Threads of Connection - Brett Band of Paceracer Watches


A few weeks ago, we linked up with our good mate Brett Band – the skating extraordinaire and the creator of Paceracer watches. A classic watch brand proudly made in New Zealand and carving its niche in the watch game.

Settle in for a chat about Paceracer's ride and his passion about skateboarding!

What does a typical day look like for you at the moment? 

On a typical day I'll drive to VIC park market, get through a couple of coffees around 8, walk Whittaker..but other than that it differs a lot. 
The other day was programming a CNC mill to modify a watch case, it was cutting away 0.3mm & cutting 0.2mm deep. That was really intense because the programing & setup takes hours but the machine only cuts for about 10 minutes right at the end. The day after that was on scaffolding working on a Paceracer clock out of Auckland. Hoping to get some time this week to work on a really cool watch for a guys 40th, he wants the first ever original Sangfroid 36.5mm watch dial in Titanium with an Automatic mechanism. 

How did you get started in skating and who is your skate inspiration? 

I got started when I was 8, my mate had a fish board, then my brother got a proper board & I copied. We lived in a culdersack & kids from school would come & skate. Once they quit I ended up meeting Cookie at Cityside & that led to the whole going to town thing. After that Whare, Snape & Dimitri with the town missions on the weekends, by then I was a lifey. 
I think from pretty young I spotted the old Kenny Anderson nollie flip. But basically default to watch Habitat Mosaic or AWS Photosynthesis on the Tube if I'm looking for the soundtrack to match the tricks. 

In a game of SKATE, who would you say is most challenging to beat? 

It's the two Toms. Tom Snape & Tom Hull. Snape did a ss big spin heel in a game at the old Vic park (where Vic apparel started!) & that was mind-blowing - we were like 18.
Tom Hull has always had consistency with the good tricks..nollie flip, nollie heel, nollie fs heel, fs nollie flip, all the 3 flips. The Toms. 

Your journey from skateboarding to watchmaking is quite unconventional. What made you want to start Paceracer? 

Watches - 10 years ago, were kind of like as niche as skateboarding was 20 years ago & that was a big drawcard. 
I was really into Industrial Design & I was lucky to pick up experience about designing products for mass production while I worked. Knowing how things are made at mass manufacture seems rare nowadays but I was so into it & I'd basically find out super specific things that were useless to most people but I found interesting & that evolved into watches. I was quite keen on testing the waters to see what could come of this unexpected thing I'd got myself into. Initially the first watch was to us for a design portfolio, but from David Read including it in Manual, I saw people actually wanted it, so looking back it kind of validated it had appeal beyond myself. From there the fact that people wanted to buy them got people really talking. So from there it was just motivation.

What are some of the biggest challenges you have encountered, and how have you overcome them? 

Loosing my Mum a few years ago threw a big spanner in the mix. The biggest challenges have been a long mind game of progressing everything together one step at a time. 
I think being a skateboarder makes you able to stick at something you really like & also want to do in a specific way, for an abnormally long time until you get there. Like, if you want to be able do something, you will eventually be able to do it, if you start & don't stop that thing you want to do. 
So the challenge is to keep normal life in check so that I can do it, but I've had to make trade-offs along the way :) 
The last couple years, keeping the body in good nick to skate more has become a new challenge. 

Could you shed some light on the unique aspects of crafting Paceracer watches in New Zealand, and how the local environment or culture influences the production process?

I think the local culture in New Zealand is pretty crisp, we tend to push a lot of rubbish out, things we don't need. By doing Paceracer it's shown that people love mechanical watches, which have a big connection to being carefully designed & handcrafted locally by someone you can go meet & also see parts of the watch being made. It's never going to be easy to make a watch in New Zealand. For production, a lot of the technical processes don't exist here & for the ones that do I've spent years working with them & we work together to gradually improve the process. I've slowly started bringing some really amazing tools in house to really focus on more unique materials.  

What has been your favorite part of your Paceracer journey and where would you like to see Paceracer go next? 

The most exciting part now is getting inquiries where someone is planning on a Paceracer. Before I'd got well into this journey, the things I looked forward to were skate trips & that was a background motivation knowing there was some real adventure on the way, in between, until that happened. 
Now I'm a bit older new motivations come to play & while I'm pretty much always going super hard on Paceracer in anyway I can, new projects are like the same kind of excitement I got from skateboarding. 
So knowing someone is working hard on their thing saving a bit to get a Paceracer, keeps me fuelled up to go hard on my thing, so when they're ready, I'll be ready to work on it. 
The next steps are to refine the process for the 2-3 models that people have resonated with the most & focus things in more. 

Thank you Brett for taking the time to chat with us!

Check out Brett's social & website

@insta_band

@Pace.racer

www.paceracer.co