Brandon’s one of the big personalities of the Instagram watch fam, with a revolving collection and crisp photography. He’s one of the guys behind Head2HeadCopycat and calls Texas home. Hook ’em horns!
NAME: Brandon Zabodyn
OCCUPATION: Commercial Banker
LOCATION: Texas, USA
Tell us about yourself.
I’m Texas born and raised. I’m married to my high school sweetheart, Jenna, and have two kids, Dayton and Mallory, who pop up on the feed every now and then. We both graduated from the University of Texas and love our Longhorns. I’ve been in banking for around 14 years but recently took a brief break to help the family business (scrap metal recycling) during an expansion.
I’ve always had a love for watches, going back to my days as a teenager, when I’d see the “successful” guys around town with gold Presidents and Submariners and such. In small-town Texas, there’s Rolex (you know, the only watch that doesn’t “tick”), then there’s everything else. When I was 16 I saved up for my first G-Shock, and then it was stolen several months later. As funny as it is, that actually sparked it for me. The first “real” watch I bought myself (after I got my first bonus at my first job out of college, in 2004) was a Tag Heuer Carrera Chronograph; I bought a Bond Seamaster 300 shortly after that and then the snowball started rolling down the hill to what you see on Instagram today.
How do you unwind?
When I can, I love to play golf. We moved out to a new house we built next to a golf course like seven or eight years ago, and I’ve played less golf since than before – probably has as much to do with having two small kids though. I love playing baseball with my son and coaching his teams – baseball was always my sport growing up, so I love seeing him develop and he’s actually much better than I was at his age.
What’s your daily watch and why?
The perfect daily watch, the Apple Watch – ha, yeah right! It’s hard to really call any watch I own my daily watch, as you can see from my feed – I rarely if ever wear the same watch two days in a row and most days I will switch watch from day to evening, depending on what I’m doing.
Out of my collection the ones that get the most wrist time are probably my Rolex GMT Master BLNR and my Rolex Submariner 16800 matte dial from 1980 – one vintage, one modern. These are my two “forever keeper” watches. That’s not something I say lightly. I bought my first vintage Rolex, the 16800 Sub, around five years ago – it’s close to a birth year watch for me. The BLNR was the first Rolex I bought brand new, with my name on the paperwork, so I’d love to look back in 30 years and be able to pull that all out with the watch to show I’ve kept it and worn it that whole time.
What else is in your collection? Have you got a favourite?
My collection itself is ever-changing so this could change tomorrow, but besides the two above, the collection includes a Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167a, an Omega Speedmaster CK2998 LE, a Rolex GMT Master Matte Dial 16750, a 1969 Heuer Autavia 2446c, and a bunch of others including a few Oak & Oscars. Oh, and I’ve got a TAG Heuer F1 custom with Longhorn logo on the dial and “BWZ 2003” engraved on the back – that was a gift from my wife.
Picking a favourite is like saying you love one kid more than the other, it really is tough to do… It usually depends on the occasion, the season, my outfit, or sometimes even the fact that a watch has a certain strap. Right now, I’m really enjoying the new CK2998 Speedy, after not having had an Omega in the collection for several months.
Two pieces I’d really like to add in the next year or so are pretty big fish – a Lange 1815 Chronograph in RG and a Patek Philippe Nautilus 5726 on the bracelet. That will require some maneuvering of the collection and I’m just not there yet. I’ll always keep playing around with mid-range pieces in and out of the collection, but those are the “grails”, so to speak.
What’s your daily ride?
I’m definitely a big car guy and I’ve owned several great daily drivers over the years, including BMW E39 & E60 M5s, a 710whp Cadillac CTS-V wagon that I did 189mph in the Texas Mile with, and an Audi S7.
But when I went into the scrap metal business I got rid of the Audi for a new Ford F150 and honestly, I love it. It’s like the Rolex Submariner of cars – they’ve been around forever, you see them everywhere, and they’re still a solid build quality for the money. I plan on keeping it a while and racking up the miles.
Going back to the “forever keepers”, I’ve got my matching-numbers 1969 Dodge Hemi Charger 4spd. Essentially it was a rusted-out barn find, which, after more than three years, was brought back to better than new. The best part is the fact that my father and I bought it from the brother of the original and only owner, and that it was sold new in my hometown – truly a family heirloom now. For non-car guys, it’s the equivalent of your neighbour pulling a Paul Newman Daytona out of a drawer untouched. It’s all beat up and hasn’t been worn in 30 years, and he’s selling it to you for a couple grand – oh, and he happens to still have all the boxes and paperwork from the mom and pop dealer down the street he bought it from.
Right now I’m working (as a driver) on a restomod 1968 Plymouth GTX project, which should be finished in the next few months. It’s been under the knife for the last two years. I wish I had more time to work on them myself, but life gets in the way. After I end up parting with that (like watches, it’s an inevitability) I’ll probably go a bit more modern – I’m a Porsche guy at heart and I’d love to do a 964 with a few mods at some point.
What are you working on at the moment?
I stay busy with the Head2HeadCopycat group – I love the interaction and personal connection with all the #watchfam. I’ve also written a short blog post for a brand that should be hitting their site soon. It will be one of my first actual published pieces, so it’s kind of exciting to see if that opens any new doors. On the personal front, my wife and I are finalising plans to build a new home soon and I’m anxious to start that process again – I always said that if it weren’t for banking, I would definitely be in the real estate development and construction business. I’ve built a few houses on my own and actually enjoy the process of seeing a project like that from start to finish.
Your followers know you’ve got a bit of a flipping addiction. What’s the endgame here?
Ha, is it that obvious? Honestly, it’s nothing new. I’ve only been on Instagram for about two years now but have been collecting, buying, selling and trading watches for over 12 years. I’ve probably had between 150 and 200 watches pass through my hands during that time (some more than once), but for me it has always been about trying new pieces that I wouldn’t otherwise get to if I was strictly a buy-and-hold type of collector. That’s just not my personality either. I use my collection at times as kind of a play savings account as well, and sometimes I’ll sell a watch to go on a trip or buy something else I want but really don’t need. It’s always easier than liquidating stock out of an investment account or something similar. Ultimately, I would like to downsize the collection a little bit to maybe seven or eight pieces and add in one or both of my grails, but that would require me to sell pieces that I really love. The hardest part of this hobby is that there really is an emotional attachment that goes along with owning and wearing these little mechanical machines on your wrist.