Welcome to Episode 61 of the Tenn & Two Podcast!
Before we get into today’s episode, which we are incredibly excited about, we want to take a moment and thank each and every single one of you. Over the weekend, Tenn & Two was included in an article printed in the New York Times International paper of six podcasts worth listening to. Y’all, we are speechless and humbled beyond belief. This would not be possible without the outpouring of love and support from you, our listeners and our friends. To be included with so many other podcasts that we both listen to and look up to was just an incredible experience. We thank each and every one of you for making our podcast the success that it has become and we look forward to seeing what the future has in store. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Check out the article here!
Now for today’s episode…
Josh and Vivi Shanks of Watchonista
We are incredibly excited to be joined by Josh and Vivi Shanks of Watchonista, an incredibly popular watch news outlet that has been an industry leader for quite some time. The two of us were incredibly fortunate to have met the Shanks last December in Burlingame, California when we attended an event for our friends at Topper Jewelers and they were an absolute pleasure to spend a few days with. The four of us sat down on the phone, caught up a bit, and we were able to learn more about Josh and Vivi from their background, to their experiences at Watchonista, and some fun watch and life chat in between. We hope that you enjoy.
Wrist Watch Check
Before we dive too far into today’s episode, we start out with a wrist watch check and our guests go first. On Josh’s wrist, the Zodiac Sea Wolf Topper Edition in honor of our last meeting at Topper Jewelers. Vivi is wearing the Rootbeer that she has been honeymooning for quite some time. Today Kat has the Oris Big Crown Pointer Date and Katlen is wearing the Speedmaster (because we recorded on Tuesday and that’s the rule she thinks).
About Josh Shanks (IG @joshshanks)
His name is Josh, he’s a watch addict…38 years old and enjoys long walks on the beach. All joking aside, Josh is the managing editor for Watchonista (a global online magazine founded in Switzerland 10 years ago). He explains a bit about the beginnings of Watchonisa and how it was founded by enthusiasts who wanted to connect and explore more, utilizing social media well before its time. Along with being a major platform for online publication, Watchonista was recognized by several brands for their ability maximize digital platforms which led to the foundation of Watches Network Agency, helping to launch brands like Tudor to the social media realm.
Josh joined Watchonista in 2017 after previously having been a collector and enthusiast with a passion for writing. We find out that he quit his job in order to move to Switzerland to pursue watches and his then girlfriend (now wife) Vivi. It was while Josh was there that he began discussing the idea of a US branch of Watchonista, moved back to the States, developed a business plan, and hit the ground running to further develop the market here in America.
Vivi Shanks (IG @vivi.watches)
Vivi’s entry into watches is a bit different than Josh’s and started as a chance opportunity to be an intern for Audemars Piguet (a brand that she had never even heard of at the time). Following her internship, she realized that the ability to speak English was going to hold her back and she moved to England for a year. Vivi returned to Switzerland and was quickly approached by Jaeger-LeCoultre to be an apprentice. She worked with the brand for three years in product development and social media. After realizing she had so much experience on the manufacturing and production side of things, Vivi took a slight downgrade and went to work in sales at the MontBlanc boutique. After meeting Josh, she moved to the United States alongside him and took a position at Watchonista as an editor and Social Media Manager.
We chat for a bit about the culture of Watchonista which can be seen through them both. Normal people without ego. They’re a website that is different than just about every other website in the sense that they don’t necessarily focus on only new watch releases. Instead they focus on more diverse type articles that combine different passions with watches. From attending the Grammys to interviewing race car drivers, Watchonista embraces so many different aspects of watches that many other publications overlook.
Ah and then there’s the chat about quarantine life. It looks like we are all trying to figure out the Instagram algorithm which seems to change on a day to day basis. And is TikTok going to be the next major platform for watches? I think that all four of us can most definitely agree that it should not be. That’s followed up by two words: Tiger King, after which we discover that poor Vivi is sending S.O.S. signals based on Josh’s binge watching habits (though apparently we should all check out 90 Day Fiance). Josh tells us about a fun series of articles online based on the fact that we are all stuck in quarantine together, watches and Netflix, proving that Watchonista is really in tune with what we are all looking for to fill the void of all this free time (check out one of the articles here). Y’all, we promise that the watch content will come back, but we are basically just friends hanging out for a bit…
Thoughts on Watches and Wonders
Kat brings us back to some watch content with a chat about Watches and Wonders which had debuted the weekend prior to this recording. Josh and Vivi explain that they were both pretty impressed with the brands that were involved and the overall offerings of the year. It was incredibly smart of both Watches and Wonders and the brands involved to get out of all the drama chat that has been on behind the scenes and introduce some new pieces. a few of Vivi’s favorites, the IWC Portugiesers, the Cartier Maillon, and the Panera tourbillon in collaboration with Mike Horn.
We talk for a bit about how refreshing the digital Watches and Wonders event was, even though it wasn’t without problems which should have been expected. Seeing a traditionally set in their way Swiss watch industry move to a digital platform definitely provided a breath of fresh air. We Kats then discuss our favorites of the weekend. For Katlen, the JLC Master Control Calendar was her overall winner while Kat talks about the Vacheron Perpetual Calendar Ultrathin.
The four of us talk about what’s coming next in the watch show world which will probably be Baselworld 2021. Josh brings up a very valid conversation about how different these watch events may look in the future as so many of us have new concerns about large groups in public based on the social distancing we have all been through these last two months. Because of that, seeing brands embrace a digital platform is even more important than ever. The first of these brands was Breitling, who hosted their World Summit a few weeks prior and saw many successes from it, including the idea that you could buy the newly released watches online the very next day! Something you rarely saw at major watch events in the past.
We wrap things up with some fun chat about Oris Bear as the VJ Geronimo mentioned that we needed to ask about the bear’s appearance at Josh and Vivi’s wedding. This leads to such a fun chat about the dedication of VJ and Oris in general. And sure enough, Oris Bear was there to celebrate their wedding at the reception and even went bar hopping with them after.
We are incredibly thankful to Josh and Vivi for spending some time with us this afternoon. It has been incredibly fun to catch up with the two of them and we cannot wait to get together at a future watch event! Be sure to check out their work over on Watchonista. You can head over to their website and follow along on Instagram.
We’ll be talking to y’all again soon!
Kat, Katlen, Josh and Vivi
Tenn&Two and WatchonistaFollow Us:
- Watches, Tech, and Gear…Our 2020 Holiday Gift Guide – Podcast Episode 110 - November 30, 2020
- Pushing the Envelope with NOMOS and Brinkers – Podcast Episode 109 - November 27, 2020
- Our November Q&A Episode – Podcast 108 - November 23, 2020