A Conversation with YouTube's Watch Expert Nico Leonard (2024)

A Conversation with YouTube's Watch Expert Nico Leonard (1)

What was the last watch you bought?

The last watch I bought was a Grönefeld Grönograaf. For transparency, I don’t even get it until 2024, but I’ve secured it so that’s technically the last one I bought. It’s a unique concept for a chronograph, it’s insane. Grönefeld is an independent watch brand; they’re two brothers from the Netherlands who come from several generations of watchmakers. As soon as I saw the watch, I fell in love with it. It’s a watch that is in extremely high demand and I didn’t think it would be possible to get one.

A Conversation with YouTube's Watch Expert Nico Leonard (2)

There are two versions of this watch, one in tantalum (limited to 25 pieces) and one in stainless steel (limited to 188 pieces). I’m getting the tantalum one and I’m extremely proud. It means a lot to me as a Dutch-born man, as I’ve always been obsessed with watches and now I have one from the country of my birth and where my parents are from. This connection means a lot and it’ll be a watch that will forever be in my collection, which I can hand down to my son, so he can always remember where he’s from.

Do you collect anything outside of watches?

I also collect watch books, watch catalogues and watch magazines. The cool thing about watch catalogues is that you can really see how a brand is developing their design and themselves. I enjoy digging through the history. Next to that, I collect caps. Selling watches, I have the pleasure of travelling the world and through that I began collecting caps. I don’t wear the caps to be completely honest, but it’s nice to have them.

For example, if I’m in New York, I get a Yankees hat. If I’m in Monaco, it’s the Monte Carlo Casino. I get them, but I don’t wear them. It’s a bit weird really [laughs]. I also collect sunglasses, particularly Cartier. I think I have about 50 pairs of sunglasses, which started about two years ago. Born out of the fact I’d always lose them, I decided to get a few and it grew from there.

What’s at the top of your wishlist?

A Conversation with YouTube's Watch Expert Nico Leonard (3)

Watch-related, it’s the Vacheron Constantin Overseas in pink-gold ultra-thin skeleton tourbillon ref. 6000. That watch is absolutely beautiful. It features a 42.5mm case on one of the nicest executions of a skeleton tourbillon in my life. It’s spectacular. Outside of watches, I’ve always been obsessed with mechanical parts from watches to cars. I’d really love a vintage American car – restored, so I can actually drive it. I love the sound of a big American V8. I would love to have an old-school Mustang. I think there’s so much emotion in vintage cars.

What is a recent find or discovery?

Behrens is a Chinese watch manufacturer. There’s less of a reputation in Chinese watchmaking compared to other countries, but we must not ignore Behrens. I discovered them through the collaboration they did with Russian watchmaker, Konstantin Chaykin. I love how Chaykin thinks and approaches watchmaking. He teaches us to have fun again and make people smile. Chaykin can only produce a certain amount of watches a year, but he has found an alternative way to meet demand and not disappoint consumers by partnering with Behrens.

The watch industry is fighting for people’s wrists, and to get that brand on them. Instead of disappointing people with a long waitlist, he found a method to share the story of his watches more widely. In both cases, this is extremely beneficial, as Chaykin’s name is now on more people’s wrists than before, while Behrens can show everyone what they’re about. It’s a daring and unusual collaboration, but a very smart one. I’d love to see that more in the industry.

What inspires you?

A Conversation with YouTube's Watch Expert Nico Leonard (4)

Nature and history inspires me. And successful people. People that fought adversities and fought the odds to get where they are today. Success could be seen as monetary success or varied other forms of success, but forget about the money part – being able to make a change and make a difference in the world inspires me massively. Being surrounded by people like that massively helps me.

I want to be the least successful person in the room so I can be inspired and learn from others. I get to push myself by being the guy that looks up to people; that motivates me. Also seeing my partner work as hard as she does is very inspiring, looking after our family while I’m away working to build everything. My son inspires me. He’s changed me. I was told that I would never do as well in business as when I got my wee man, because he is my reminder that life is not about me and f*cking about is not an option any more. He gives me that extra motivation in what I do.

What is a book, podcast or album that changed the way you think?

Regarding entrepreneurship, starting my own company from the ground up and hosting a YouTube platform – all of this comes with hard insecurities and tough challenges. I am not immune to insecurities so finding ways to combat that has come from a book called Willpower Doesn’t Work. The premise of the book is to control the environment that you’re in. If you want something so bad, you’ll work harder and make it happen, but it’s also massively important to consider your circle around you.

That rubs off on you. Outliers by Malcom Gladwell had an impact on me too, considering why some people succeed far more than others. As podcasts go, I love storytelling. That’s why I love watches so much and wear a certain one, whether it’s a personal one to me or a historic one. Business Wars Daily is a podcast that tells stories of entrepreneurship, or the conflict between brands like Nike and Adidas, or Apple and Microsoft. Listening to it gives me a lot of energy and vision.

A Conversation with YouTube's Watch Expert Nico Leonard (5)

Who is a celebrity or person of note that you admire?

I admire so many people. I’m very fortunate and very grateful that I work in a luxury industry because you get in touch with a lot of high-performing individuals. I like to surround myself with these people because I’ll always be the dumbest one in the room and that encourages me to push myself and rise to the next level. It helps me as an entrepreneur, a man and as a father. He’ll follow my example, not my advice, whether that’s overcoming adversity or not giving up. Matthew McConaughey said this thing one time in an award ceremony that he’s inspired by the person he’s going to be in 10 years. That had a massive impact on me, I want to chase that person and make a difference.

What is your ideal long weekend?

This has changed for me in recent years. I do love what I do, but for more than half the year I’m travelling. I’m not complaining as I’m so grateful for my position, but my ideal weekend right now is being at home with my family. I also love nature, being among the forest, hiking, and finding a small cabin in the middle of nowhere to relax. No signal. No phone. Just getting back to me and my family.

What would we always find in your fridge?

Every moment in time, everywhere I go, in every single fridge there’s always cheese. Cheese and milk. I’ve not forgotten my Dutch roots. I love cheese. Cheese is the best and the nicest thing in the world!

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What is a rule or mantra that you live by?

For me, the words “adding value” are massively important. I use those words all the time. I am convinced that when you do good, you get good back. I live by one rule, which is adding value to three people’s lives every day. This could be three strangers, but it’s important. You can make someone smile, someone laugh, give a compliment. It doesn’t hurt to do any of that and it’s got nothing to do with money or success.

What does the year ahead look like for you?

This year has already been one of the craziest and most successful years of my life. I became a father, firstly. And, I’m very happy to share that this year will also mark the birth of my second child… wild. So for my family, 2023 means a lot. Business wise, 2023 looks very intensive and challenging, but I’m very hopeful. It’s a year where we’re working on the brand equity of Pride & Pinion and building the team. We’re investing in our infrastructure and want to be authorised dealers of many watch brands, while adding value to the industry. I’m going to see parts of the world I’ve never seen before like Australia and China. I can’t wait to just push myself and look back with my team and think about how we got here.

Watch Nico’s YouTube here.

A Conversation with YouTube's Watch Expert Nico Leonard (2024)


Is Nico Leonard a watch expert? ›

A student of the fine art of watchmaking since his teens, while the rest of us were assembling Lego, Nico Leonard was deciphering the mainspring from the hairspring, and every watch complication in between.

Where does Nico Leonard work? ›

Amongst other businesses, Leonard founded and owns luxury watch boutique Pride and Pinion, headquartered in Belfast, the capital and biggest city of Northern Ireland (UK).

How to become a watch expert? ›

Most people who enter the field of horology do so because of a passion and dedication to watches. That passion and dedication must translate into intensive training that provides technical knowledge and hands-on experience in the form of either: Watchmaking school. Apprenticeship.

Who owns Pride and Pinion? ›

Founded in 2017 as Watches NI by Nico Leonard, Pride & Pinion has been buying, selling and sourcing some of the worlds most luxurious watches since the start.

How much is Pride and Pinion worth? ›

Key Financials
Net Worth£1,589.00£184,125.00
Total Current Assets£758,165.00£422,821.00
Total Current Liabilities£156,576.00£240,786.00

How much does a Rolex watchmaker make? ›

Rolex Certified Watchmaker Salary
Annual SalaryHourly Wage
Top Earners$83,500$40
75th Percentile$59,000$28
25th Percentile$47,500$23

How long is watchmaking school? ›

Watchmaking school typically takes up to two years to complete, although it can depend on the institution you attend and the program you select. There are several schools to choose from domestically, as well as technical schools abroad, where you can enroll.

Does watchmaking pay well? ›

As of May 14, 2024, the average hourly pay for a Luxury Watchmaker in the United States is $27.44 an hour.

Why do watch experts love Casio? ›

Another reason why Casio watches are so loved is that they are accurate. Casio watches use quartz watch movements, which are the most accurate type of watch movement available.

What rank is Fossil watches? ›

Fossil, which ranks fourth in our selected watch-wear ranking, is particularly known for its stylish and functional watches. In Q4 2022, the brand generated $10.2M in MIV® across 5.6K placements with a growth of 9% in comparison to Q3 2022.

Where does Frédérique Constant rank? ›

In 2015 Le temps, a famous Swiss magazine, ranked Frederique Constant 5th place in the Haute de Gamme Swiss luxury watches segment, coming after Tudor.

What does your watch type say about you? ›

If you wear a traditional watch, you likely value reliability and understated elegance, and you may be seen as someone who is dependable and grounded. Luxury watches, such as those from Audemars Piguet, Richard Mille, or Jaeger-LeCoultre, are a clear symbol of success and ambition.

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