You may not know this yet (because if you stick solely to Tapatalk the WUS blog is probably virgin territory), but Watchuseek has a new Editor-in-Chief. His name is Justin Mastine-Frost, he’s seasoned but still young (I’ve got parking tickets older than him), he’s energetic (he’s also a fitness expert) and he has a watch collection large enough to suggest he ram raided a significant watch store.
What some of you may have noticed is that articles appearing recently on the WUS blog have started to get longer, more in-depth and hopefully more informative. This is all part of the JMF masterplan to start telling more stories that engage the WUS community. We thought it would be only polite to introduce you to Justin, so we asked him the kind of everyday watch guy questions you’ll find on the forum. Here are his answers.
WUS:Justin, please tell Watchuseek a little about yourself because you’ve only been with Verticalscope a few months, and already you’ve risen to the dizzying heights of Editor-in-Chief. How did you do it?
JMF: When I walked in the doors of VerticalScope in October 2018, I already had this role in my sights as the “long game”. I’ve been a writer/editor since roughly 2006, originally having started out in the automotive world and then migrating to watches in 2013 or so. I’ve written for some of the industry’s big guns—Watch Time, Watch Journal, International Watch, Time & Tide, ABlogToWatch—as well as leading watch content with a few major luxury/lifestyle publications out there. Before some unforeseen circumstances led me to Toronto I was the Senior Editor of the watch category for Robb Report magazine.
WUS:Were you a Watchuseek member prior to working for Verticalscope? If so, for how long?
JMF: I’ve been on Watchuseek since about 2012. I believe it was right around the time I found my Seiko 6139-6002 in a drawer of an antique shop in Vancouver.
WUS: What have you learned about yourself in the last five years?
JMF: That you really never know where life will take you, and that shit works itself out one way or another.
WUS:Please tell us, what is your grand vision for the Watchuseek editorial side of things going forward.
JMF: At the end of the day it’s all about quality content. We’ve long been a solid news resource for the community at large, but I’ve seen a clear need to change gears in terms of delivery. Sure, we can tell you what’s new out there, but anyone can read a press release. Where does a new release fit in the market? Does it make sense? Is it overpriced? What will it be competing with?
Beyond that, more actual hands-on reviews are certainly on the cards, breathing some life into our YouTube channel, getting more engaged on our Instagram feed (which has also landed on my to-do list). I just want us to be telling more stories that matter, more stories that engage the community, and that either educate or at the very least give our audience a new perspective on things.
WUS: Your Instagram page reveals a virtually limitless variety of watches clamped to your wrist. Are they all yours or are you in touch with just about every watch brand in the blogosphere?
JMF: I get this question a lot. It’s been a bit of a mix over the years, but these days I’d say it’s around 80% my personal collection, and 20% loaners that have arrived for review from brands. Unlike so many feeds out there, I try to ensure that there’s clarity when a piece is not my own. As for the variety, my taste in watches is… eclectic? At the moment the collection runs somewhere north of 50, including a lot of indie/micro brand/affordable stuff, with some more significant pieces scattered in between.
WUS: Your arm tattoo is pretty unusual can you explain it?
JMF: The short answer is engine parts. While writing about cars I was also a licensed mechanic for BMW, and I’ve been a car guy since I was a kid. what you often see at the edge of a wrist shot is a throttle body.
WUS:Please tell us your favorite genre of watches? Are you into aviators, dive watches, chronographs, dress watches, or all of the above?
JMF: I’m really all over the board, but if I had to prioritize, divers, chronographs, and GMTs are at the front of the line. I like pilot’s watches but rarely ever own them (the few I’ve had were since flipped). I like weird, I like different.
WUS:What are your favorite watch brands?
JMF: OH this is a tough one… I’m going to answer at a more holistic level, rather than because of individual watches that I like.
At the more attainable end, Zelos, Brew, Halios (have a Seaforth Roldorf incoming as I type this), Monta, and Tutima (I own 4 at the moment). In the higher end, first, there’s the more obscure stuff—Sarpaneva, Gronefeld, Kari Voutilainen, Akrivia. That said, I also have a soft spot for JLC, Parmigiani Fleurier, and Vacheron Constantin.
WUS:What do you feel makes Watchuseek stand out from other sites such as Hodinkee, A Blog To Watch, Worn & Wound and others?
JMF: More than anything, it’s about the community at large. So many enthusiasts are constantly engaged on our site, and it’s great to see the conversations and debates that unfold over any given watch.
WUS:What is the best/worst watch purchase you’ve ever made?
JMF: The best is easy — My unique piece Sarpaneva K0 “Kameleontti” (chameleon, unofficially). Worst? Probably a very early quartz Girard Perregaux that I’ve yet to figure out how to bring back to life.
WUS: What’s the pride of your watch collection?
JMF: The Sarpaneva, easy. I reached out to Stepan and said: “just make something different.” I knew I wanted a luminous dial in a bead-blasted case, but beyond that, it was all him.
WUS: What’s the most you’ve ever spent on a watch?
JMF: Pleading the 5th.
WUS:There are Coke presidents and Pepsi presidents. Where Watchuseek is concerned, are you a quartz or a mechanical Editor-in-Chief?
JMF: Mechanical for days, of course. That said, I still respect Spring Drive and other innovative quartz integrations into watchmaking.
WUS:You’re also into motorcycles, and motorcycles invariably equal at least some spills. What’s the dumbest way you’ve been injured on a motorcycle?
JMF: LOL. Other than as a teen, I haven’t been banged up yet. Back then, I cleaned the carbs on my brother’s CT90, throttle pin didn’t go where it belonged, Kickstart was broken, so rolling start to full throttle into the broadside of the barn.
WUS: If you had $1,000 to spend on a watch what would it be and why?
JMF: So many good options. My latest incoming in that pricepoint is the Citizen Tsuno Racer (used to own the original bullhead). Otherwise, Nodus, Zelos, or other well-executed micros. I could (and probably will) write a full list of my favorites in this price range. I’d also recommend looking at things in the Seiko Presage Prestige line. I’m still in love with my Presage with the Shippo enamel dial that I acquired at the end of last year. HUGE Value there.
WUS:And if you had $10,000 to spend, what would the watch be and why?
JMF: As a more general recommendation in that price range, the Drive de Cartier Extra-Flat in Steel is something in that $5-$10 window that has been on my mind a long time now…. HUGE value for a very attractive and slender dress watch with a Piaget-based caliber. At an entirely personal level, two vintage pieces have been on my radar for too long–a Cal 911 Omega Flightmaster, and a Heuer Autavia 11063 (the ’80s reference Pepsi GMT chronograph). These days it’ll take somewhere between $5-$10k to get one, which is depressing considering I remember the days of them being $2k or less…