My Three-Watch Wardrobe: Facebook’s AR Guru Mr Matt Jacobson

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My Three-Watch Wardrobe: Facebook’s AR Guru Mr Matt Jacobson

Words by Mr Alex Doak

28 May 2021

After Mr Mark Zuckerberg, Mr Matt Jacobson is Facebook’s longest-serving staffer. He was Zuck’s eighth hire back in 2005. Most would have cashed in their microchips by now, but as the creative director for augmented reality products at the digital behemoth, one of many senior roles he has filled over the years, Jacobson thrives on nurturing partnerships with influential brands and people. It’s why he was a natural fit for the MR PORTER Style Council. Away from the corporate race, he has also taken on West Coast surf brand Birdwell with some friends, whose board shorts’ famed indestructibility he has relied on all his surfing life. It’s a labour-of-love, custodial approach that extends to his watch collection.

“I have been a watch collector since college,” he says on our Zoom call, the 8.00am sun pouring in to his open-plan Hawaiian beach house, vintage military binoculars in the background trained on the waves he’ll be riding later. “But I have always committed myself to the same one-in, one-out policy I apply to sneakers and clothing.” We asked him to pick out three watches, which, if budget and his own rigorous rules permitted, he’d add to his collection. As it is, he insists on owning no more than a dozen at any one time.

Jacobson’s self-imposed 12-watch limit may seem restrained for a collector, albeit excessive for a “civilian”, but, as he says, it keeps things tight. “Whether it’s my A-series Audemars Piguet Royal Oak or tropical-dial patent-pending Rolex Sea-Dweller, it ensures a solid collection of what I genuinely like across the whole watch spectrum. If there’s something I want, it has to be better than something I already have. There’s no grail watch, though. It’s never good chasing that thing.” Unless it’s a wave, of course. Let’s dive in.

“Even though it’s the cheapest watch on my list, I’m choosing this as my dressier option. In the slate-grey dial, it’s just super-clean and composed – perfect with a suit. The Horween shell cordovan strap is a winner for me, too, because I love the soft leather. It brings back memories of the preppy men’s store I worked at during college. We were all shell cordovan goofy. I still have my pair of Alden shell cordovan penny loafers that I bought in college.”

“This revival of IWC’s cult black ceramic chrono from 1994 [now cased in the brand’s Ceratanium titanium-ceramic composite] is such a cool statement piece. It reminds me of the Porsche Design stuff they did in the 1980s, in black PVD coating, then titanium. There was a moment in the late 1970s when Ralph Lauren did luggage with Tumi. It was a black ballistic nylon shell and lined with black glove leather, rather than vice versa, inspired by the Porsche Turbo. That brutal aesthetic and materials-forward approach seems to be echoed by this watch.”

“This watch’s lugs alone are awesome. They mirror the sporty, crenellated bezel nicely. In fact, if I’m gonna choose to buy a current-catalogue, rather than vintage, watch, Vacheron Constantin would probably be my first port of call because it’s still under the radar. You could wear any of them and no one would really notice what it was, beyond simply a nice gold watch. If you know, you know.”

Third time’s a charm