OUT­LAW CON­NOIS­SEUR

An­to­nio Jaramillo, who co-stars on FX’S mo­tor­cy­cle club drama “Mayans MC,” went from sell­ing watches at Tif­fany & Co. to act­ing in stage plays, TV and movies. But the Mex­i­can-born ac­tor has con­tin­ued his pur­suit of horo­log­i­cal knowl­edge while as­sem­bling a

WatchTime - - Outlaw Connoisseur - — by Mark Bernardo — — Pho­tos by Adam Eldeib, Su­perla­tive Co. — — Styling by Brandi Mas­corro for Maven Artists Agency us­ing Paci­fica Beauty —

— MB: e bi­og­ra­phy on your web­site starts off with “An­to­nio didn’t know he’d be­come an ac­tor.” How does one go from a Mex­i­can or­phan­age to de­vel­op­ing the in­ter­est in the arts that led you to act­ing?

AJ: My brother and I grew up in an or­phan­age in Mex­ico, while my sis­ter stayed with my mom in San Diego, where most of my fam­ily was. Even­tu­ally I came to stay with rel­a­tives in Cal­i­for­nia while I went to ju­nior high and high school. Af­ter high school, I worked in the restau­rant in­dus­try, where I dis­cov­ered the theatre. I didn’t know it would be a pro­fes­sion or a ca­reer; at the time, it was just more like ther­apy. But one [act­ing] job led to an­other job, and peo­ple kept re­spond­ing to my work in a very pos­i­tive way. In 2004, when I was liv­ing in Or­ange County and work­ing at a Mor­ton’s Steak­house, I was of­fered a job at the Gef­fen Play­house in Los An­ge­les. e very next day I quit both restau­rant jobs. I de­cided, if I’ve been given this op­por­tu­nity, I have to let it take me where’s it go­ing to take me. at’s when I said, “No more restau­rants,” but I still needed a reg­u­lar in­come. Which brings me to the pe­riod when I was work­ing in a store sell­ing watches.

MB: Let’s talk about that. How did you end up with a job in watch re­tail­ing and how did it lead you to a bet­ter ap­pre­ci­a­tion of fine watches?

AJ: It’s kind of a crazy thing. I’ve al­ways been knowl­edge-hun­gry, and I like to read about what’s hap­pen­ing around the world; as an ac­tor, I feel it’s part of my job to in­ves­ti­gate hu­man be­hav­ior and to learn about other cul­tures. So, to make a long story short, in the early ’90s, be­fore your mag­a­zine started, I went to a Tower Records and found my­self look­ing at the racks of mag­a­zines, and saw a mag­a­zine called “In­ter­na­tional Watch,” which I thought was about in­ter­na­tional news. I started thumb­ing through the pages and all I see are pic­tures of watches! I put it back on the shelf be­cause I didn’t un­der­stand it. A few weeks later, I was still won­der­ing about who would read a mag­a­zine with just watches in it, so I went back to the Tower Records to look for it.

MB: So that’s how you dis­cov­ered watch mag­a­zines. Did you even­tu­ally un­der­stand the ap­peal of this sub­ject?

AJ: At first I was sur­prised that any­body would read this stuff, but I was in­trigued, so I just kept read­ing and found that there’s so much his­tory be­hind com­pa­nies like Blanc­pain, Glashütte Orig­i­nal and Breguet; some of these com­pa­nies were around when Napoleon was alive! I just started ab­sorb­ing the his­tory of watches – from the early 1900s when it was just wealthy peo­ple who could af­ford a watch, to the 1970s, when the Ja­panese com­pa­nies like Cit­i­zen and Seiko killed the Swiss and Ger­man watch­mak­ing in­dus­try and made watches ac­ces­si­ble to every­one with their $20 plas­tic pieces. I found it all fas­ci­nat­ing. So now that I had all this knowl­edge, what was I go­ing to do with it? I went to Tif­fany & Co. and they were hir­ing for the hol­i­days, so I went in for an in­ter­view. ey hired me, and I started sell­ing brands like Blanc­pain, Glashütte, Longines, Mau­rice Lacroix, Tis­sot and Hamil­ton. I was a young kid, but peo­ple were buy­ing from me and the owner no­ticed. I guess cus­tomers could just sense my en­thu­si­asm. For a while I thought that my ca­reer was go­ing to be de­cided be­tween the watch in­dus­try and the arts, but then the arts got a hold of me, so here we are.

MB: Were you into watches at all be­fore that ex­pe­ri­ence? Did you wear a watch or know much of any­thing at all?

AJ: No. ere weren’t a lot of high-end stores in San Diego at the time, so there wasn’t a lot of ac­cess to those types of watches; you had to go to New York or Bev­erly Hills. But I started sav­ing money, and my first watch was an Omega Speedmaster, which I loved. en I just started buy­ing more. A watch will out­last a home or a car; it’s a ma­jor piece of his­tory. If you take care of a watch it can go from you to your son and grand­sons.

MB: Speak­ing of con­tin­u­ing his­tory, your first ma­jor TV se­ries role is on FX’S “Mayans MC,” a se­quel to its pop­u­lar mo­tor­cy­cle club drama, “Sons of An­ar­chy.” How will this show be dif­fer­ent from the orig­i­nal and how does your char­ac­ter fit in?

AJ: It’s a con­tin­u­a­tion of the saga that [“SOA” and “Mayans MC” cre­ator] Kurt Sut­ter cre­ated, turn­ing the fo­cus to an­other mo­tor­cy­cle club that was in­ter­twined with the Sons of An­ar­chy. ere are mo­tor­cy­cles, there are out­laws, it’s su­per cool, and I think the peo­ple who loved “Sons” are go­ing to love “Mayans MC.” It’s a lit­tle dif­fer­ent be­cause it’s about a Latin mo­tor­cy­cle club, with a 95 per­cent His­panic cast, but it has that same out­law men­tal­ity – out­casts try­ing to as­sim­i­late to a so­ci­ety, try­ing to find their place in the world.

MB: Sut­ter is known to have a very sin­gu­lar creative vi­sion. How much in­put did you have in de­vel­op­ing your char­ac­ter with him?

AJ: Ini­tially there’s a meet­ing with Kurt where he tells you what his vi­sion is, and you share your thoughts on the char­ac­ter, and then they come to­gether, and he makes the fi­nal call. We ac­tu­ally

had to reshoot the pi­lot, with five or six dif­fer­ent roles re­cast from the first one that didn’t quite work, and lots of de­tails changed, in­clud­ing my char­ac­ter’s role within the club, and ac­tu­ally many things con­tinue to change be­cause oth­ers’ ideas are brought in. It’s go­ing to take time, just like it did with “Sons of An­ar­chy,” for a lot of the char­ac­ters to de­velop, so we’ll see what hap­pens.

MB: You’ve built a pretty eclec­tic watch col­lec­tion. Let’s start with the Bell & Ross. Do you re­mem­ber what turned you on to that brand and that model?

AJ: I liked the sim­plic­ity of it, the mil­i­tary avi­a­tion style. I like the big Ara­bic nu­mer­als and the fact that it works well as an every­day watch. It’s a good com­pany that I re­mem­ber fol­low­ing since the late ’90s, when it started out mak­ing some quartz watches and some me­chan­i­cals. It’s great that it’s be­come so suc­cess­ful.

MB: This vin­tage Heuer chrono­graph is rather spe­cial, right?

AJ: Yes, it’s a re-edi­tion of an orig­i­nal Heuer Car­rera with a Le­ma­nia move­ment. The first one came out in 1964, and the com­pany did this com­mem­o­ra­tive ver­sion 25 years later. I’m a sucker for a pretty face and I loved that Cham­pagne dial as soon as I saw it. I bought that one at Ben Bridge Jewel­ers, which ac­tu­ally let me put it on lay­away at the time be­cause I didn’t have much money back then. ey weren’t sup­posed to, but the lady I bought it from saw how en­thu­si­as­tic I was about it, so she gave me 30 days to pay it off! Of course, Heuer be­came TAG Heuer in the 1980s and stopped us­ing that old logo. At the time, the Link was TAG Heuer’s biggest model; ev­ery­body seemed to have one at the time. But the brand res­ur­rected that Heuer logo for this model. I thought it was a won­der­ful way for the com­pany to honor its past.

MB: You’ve de­scribed your Ulysse Nardin Ma­rine Chronome­ter as one of your fa­vorites. Could you tell me how you dis­cov­ered it and why this par­tic­u­lar model ap­peals to you?

AJ: It is my fa­vorite, and Ulysse Nardin is one of my fa­vorite brands. I like sim­plic­ity and func­tion­al­ity, and when I saw this watch, with the big Ara­bic num­bers and that clean, yel­low dial, I had to spe­cial or­der it. I was go­ing to buy a dif­fer­ent model with a moon-phase, but when the sales­per­son showed me this yel­low-di­aled ver­sion in the cat­a­log – and told me that there weren’t that many of them made, maybe 100, and that she could get me one but it would take some time – I jumped at it. at was maybe 18 years ago. I like

that it’s a watch you can ei­ther dress up or go ca­sual with, and I like that Ulysse Nardin “look” that re­minds you of yachts and the ocean.

MB: In ad­di­tion to sim­ple di­als with big nu­mer­als here, there seem to be quite a few chrono­graphs in your col­lec­tion. Are you a fan of that com­pli­ca­tion in par­tic­u­lar?

AJ: I do like chrono­graphs even though I never use the func­tion. I am a fan of the Ger­man com­pany Jung­hans, and par­tic­u­larly this blue-di­aled model, the Meis­ter Chrono­scope, which looks tremen­dous. I think I bought it the same day I saw it in a mag­a­zine. I was in Ge­or­gia at the time, work­ing on a show called “Meet the Browns” with Tyler Perry, and I found a dealer that car­ried it, and had one left of the model I wanted, with this blue dial. I called the dealer and asked if they could hold it for me un­til the next day. ey agreed, so that watch came home with me from Ge­or­gia.

MB: Has your grow­ing watch con­nois­seur­ship found its way into your roles? Have you ever been able to choose your char­ac­ter’s watch, or made sug­ges­tions about what that char­ac­ter would wear?

AJ: I do, but it’s very lim­ited be­cause some­times on a set they use knock-offs, un­less it’s a big­bud­get movie, in which there’s prod­uct place­ment. On many [smaller bud­get] pro­jects, they want to use Rolexes, Cartiers, Bre­itlings, maybe Omegas, but they can only get knock-offs, which I don’t like to wear be­cause then I’m sup­port­ing that in­dus­try. So in those cases I tell them, “No watch,” or I wear my own. I have been in some big-bud­get movies, but the pro­duc­ers don’t use me for prod­uct place­ment – they’ll use Salma Hayek or Jen­nifer Lopez or Beni­cio del Toro, and they’ll give me a Timex [laughs].

For a while I thought my ca­reer would be in ei­ther the watch in­dus­try or the arts.

An­to­nio Jaramillo

MB: Does your char­ac­ter in “Mayans MC,” Michael “Riz” Ariza, wear a watch?

AJ: I was sup­posed to, but the one they gave me wasn’t re­ally right; it was a lit­tle too gaudy. Plus, I wear a lot of rings and other ac­ces­sories in that role, so the watch seemed to be too much. I do wear some of my watches on set, and the other cast mem­bers are al­ways say­ing, “Let me see your watch!” be­cause they don’t know much about watches. ey know Rolex and Cartier, maybe Aude­mars Piguet and Hublot be­cause all the bas­ket­ball play­ers wear those, but they see mine and ask, “What the hell is a Ulysse?”

MB: I know you read Watchtime, and you’re con­tin­u­ally seek­ing watch knowl­edge. Are there any pieces out there now that you’re feel­ing the need to add to your col­lec­tion?

AJ: I like a lot of them, but I have to dis­tance my­self be­cause de­spite be­ing very for­tu­nate with my ca­reer in this in­dus­try, the fact that I grew up in an or­phan­age hasn’t left me. I can’t bring my­self to spend huge sums on such things be­cause I feel guilty know­ing that there are chil­dren with­out ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties, like food, water and med­i­ca­tion. I have a cap: if it’s more than $7,500, I walk away, even though I know some watches are worth it, like those beau­ti­ful Breguets, and col­lec­tors’ items like IWC’S Pi­lot Watches with eight-day power re­serves and Jaeger-lecoul­tre’s Me­movox alarm watches. I can buy them used, but I’m al­ways cau­tious to do that be­cause I like to go to the au­tho­rized deal­ers rather than get­ting them on­line from some guy whose face I never even see.

MB: Any other watches or brands that you’d like our read­ers to know you own or ap­pre­ci­ate?

AJ: I like Chronoswiss, es­pe­cially the jump-hour watches they do. I like Gra­ham watches; they’re a lit­tle bulky for my wrist, but I think they look pretty cool with that lever de­sign. As far as ladies’ watches, I love Blanc­pain’s mother-of-pearl di­als, and Chopard’s de­signs are re­ally beau­ti­ful. Re­ally, if I didn’t have chil­dren I would prob­a­bly spend a lot more money on watches. —

An­to­nio Jaramillo de­vel­oped an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for fine watches while sell­ing them at Tif­fany & Co.

Two of Jaramillo’s fa­vorites: a yel­low­di­aled Ulysse Nardin Ma­rine (far left) and a com­mem­o­ra­tive, Cham­pagne-di­aled Heuer Car­rera

Jaramillo por­trays a mem­ber of an out­law mo­tor­cy­cle club on “Mayans MC.”Jaramillo’s col­lec­tion in­cludes both three­hand au­to­mat­ics and chrono­graphs.

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