Why We Mod #14: Angelo (@Modfather_Watches)
For the 14th edition of our long-running Why We Mod interview series, we talk to Angelo (@modfather_watches on IG) whose tagline "Mods you can't refuse!" seems perfect for his undeniably scroll-stopping and eye-catching mods that dare to go beyond the conservative.
Glen: Hi Angelo! Big Godfather fan? :) Tell us a bit more about the person behind Modfather Watches.
Angelo: Hello Glen! Thanks for having me featured in this episode of WWM. As an Italian-American, Yes, I LOVE the Godfather.
The funny thing is when I first decided I wanted to start doing mods, I was sitting in my grandmother’s house with my father trying to think of a clever name and The Godfather was on TV. And it hit me: THE MODFATHER! Seemed funny at the time but I did not realize it would take off the way it did.
I am an artist at heart and I have been drawing, painting, and creating things since I was a child. I graduated with a BFA in Fine Arts and started my own printing and graphics company in 2013.
Glen: Seeing as we’re approaching the end of 2022 - what watches did you purchase / build for yourself this year? Do share the highlights of your horological journey for 2022.
Angelo: Well, I did purchase my dream watch which was the Hulk, finally after 12 years, and I purchased one of the new Seiko SSKs as well as added another original Seiko 6105 to my vintage collection. I did not keep any of my builds, I try not to get attached to them.
Glen: In your personal opinion: What was your favorite watch modding “trend” of 2022? Conversely, what was something that you personally did not enjoy?
Angelo: My favorite I would have to say was the nautilus builds. It is such an iconic case that can be worn for both luxury and sport. What I tended to grow bored of were homage mods made to look exactly like the original. There just isn’t any creativity in that.
Glen: What got you into watch modding in the first place, and what do you love most about it?
Angelo: I have always loved watches and about 6 years ago I became very interested in learning how to repair them as a hobby and my very first project was a Seiko.
One day while searching Instagram, I came across a Seiko mod and I was like woahhh! This is like art on your wrist, this looks like something I would enjoy. What I love most about it, is that it combines both my passions for art and watchmaking.
Glen: I see that you’ve been doing commissioned watch builds for a while now. What’s your personal favorite build you’ve ever been commissioned to do for a customer?
Angelo: I do have many but if I had to choose one it would be my “Cool Runnings” mod which featured a cerakote bezel and custom laser cut dial with flat tritium tubes. It is the first of its kind.
Glen: You’ve also done quite a few mods themed after comic characters, not something a lot of modders do. Do you personally like these types of mods, and do you think they will become more mainstream?
Angelo: Personally I would not wear a themed watch. I’m more of a classic lover but superhero watches are becoming more popular, I personally believe they are already mainstream. With my builds I tried to capture the essence rather than make a literal interpretation.
Glen: What’s the creative process usually like when you do a commissioned build? Are clients specific about what they want, or do they give you creative freedom to design something special?
Angelo: I would say I get both; some clients want watches I already built because they like them the way they are, but as an artist, I have to try and convince them to change at least one aspect to it in order to make it unique to them.
However, most of my clients trust my design sense and they give me the freedom to roam. Sometimes it is just an idea or a vision and they know I can bring it to life even if they can’t picture it in their head themselves.
When you look at most of my builds you will see parts that you just can’t seem to find anywhere and that is because I altered it. I don’t want to use parts that anyone can purchase. Clients want things that no one else can get. I would say I am the perfect fit because again as a creator I want that part to be an expression of me.
Glen: Share your most memorable watch modding experience (whether it was for yourself or for a client) - good or bad, what is one incident that you can’t forget?
Angelo: My most memorable moment was when this one client lived local to me and he came to pick up his watch in person. When he came, he wanted to wear it so he handed me his watch to hold and I realized it was a rose gold Patek Aquanaut. I remember feeling like wow, why would someone who can afford such an expensive watch waste his time on one of my mods. I felt really proud.
Glen: How do you see the watch modding/building scene progressing in the next 3-5 years. Do you have any predictions?
Angelo: I see it advancing to another level for sure, in fact it already is. There a few name brands doing it and a few people modding luxury watches as well. I see more case styles becoming available which should be exciting. We will also see an uptick of micro brands popping up.
Glen: Are there any micro brands on your radar that are doing interesting stuff?
Angelo: I have had my eye on Draken for a while very new and refreshing design elements are used on their models.
Glen: What is one watch modding product/part that you would love to see, but isn’t currently on the market?
Angelo: What I would like to see more of and currently trying to bring back into modding is cerakote on case and case parts. This was very popular a few years ago when modding first started to get big but seemed to have died out as I don’t see any examples anymore.
I would also like to see real indice sapphire dials produced. I have made a few myself. They are starting to become popular after Artisans de Geneve started doing it on the Daytonas.
Glen: Yea - I think back then, there weren’t so many different colour options for cases, so people had to go the cerakote route if they were looking for a specific colour.
Glen: Besides Seiko - what are other watch brands that you admire / aspire to own?
Angelo: I personally Love Seiko, Casio, Rolex, Omega, and AP. I believe all of these brands are innovators that have given something to the watch world that will last forever. I also admire vintage military watches and I have quite the collection of them as well.
Glen: Why do you mod? In other words, what do you think drives this desire to modify/build your own watch?
Angelo: I mod because just like art, it is another venue for expression. Not just for me but for anyone who commissions me for a build. It is what makes us human and I enjoy being a facilitator.
Glen: Do you have any other hobbies that involve tinkering/building?
Angelo: Yes. Every now and then I will buy an old vintage motorcycle and restore/fabricate it.
Glen: That’s awesome - would love to see pics of a bike that you’ve restored if possible.
Glen: Finally - plug yourself. Socials, services, etc.
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I can offer Seiko mods, Casio mods, fully built custom watches, personal branding, custom made dials of any kind, custom straps, and beyond. My motto is if you can dream it, I can build it.