Why We Mod #008: JP (@jp_wristshop)
In our eighth edition of Why We Mod, we gain insights from the US-based photographer/watch modder - JP (@jp_wristshop on Instagram). His well-composed content and mods are enjoyed by thousands, and now, we will know more about the man behind the lens.
Glen: Hi JP! For people who aren’t familiar with who you are - please introduce yourself :)
JP: Hi, my name is JP and I’m a full time photographer and a part time watch modder, serving in New York City, US.
Glen: What’s the first watch you can remember that made an impact on you? It doesn’t have to be a watch that you’ve owned, just the first watch that piqued your interest in watches.
JP: To be honest, I wasn’t into watches until I got myself one. I do not remember why, but one day, I’ve just decided to get myself a Rolex! All I knew about Rolex at that point was it is a high-end brand and I did not even know what model is popular or anything.
Luckily I ended up getting a Submariner and I became curious why people would pay a sum of money for it.
So out of curiosity, I studied the history of watches and became fascinated by it since!
The watch that brought many to the hobby - the Rolex Submariner (Source: Rolex.com)
Glen: How did you get into watch modding, and what do you love or enjoy most about the hobby?
JP: I got into modding because of the legendary SKX007! Back when I was just collecting watches, I’ve added the SKX007 and SKX009 to my collection.
I loved the watches but just like many of you, I wanted to upgrade the crystal and the movement. So that’s how I started modding.
The Seiko SKX007 is the 'most moddable' watch out there, making it an obvious choice for a first mod. (Source: jp_wristshop on IG)
Glen: You take great photos -- What’s your set up like for anyone who’s curious? Do you have any tips for aspiring watch photographers? These things aren’t the easiest to shoot.
JP: True to that! Watches aren’t easy to photograph for sure. As I’ve said in the introduction, I am a full time photographer and to be specific, I’ve worked as a wedding photographer for more than a decade. And although weddings and watches don’t seem related, I’ve spent the last decade shooting photos of rings, shoes, earrings and watches!
Each shot of each mod is carefully composed before it is posted online. (Source: jp_wristshop on IG)
Now back to my set up, I mostly shoot watches using natural light. I used to shoot them using artificial light but I prefer natural light photos. I use the light coming from a window and use the blinds to give it some direction.
Glen: I’m sure you’ve lost count of how many watches you’ve built, but if you had to pick out a favorite build (for yourself, or as a commissioned build), what would it be and why?
JP: IRON MAN! I built it some weeks ago and took months planning. You know how there are many watches sporting names of superheroes but there isn’t one named after Iron Man? As a fan, I wanted to make one and when I saw the dial of the Ken from the Street Series from Seiko. I was like this is it!
There are plenty of Batman mods and Hulk mods, but Iron Man mods are a rare and welcome build. (Source: jp_wristshop on IG)
Glen: There are more and more “commissioned watch modders” entering the market. What’s your unique selling point?
JP: Well, I consider myself as one who is just entering the market, since I only started to offer my service last year. I don’t know if this would be my selling point but I try my best to be transparent.
I do believe transparency is the key regardless which business you’re in.
Glen: What kind of aesthetic/style do you try to go for when designing a watch for yourself? Does your own style influence the way you modify a watch for clients, or do you just execute on whatever design they want?
JP: When I design mine, I usually have a reference watch and make my own twist on it. When I make watches for my client, I usually let the client decide everything, but I will step in sometimes to advise.
Glen: What kind of situation would you step in to advise on the client’s design? Are they usually receptive to it?
JP: I usually step in when they choose too many colors. I try to keep the colors I use under three because beyond that, it’s hard to find the balance between them and the watch looks messy to me. And yes, my customers are always receptive.
With so many options, it is easy to clutter up a build. Consistency and balance makes for a good mod. (Source: jp_wristshop on IG)
Glen: What’s your favorite product that we sell on our website and why?
JP: Cases! I love how you guys are coming out with new cases. I’m a big fan of your 62mas and sub cases.
A modern rendition of the classic 62MAS diver watch. (Source: jp_wristshop on IG)
Glen: Nice - Are there any case designs on your wishlist that aren’t currently on the market?
JP: Hmm, I’d love to see some DateJust with fluted bezel cases.
Glen: Do you have a "grail watch" - and if you do, what is it?
JP: Yes, AP Royal Oak!
Glen: A desirable watch! What about it makes it your pick?
JP: First, it is designed by the Great Gerald Genta. I also like the fact that the watch is not round, breaking the traditional rule that watches have to have round corners. Also cannot forget the bracelet, so unique and beautiful!
Strong industrial vibes emanate from the sharply defined contours of the Audemars Piget Royal Oak. (Source: Fifth Wrist)
Glen: Besides watch modding/building, do you have any other hobbies that are hands on/involve tinkering?
JP: No, not at the moment
Glen: Should modding become lucrative enough for you, would you consider becoming a full-time modder?
JP: It is already almost full-time for me, and I love it!
Glen: If you had to answer the question “Why do you mod”, what would your answer be?
JP: I mod, because it’s one of the great ways to enjoy watches.
Thank you JP for your time and for letting us know more about you!
For commissioned builds and other business, you can reach out to JP at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out his hundreds of other mods at https://www.instagram.com/jp_wristshop/
Watch his sizzle reel for his Iron Man mod at https://youtu.be/lcgkYJrYQ7M
If you'd like to be featured in this series, just drop us an email at email@example.com to indicate your interest.
Happy modding, modfam!