Interview with TGV from The Urban Gentry

by Karl Swanepoel 10

interview_with_tgv_from_the_urbvan_gentry

Interview with TGV from The Urban Gentry

First of all a huge thank you from all of us here at TheWatchFace to TGV for very kindly agreeing to do this interview.

I’m sure you know who he is, however if you do not, he is one of the largest horological YouTubers and runs the very successful channel, The Urban Gentry.

(Visit The Urban Gentry on YouTube)

So without further ado, let’s get straight into the interview.

Interview with TGV


On your channel, you’ve spoken to some extent about some of the watches
you had in your child and teen years, which include the Casio F-91W, Seiko
SKX009 and a Tissot PRC200 from my memory. Please tell us more about some
of the first watches you had and how they contributed to your passion.

I also had many Swatch watches during the 90s. I would spend every summer
in Italy for a few months and it became a kind of tradition that my mother
would buy me a Swatch every year while waiting for the plane at duty free
in the airport. I loved them as they were bright coloured, fun and easy to
collect. I can’t honestly remember what happened to the Casio, but I have a
feeling I may of swapped it for some micro machines toys in the play ground
at school, which were all the rage back then. I have many memories of
my dad’s 70s Seiko on an expandable bracelet too. It kept working for
several decades before I lost the bezel and it finally stopped working only
a few years ago. It was very similar to one of my current favourites, the
Seiko SARB033 which may also explain why I love it so much. Lastly I have
to mention I inherited my grandfathers solid yellow gold Charles Frodsham
pocket watch which gave me greater perspective on the quality of watchmaking as a
craft. It gave me a head start and a taste for horology on different levels
and it’s history.


What was your first real ‘luxury’ watch and at what age did you buy it?

Great question. Well, many people have different definitions of what a
luxury watch is. Some consider any watch a luxury and others don’t consider
anything less then a Rolex luxury. For me, when I was in my late 20s and I
started to make enough money, I decide to reward myself and I bought my
first Rolex DateJust in two tone. Around the same time I also bought a
mid-sized Omega Seamaster 300, the bond blue one like Prince
William has. I figured the Omega would be a great every day watch and the
Rolex for weekends and dressing up smart. For a while I was happy with that
setup, but of course I started noticing what other people where wearing and
I soon caught the watch bug and wanted more!


You mentioned recently that you’d like to make more cultural content
alongside the horological videos, I personally think this is a great idea.
Could you tell us some of your upcoming projects related to this?

Of course. When I first started my channel it was not just about watches.
I talked about books, cinema, art, and so on. For me these are extremely
important and slowly over time the watch content became the most successful
and I focussed less on cultural content. I believe being a well rounded and
cultured individual is crucial for so many reasons. Not just for the
enrichment of ones life and personal happiness but also for the
understanding of life itself Of course I will always have horological
content as my primary topic, but I wish to return to including a wider
range of subjects to give greater depth to the channel and also add greater
context to horology in general. Horology in many ways is also the history
of civilisation itself and runs parallel to it. Many channels talk about
horology but simply don’t understand what it really means and think it is
just about wrist watches.


What inspired you to start The Urban Gentry YouTube channel?

To be completely honest I started it as a bit of fun. To share watches and
subjects I felt needed to be talked about more. I also saw that the
channels already out there were not very inclusive and tended to talk about
only certain segments or price ranges of watches. I essentially created a
channel about things I wanted to talk about. So one minute I could be
talking about the music of Max Richter, then the next video comparing an
SKX to a Submariner or my love for Italian neorealism. Over time I would
take inspirations from all these things and mould it into what the channel
is today.


I have noticed that many people in the Facebook group have asked whether
you’d be interested in reviewing the Vostok Amphibia, what are your
thoughts on this watch?

Yes, it has to be one of the most common questions I get, maybe even
everyday. Sometimes people forget that it is just one person running the
entire operation, well mostly. I simply have hundreds of watches on the
ever growing “to review” list. I don’t really think I could bring anything
new to the table except my opinion on them which is what people want to
hear I guess. I am always on the look out for one and the precise version
that has caught my eye is always sold out. However, I am sure it will
happen eventually. All in good time, forgive the pun.


You have done very well for yourself, and currently run one of the largest
(and best) watch channels on YouTube. Did you ever plan to get to this
stage when you first started out? 

Thank you, very kind of you to say, very flattered. I must say I never had
any intention of the channel becoming this big at the beginning. It has
really only been in the last year that I began to think that maybe I was on
to something. I am no guru or watch expert, I have never claimed to be and
never will. I am simply sharing my passion, learning everyday and my love
for these things. Somehow a lot of people enjoy it and have decided to join
me on the journey. It’s fun and I enjoy it, so basically when something is
like that, one has to do more of it right?!?


Do you think that The Urban Gentry will ever become your full time job?

This is something I have been struggling with recently. I hope so and who
knows it might just happen. The whole youtube thing is very much uncharted
territory for me and rather surreal in many ways. For the moment I have to
supplement it with a real job, but the way things are going I should be able to go full time soon.
My primary focus is content, building a solid community and expanding
industry relations without compromising the integrity and quality of the
channel. I have been offered many sponsorship deals recently and turned
them all down because my independence comes first. If it takes longer and
more work to get to a place of financial security then so be it. I am never
afraid of hard work.


You’ve done very well for yourself, and you have helped thousands upon
thousands of watch fans from all around the world. Being one of them and a
big fan of the channel, I’d like to thank you very much for doing what you
do! Also, thank you for doing this interview, and I wish you the best of
luck for the future.

Thank you so much. I am honoured to be interviewed. Good luck to you too.
You have a great blog and always enjoy reading it.
Ciao 😉


Wrapping up

We hope you enjoyed this interview with TGV from The Urban Gentry!

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Comments (10)

  1. Great job Karl, as always! It was going so well that I wish there was more of it. Too short! Haha! Great to have you interview the Governor. I appreciate it and I’m sure everyone on the Facebook page do as well. Ciao.

    1. Thank you! :)

  2. Great interview!

    1. Thank you!

  3. I’m sorry but a guy wearing such a polo shirt is just not qualified to talk about style, taste or class. Seems like youtube “horology” channels are a business niche these days, great, let’s have as many reviews of and debates about watches as possible but those one person format with the focus more on the channel owner than actual watches doesn’t contribute much to general horological education. Besides, these channels appear to depend to a large degree on paid reviews of “hommage” watches and various accessories and that can’t be unbiased opinions.

    Oh, and I’m all for youtubers having personality, Archieluxury has shown it can be entertaining but it should not become more important than the actual timepieces.

    And the jealousy and petty feuds these guys have been having, it’s a huge turnoff, who cares about that?

    1. As he doesn’t claim to be an expert, no ‘qualifications’ are needed. A lot of channels do that, but The Urban Gentry does not. I am a regular viewer and have only seen one sponsored review so far which was clearly mentioned and explained at the beginning o the video, in which case I have no issues with it.

      I agree it’s petty and a big turnoff, which is why I respect TGV for not participating in any of it :)

      1. But he has… He hired a racist from the UK, Chris Brindle, Grobnob on YouTube… To attack other channels and do underhanded garbage. The same Grobnob he called a friend, he did videos with, and now, tgv acts like they aren’t friends. The grob that was paid in colareb straps. TGV is a youtube personality, like Archie Luxury. He’s no landed gentry. He surely is not an expert in horology. He is trying to make a living off his lies, deceit on YouTube.

        1. I personally know nothing of this, do you have any further information or evidence to back these claims?

          Thanks,
          Karl

    2. I really wouldn’t care to even reply to this message but since I have been watching a lot of “YouTube” watch gentlemen collectors and “experts”, my fingers are itching to support TGV, not because I am a fan, but because people that fancy high end luxury horology and stereotypical James Bond class, think they actually own the concept of class and taste.
      So, dear Sir, a “man” such as yourself, criticizing another man for lacking class just by wearing a polo t-shirt has neither taste nor class. Gather up your saltiness and try to value what a true Classy man is made of and not what things make him one. In addition before even trying to define what class and taste is, educate yourself to the point where criticizing is not an option for a true man, rather than accepting the individuality and diversity of another. Nobody, including myself, cannot and will not make you like this “guy” or accept him as a classy man or a tasteful one, but you have no exclusive right to classiness to make such brainless comments.
      Very nice interview Karl and keep up the good work. Excuse my tilted answer, but I really like TGV for being unique and classy in his own unique and alternative way.

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