If you don’t spend much time scrolling TikTok, Gen-Z’s current social medial platform of choice, then you might think it’s nothing more than a mind-numbing stream of teens dancing and unsavory financial experts schilling get-rich-quick schemes. You’re not exactly wrong, but you may be surprised to learn that recently, a group of luxury watch experts has carved out a growing niche for horological content—in spite of the fact that it’s very possible a large swath of young viewers can’t afford a new Rolex or vintage Cartier.
“TikTok is largely aspirational, and made up of people on the outside looking in,” says Mike Nouveau, a dealer whose 200,000+ followers turn to him for information on vintage timepieces and a popular on-the-street series called “Watch Spotting”. To him, the recent boom of luxury watch-specific accounts is sort of a modern MTV Cribs phenomenon—the latest iteration of people’s ever-present desire to see how the other side lives. As Mike puts it, “I think people just like looking at expensive stuff.”
We don’t deny the simple math that expensive + collectible = viral, but it might not be the whole story. For those on “watchtok” doing more than ogling—who are sincerely searching for historical background and current model information—the best accounts on the platform provide a valuable service in easily-digestible, mostly under-60-second form. Whether you stop your scrolling to watch Diamond District dealers duke it out for the best price on a new Rolex, or simply want to know about the weirdest, hardest-to-come-by grails, there’s something for you.
Below are seven TikTok accounts that are worth following—as well as each one’s pick for a timepiece that’s currently atop their watch list.
In addition to the “Watch Spotting” series, which has seen Nouveau conduct impromptu street interviews with the likes of Heron Preston, Emily Ratajkowski, and other celebs to size up their current wristwear, he’s also a full-time vintage watch dealer who educates his followers on the rarest and most coveted reference numbers from decades past.
He’s particularly in tune with retro Cartier options, aiding viewers to both understand the history of one of the world’s greatest manufacturers as well as learn practical tips on how to make sure they’re buying something legit.
Making videos for the sake of it would probably be engaging enough on its own, but for Nouveau, it’s also helped boost his real-world profile among dealers and customers. “Every day I have people sending me photos of watches they’ve inherited, watches they’ve been gifted, stuff they want to sell or consign,” he says. “Dealers used to have to post ads in newspapers to find this stuff.”
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Mike Nouveau’s Vintage Grail: 1990s Rolex Day Date Coral Stone Dial
Julia Azer has only been in the business of flipping vintage watches since the early pandemic days of 2020. But she threw herself so fully into the bustling, male-dominated world of 47th Street deal-making that today she stands as one of its best—and most entertaining—experts. Her videos, which mostly consist of Azer’s high-stakes negotiations and meticulous verification process, are fun to watch, but also decidedly not sales-y.
This education-first approach has led to a die-hard audience of over 300,000 followers who are there, as she once was, to learn for themselves about the distinctive qualities (and fair market rates) of old Audemars and Rolexes. “I never sell straight to the client,” she says. “I always try to sell myself and my experience with the product.”
Naturally, however, her ability to demonstrate this deep knowledge turned into trust, and eventually new customers; today she says all of her clients (both in terms of the watches she sells and sources) come from TikTok and Instagram. “I have people traveling overseas just to see me. That’s crazy,” she says. And just in case you still thought Watch TikTok was only for window-shopping kids or young professionals looking to scrape together a few bucks to enter the vintage timepiece arena, Azer is proof that men (and yes, women) of all ages are hooked to their For You pages. “My big audience is 45 to 65 years old. They use this platform,” she says. In fact, Azer says one of her most recent potential clients was the CEO of one of the world’s biggest banks, who told her flat-out that he reached out after coming across her content.
The Most Elegant Watch for Men, According to TikTok’s Leading Lady Watch Dealer: Patek Philippe Calatrava
Tyler Mikorski (@Vookum)
Tyler Mikorski’s account Vookum, named for the New Jersey luxury watch retailer he works for, is a unicorn not just in the world of watch content, but among TikTok creators in general. Vookum’s videos, which see Mikorski battling it out with Diamond District dealers for Rolexes and Audemars Piguets, are part Pawn Stars, part Uncut Gems, with a little high-stakes art auction sprinkled in. That mass appeal means in just a few months he’s garnered a mega-following of over a million strong.
While Mikorski is certainly an expert by virtue of his gig—not to mention a natural entertainer—he’s also blunt about the fact that selling watches is about more than a pure love of the game. “I don’t wear a watch,” he says proudly. “I look at [them] more as money-making tools.”
Despite approaching the watch market with a somewhat clinical disposition, there’s value in Vookum’s videos beyond the drama of watching folks put on their best poker face to work the price on a new Rolex. If you’re currently searching for a new addition to your collection, it can’t hurt to know what behind-the-counter types like Mikorski are actually paying on their end.
The Watch Tyler Mirorski Would Actually Love to Own: Patek Phillipe Aquanaut
Ben Cook was plugging away in finance when he posted his first video on TikTok. Seven months later, the 25-year-old has had enough success (roughly 90,000 followers and counting) to turn horological content into his full-time job.
At first, he found a gap in the market by talking about what he calls “Watch options [for] people who wanted a watch, but couldn’t afford luxury timepieces like a Rolex or Cartier.” While he still provides wallet-conscious shoppers with affordable homages to iconic pieces (a clip highlighting a $20 Casio tank currently has 4.1 million views), he’s also widened his scope to discuss everything up to $3.4 million dollar Omegas.
Cook also isn’t shy when he thinks a buzzy piece of wristwear is overhyped, overpriced, or both. Agree with him or not, on a platform where engagement reigns supreme, he’s not afraid to get a conversation started.
The Watch Ben Cook Thinks Is Super Underrated: Rolex “Polar” Explorer II Ref. 16570
Everyone’s watch-collecting journey has to start somewhere, yet so much watch coverage seems to start at a graduate degree level. Ramsey Zahlan is the guy to follow for a crash course in many of the most important horological basics if you’re at the beginning of your journey.
His page has many of the clips you might expect—luxury store tours, his opinions on popular brands, etc—but the best stuff is when he breaks down things such as movements or the history of Rolex. Whether you’re looking to pull the trigger on your first big watch purchase or simply don’t want to feel left out at a next dinner party full of seasoned timepiece vets, you’d be wise to first head over to Zahlan’s page to brush up.
The Watch Ramsey Zahlan Thinks Entry-Level Collectors Should Buy: Tudor Pelagos 39
Allow yourself to fall too deep down the watch rabbit hole, and you may forget that they’re items intended to be worn as part of a complete, stylish outfit. To help you avoid such a fate, Nolan White is the wise-beyond-his-years 21-year-old TikTok creator whose passion for timepieces and quality menswear come in equal measure.
“When I first got on TikTok, there wasn’t much overlap in the fashion and watch communities,” says White. “Watch guys are often super into cars, but not necessarily fashion. Fashion guys might be into interior design or some obscure anime, but their watch interest can be limited to, like, a Chrome Hearts Datejust or Cartier Crash.”
White’s aim is to bring both of these groups closer together without pandering to either. Don’t be surprised if you see him waxing poetic about some impossible-to-come-by, one-of-one knitwear gem or a limited-edition, now-defunct timepiece reserved for rally race winners and literal royalty. Then again, you might become the only one in your friend group to know about these things—a valuable currency in its own right.
The Piece Nolan White Thinks Both Fashion and Watch Guys Will Love: Rolex Oyster Perpetual Ref. 1009 “Zephyr”
“I thought it was all lip-syncing and dancing, but when I joined I realized it was so much more,” says Alex Stevens, a London-based vintage watch dealer whose reviews of older, treasured timepieces have turned into an audience (and even a few customers) he didn’t previously know existed.
At just 25 years old, Stevens already has almost a decade of experience in the watch business, having flipped his first Rolex at just 16. Despite being squarely in TikTok’s target age range, even he couldn’t anticipate the way fresh-faced enthusiasts—many much younger than him—would want to learn about high-end wristwear on TikTok.
“I think with TikTok, you’re cultivating an audience that might not necessarily be a watch buyer today, but they might in 5 to 10 years,” he says. And when they’re ready, Stevens wants to be there to sell these newly-minted collectors a vintage Omega or Cartier.
Then again, the more his account grows the less waiting he might ultimately have to do. A 21-year-old recently reached out to pick up a birthday watch, a sign that the new generation might be ready to graduate from digital window shoppers to IRL collectors.