Spotlight Interview With Worn & Wound's Managing Editor Ilya Ryvin
Updated: Oct 22, 2019
If you're a fan of Worn and Wound, or have ever attend the Windup Watch Fair, you may already know who this guy is. Ilya is the voice behind their podcasts and is responsible for their digital content. The guy has a sensible approach to watch collecting. His rule is simple, if he wants a new watch, he can't spend new money on it. Additionally, he's an avid music enthusiast and is quite the TV buff. Read on to find more about Ilya Ravin.
Ilya, thank you for agreeing to be a part of the Spotlight Series. Could you give our readers an insight into who you are and what you do for a living?
Hey Daniel. The pleasure is truly mine. Thank you for having me.
Some of your readers may already know me, or know of me (if you’ve ever attended Windup Watch Fair, I was the guy running around with a camera and a shaved head). But for those of you who don’t, I’m Worn & Wound’s Managing Editor. In my role as Managing Editor, I work with a team of contributors to create the content that you see daily on Worn & Wound. I’ve been a part of the team for quite some time now, first as a contributor, later as a more involved contributor, and then finally coming onboard full-time as Managing Editor. Additionally, I produce our podcast (The Worn & Wound Podcast) and video content.
I remember when I first started getting into watches while studying at University. Having little funds at the time, the world of watches once used to feel a bit snobby and full of collectors flexing their expensive timepieces. Could you explain why Worn and Wound has a heavy focus on the more affordable market?
It really goes back to why Worn & Wound was founded. Zach (Weiss) and Blake (Malin), who co-founded Worn & Wound back in 2011, often tell the story of how after college Blake wanted to buy a nice watch, but had a limited budget to play with. After scouring forums and other resources available at the time for a watch, they realised no one was really covering watches on the lower end of the spectrum in an easy-to-digest way. Don’t get me wrong, forums are great, but they can be overwhelming for the uninitiated. And so Worn & Wound came into existence, and it very quickly found an audience.
What’s also happened since the early days of Worn & Wound is this micro-brand boom. Now, micro-brand is a bit of a loaded term these days, but when I say micro-brand I’m not talking about those generic Kickstarter watches — you know, the ones that are disrupting the industry by cutting out the middleman and going direct to the consumer with generic, derivative designs. Blegh! So when I say micro-brand, I mean great brands like Autodromo, VERO, anOrdain, Monta, Baltic, Bravur, Lorier, Raven, Halios, and a whole bunch of others. These brands do incredible, creative things, and most do it at a sub-$1,000 price point. We champion brands like these because we want consumers to know that there are excellent options outside of the usual suspects, and because we want the good brands to thrive.
Of course, our coverage has since climbed to higher price brackets. We won’t shy away from covering more expensive watches if we think it makes sense for us to cover them. But even if we do, we’ll still continue to shine a spotlight on brands doing great things in that sub $1K - $2K space. That will always be part of the mission statement.
I remember listening to one of the Worn and Wound podcasts, that you came from a film background. How has this experience helped you in what you do today and do you have any side projects that you could talk about?
I used to work in documentary film, and it definitely shaped the way I like to tell stories. I think it’s something you can see with some of our more recent video content. Now, I’m by no means a brilliant videographer, nor am I a flashy editor. But what I am good at is find an interesting, informative, and impactful story out of mountains of footage.
When we went to Damasko’s factory in Germany with the intent on making a few short films about the brand, the goal was to give our audience a real insight into Damasko, with a spotlight on the people who make their watches, what goes into making those watches, and why they’re special. My approach to shooting and editing those videos was very documentary-like. It was important to me that these stories not be a matter of fact, but personal. I wanted our audience to see and feel Konrad Damasko’s passion. I think I was able to get that across.
We’ve been Instagram friends for a while now and I know that you have a very humble approach to collecting. What does your current collection look like?
I appreciate you thinking that, because certainly I know people who think I’m an absolute maniac with all of this! Without getting too deep into my collecting journey, I’ll just say that I’ve been going through a pretty big purge recently. I scaled down my collection significantly — in some instances just selling watches, and in others I traded up to get pieces that I’ve been lusting after for quite some time. I just had too many pieces that weren’t getting any wrist time, and honestly, I just felt guilty owning so much stuff. Now I have a general rule that I’ve been pretty good at following, and that’s no new money can go into watches. So if I want to buy something, I need to get it with funds secured from selling something else. It’s been working pretty well and I’m finally settled with what I have. Now I just have to wear my watches, enjoy them, and focus on more important things in life ha!
The five watches getting the most time on my wrist are my Grand Seiko SBGX061, Nomos Orion, Omega Speedmaster FOIS, Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight, and MK II Paradive.
Which watch is the most significant piece to you and why?
Without a doubt my Speedmaster. It was an engagement/wedding gift from my wonderful wife, and I’ll cherish it forever.
Not that I’ve been stalking you or anything, but you also seem to be quite the music lover. Who are you currently listening to?
My commute is kind of bonkers. I happen to live in a weird public transportation dead zone in Brooklyn, New York, so music and podcasts keep me going during those long mornings and evening trips to and from work.
I’m a HUGE fan of The National. I love their entire discography, and the new album (I Am Easy To Find), though different, is exceptional. Seriously, if you haven’t had the pleasure, go check them out. Let me run through some of artists in my Apple Music library: Silversun Pickups, Dinosaur Jr., The Smiths, The Pixies, Panic! At the Disco, Courtney Barnett, Radiohead, Nirvana, Interpol, New Order, Deadboy & the Elephantmen, Depeche Mode, The Cranberries, Against Me!, Daughter, TV on the Radio, and Wye Oak.
I listen to a handful of watch podcasts, too, though I generally try not to overdo it. Some of my favorite non watch podcasts are Blamo!, Why Is This Happening? with Chris Hayes, and Last Podcast On The Left (just binged Mindhunter and Hannibal, so I’m on a bit of a serial killer kick right now haha).
Outside of watches and Worn and Wound, do you have any other passions? How do you unwind from your busy schedule?
I love photography. I really enjoy walking around with my camera (it’s an older Sony 6500 for those of you who care) and just shooting random things I come across. I used to be really into film photography, but because I don’t have access to a dark room and can’t print my own photos (which is my favorite part of the process!), I haven’t really done much since college.
I’m also a big tv buff, so I watch a lot of television — probably more than I should. Like I mentioned above, I just binged Mindhunter, Hannibal, as well as the second season of The Sinner, Killing Eve, and Fleabag. I really cherish the quality of programming that we have on television today; we’re in the golden age of high-quality, long-form storytelling. I still love smaller, more intimate films, but I honestly only go to the movies nowadays for the big tentpole spectacles.
I have two dogs, and I enjoy going on long walks with them and my wife. We’re also expecting our first born soon and I’m actually about to go on paternity leave, so that’s certainly going to take up a lot of my time, but I’m super excited!
You can follow Ilya on Instagram @ryvini