If you haven’t seen some of the stunning Seiko modification watches by Robert Rizo in the Watch Gang Exchange lately, you’re missing out. Rizo’s watches are custom made in his home workshop and he takes orders weekly to create some pretty amazing timepieces using a Seiko movement. Fish scale dial hands, gleaming mother of pearl watch faces, and shiny stainless steel bands are just some of the features you’ll find in his custom designs.
We took a time out with this talented Watch Gang member to find out what inspired him to start customizing watches, and what made him stick with The Gang. Here’s the scoop...
Rizo has been a Watch Gang member since its inception and was a big fan of the BOLDR Chronograph we sent out in the early days. He found us by clicking on a banner ad and joined right away — he’s been a loyal member ever since.
He’s experienced all three membership tiers over the past couple of years: Original, Black, and Platinum. When he’s not building his watch collection, you might find him working away at his watch-related hobby: modifying Seiko watches.
The Watch Mod Obsession Begins
Rizo says he’s never been formally trained in watchmaking — he picked up the skills only about six months after joining Watch Gang. “I’ve always been modifying cars and doing custom work on other projects,” says Rizo. “A few months after I joined Watch Gang, I figured I would try modifying watches as well.”
He gave it a shot to see what he could come up with. “I joined a ton of forums, watched a lot of videos, and basically it was trial and error,” he explains. “I bought a ton of cheap watches just to pull them apart and put them back together again so I could learn…doing that for a while helped me figure it out.”
Custom Watches in Demand
His hard work paid off. It didn’t take long for to start creating some beautiful looking watches using special order parts.
And people noticed. Lots of people noticed. Rizo posted some of his creations in the Watch Gang Exchange and people started making requests to have him make one for themselves. He started contacting suppliers of different parts so he could place orders whenever he needed them.
Now, he’s getting orders for about 30 to 40 custom watches a month and says he’s probably made about 500 watches to date. Rizo says he’s considered turning this into a full-time job. Right now, he works a full-time job and works on watches in his spare time.
So what are people after when it comes to placing a custom order? Rizo says the dial hands that look like fish scales are a popular feature for a lot of people that place custom orders. Team colors to replace the markers is also high on the must-have list for avid watch enthusiasts.
Still, he gets, “…all sorts of requests. Most of them I can do, and I can get pretty much any Seiko aftermarket materials for custom pieces,” says Rizo. Rizo says he only uses the highest quality materials he can find for all his custom orders, including a sapphire crystal and real Seiko movement. He can also make women’s watches, upon request. He’s made one for his wife and his son likes to sport his dad’s custom made watches, on occasion.
Robert's Watch Gang Experience
Many members in the Watch Gang Exchange know about Rizo’s work and you can catch posts of his custom designs as they end up in their owner’s hands.
Rizo says he’s made many friends in WGE and says anybody thinking about joining Watch Gang should do it for the watches and for the community. “You get awesome watches and a lot of good advice right in the Watch Gang Exchange”, says Rizo. “I didn’t know anything about watches until I joined Watch Gang. The community helped me learn a lot…and now I’m making watches for them.”
Check out Rizo's Custom Seiko Mods Facebook Page to see his latest creations.
Stay tuned for more Member Spotlight interviews where we feature some of our most interesting and most active members. Until next time…