and again, it comes back to the community for Pedro – this shared love of timepieces, often expressed through cameraphone pictures as art. Having a background in advertising, the composition aspect of photography came natural to Pedro. One look at his feed will show you the multitude of different setups and angles which shed a new light to us about the character of each watch he photographs. All the pictures that he takes are from his cell phone. Pedro does not employ the use of a digital SLR; preferring instead to play with composition and post-production to achieve the desired effect.
With the passage of time and the influence from fellow collectors, Pedro’s preferences have begun to evolve. When asked whether it would be difficult to part with some of his more beloved timepieces, Pedro notes that “the emotional part will always be stronger than the rational in me. The emotional attachment we have to a specific watch makes it tough.” Pedro’s evolution as a collector will no doubt result in some future consolidation, as he lists the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean with Co-Axial calibre 8500 movement and the Panerai PAM 560 as future grails (author’s note: the Seamster PO Calibre 8500 has since been acquired at the time of publishing – go Pedro!).
Unlike the perpetual watch flippers and dealers that we often come across, Pedro does not care about the resale value of a watch, instead putting more thought into the journey to acquire a piece; the moves required to turn a dream into reality. This had me reflecting on my own watch journey somewhat… I used to be a strict buy-and-hold guy, with the thought of flipping a watch stirring an almost repulsive reaction in me. Being exposed to the watch community has certainly influenced that part of my collector gene in the sense that I now look to curating my personal collection in a way that allows me to experience the breath of what this wonderful hobby has to offer, even if it means letting something go… Pedro seems to be in a similar mindset as he looks to eventually pare his collection down to two or three watches. “Micro brands were just the gateway” he tells me as I take a closer look at the oxidized brass case of “The General” – noticing its distinct texture and colors.
For Pedro, the journey is a continuing one that he hopes to share with his friends and followers alike. To him, this is all about “beauty, friendship and community, not what watch[es] you have.” That being said, he is still bugging me to quit stalling and get a ref. 116710 BLNR Rolex GMT Master II “Batman,” so that he can try it on – and take pictures of it – next time I attend a RedBar Detroit GTG… forever the enabler he is!
All photography courtesy of Pedro and his cell phone.