We love watches and we love good people. Lately we’ve been wearing our Sea Rangers made by our friend Andrew Perez, founder of Astor and Banks. We hope you enjoy his interview and get a glimpse behind his brand.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Anaheim, CA and lived there until I was 13 then moved to the Chicago. I have also lived in Germany and Louisiana during my Military service. Whats your background and how has the places you come from impacted you? I'm 1st generation Mexican-American. There have been so many experiences throughout my life in all the different places i've lived. Mainly being exposed to different cultures and being able to relate to others that are not like me has impacted my life greatly. I love learning about different cultures and the traditions they grew up with. Being able to experience some of those things allow me to appreciate people and where they come from.
What continues to inspire you about the place(s) you come from?
Those memories continue to inspire to learn more and to always keep an open mind.
In a couple short sentences, what did your journey into watch making look like and how did you end up with Astor and Banks? Like many it started with buying my first watch back in 2002 and curiosity got the best of me and went down the rabbit whole. I was more curious than many and decided to start making watches in 2012 and haven't looked back. It's something I never get tired of and feel lucky to have found the world of watches.
Where did the name Astor and Banks come from?
These are street corners in Chicago's famous Gold Coast neighborhood where I lived when I started A+B.
First watch ever? Favorite watch ever? First watch I bought was a 70's inspired Diesel watch on a bund strap! Still have this watch. Favorite watch ever? No way I can answer that question! There are too many great watches out there but I love military style watches the most.
How do you keep up the hustle, professionally and personally?
I am always thinking of something and trying to figure out how to make it happen is a great challenge but a big part of it as all the amazing messages I receieve when someone receives their watch from me. It means a lot and is proof that we are doing some right so thank you guys! Personally I just want my family to be proud so working hard to make that happen keeps me going.
What gets you into a creative flow?
Talking watches with friends and peers usually gets my brain going with new designs. Music is a big part of my life as well so I am alwasy listening to something and that typically helps me focus and puts me in great mood.
Whiskey, Vodka, Mezcal, Tequila, or other?
All of them lol but currently I am enjoying wine and like to treat myself to a nice glass of Don Julio 1942.
What does life look like for you when you're not on the road? Do you love to travel?
I haven't been traveling much for pleausre as now with 2 kids at home that is what is keeping us busy but when they get older it will be something we do more. Our next trip will hopefully be next year for my 10 year wedding anniversary and hoping to get to South America.
Any hobbies outside of watches?
I love anything that has to do with design but currently I am buying too many sneakers and jackets. Anything from Nike to some NOS German Army Trainers on the shoe side and current favorite is Epaulet's sashiko coats. As mentioned above I love music so I am always looking for something new.
Humor us, what's the funniest moment you can remember in life?
Oh man so many but many memories from bootcamp. This is kind of long but during bootcamp you do something called firewatch which means someone is up every hour in case there is a situation. One day we had a few guys who were doing something they were not supposed to like buying a powerade out of the machine, another stealing cookies from the chow hall (we were not allowed to eat sweets or drink anything other than water or milk) and we had to watch another person sleep every hour. Needless to say we had a few days where someone was on firewatch, another person watching the powerade machine, another person watching a ziplock bag of cookies, and another person watching another soldier sleep..every hour on the hour so no sleep lol It wasn't funny at the time but it's one of my favorite stories and makes me lol everytime
What does "A Life of Wonder" mean to you? How do you interpret that?
A life of Wonder to me means that I should always be curious and make the best of what life has to offer. So learn something new, listen to somethign new, do something new...
Any solid music or movie / documentary/ book recommendations?
My current playlist consist of The Strokes new album, Polo and Pan Caravelle (Deluxe) album and especially the track titled Naña, Black Pumas, and Los Hermanos album tiled Ventura which is a Brazilian rock band
Last thing, what's one apparel or fashion accessory you can't leave the house without?
Nowadays it's a hat and I haven't taken off my P&T hat since I got it!