The way Rhuigi Villaseñor sees it, he might love watches a little too much. “If I could go back in time, I would unlike watches,” the Rhude designer jokes. “It’s dangerous to love them all.” Lacking a time machine, Villaseñor lives dangerously: collecting holy grail Patek Philippes and experimental Audemars Piguet watches his idols (and now customers) wear too. Here, he walks GQ through what’s been in his rotation lately.
GQ: How did you get into collecting?
Villaseñor: When I started Rhude I made a pretty good amount of money with a bandana T-shirt and hoodie. Watches were one of the things that I spent my money on. My first purchase was a 36-millimeter Rolex Datejust, an all-gold Day-Date, and another Datejust, all at once. I’m the type of person, if I do it, I’m going to try to just start the collection as soon as possible. Which is actually stupid, but whatever.
From there, you’ve added several legendary watches, like the rose-gold Patek Philippe Nautilus, an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept, and a Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar.
To me, these are grails in watch collecting. I remember I wore this Perpetual Calendar; a buddy of mine was like, “How? Where? When?” Pharrell was wearing it in the “Frontin’ ” video, and I remember I was like, “That watch, I need that.”
How much did hip-hop and music videos inform your taste in watches?
It was inevitable—there was no Hodinkee, and GQ wasn’t writing about watches yet. The watch world was so archaic and closed off. But if you look back, Jay-Z was rapping about Richard Mille so early.
A.P. created the Royal Oak Concept line in 2002 as a place to test out its most cutting-edge and futuristic ideas. What drew you to this piece?
I’m not at the level to buy a concept whip yet, but this is a concept watch. It’s a rubber watch—the closest thing to a grown-up G-Shock. I remember, again, seeing Pharrell wear it, and I was like, “Damn, what is that?” [More recently] I was in the office with [Jay-Z] and he was wearing one. I was quiet about it, and then weeks later I went and bought one.