Who Is Justin Mastine-Frost?
A recent transplant from Vancouver to New York City, Justin Mastine-Frost’s intrigue with all things mechanical led to a career as an automotive journalist and technician. From there his curiosity and fondness for the realm of horology developed, quickly spiraling to full watch-world immersion. And that is how our paths first crossed.
Today, Justin is a writer at Esquire, and an editor at one of Hearst’s newest publications – Best Products – where he runs the automotive and watch content. He also writes for several other titles, both online and in print. Justin recently showcased Govberg OnTime as one of the five ‘must-download’ apps for the watch enthusiast on Esquire.com – it’s definitely a recommended read!
Last week I had the pleasure of sitting down with Justin to learn a bit more about his interests –including and extending beyond those with horological ties. Here are a few highlights from our conversation…
What was your “gateway” watch?
That’s a bit of a tough one… A friend of mine gave me a Victorinox that I started wearing pretty religiously, however my first automatic watch was an odd Seiko 5, the SNZJ67. This was the beginning of my ongoing downward spiral into the abyss of watch geekdom.
What’s on your wrist today?
Tudor Black Bay Red on its factory nato. Fun fact, the Tudor nato strap is probably one of the priciest pieces of fabric out there, but man is it ever comfortable.
What is your method for reviewing a watch?
I have to admit, I had a chuckle the moment I read the word Method. I think of a review as nothing more than a recounting of my opinions, impressions, and experiences after handling, and really wearing the hell out of any given timepiece. My mantra has always been to wear each piece as much as possible both within, and way outside its designated context to see where it really fits in when its market/brand positioning is completely tossed out the window.
The process of determining what to buy next can be incredibly intimidating. Can you offer both a piece of advice and a question or two to ask yourself when grappling with this decision?
My advice is simple. Get the piece in your hands above all else. I mean, read the stories, read the opinions, and read the specs all you want, but go out there wherever you can to see and handle the watch first-hand. You wouldn’t believe the number of times I’ve loved a watch “on paper” and then hated it on my wrist even though its design and dimensions seemed perfect.
5 Wish-List Worthy Watches…money and access are not barriers…ready, go!
Oh geez….. I’m going with the approach of “5 I would want in the collection” but not “the only 5 watches you get to have” because capping at 5 with no budget would be silly. You’ll see from my list that my tastes are a little outlandish. And I ‘had to’ create two lists – modern and vintage.
- Sarpaneva Korona Northern Lights
- URWERK UR-210Y (I would kill for even a long-term loaner of this one…)
- De Bethune DB28 GS
- JLC Master Calendar Meteorite Dial
- Linde Werdelin Oktopus Blumoon
- Omega Flightmaster caliber 911 yellow hands
- Really, any dial color Heuer Silverstone
- LeCoultre Memovox E871 TV dial
- Vintage Omega Bullhead Chrono
- Vintage Fortis Marinemaster
What’s next in your Netflix queue?
Unsure at the moment, but whatever it is it will be funny and slightly inappropriate. Last viewed was Nick Offerman’s standup special titled “American Ham.”
Favorite vacation spot?
Nice, France. No question about it. Alternate would be anywhere with good surfing.
Thanks to Justin Mastine-Frost for taking the time to sit down and talk watches. Be sure to subscribe to Esquire to read more from Justin.