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RIGHT ON TIME
12 Questions with Dimepiece's Brynn Wallner
Brynn Wallner is inundated with watch puns—from wasted hours in Hollywood’s blurry nightlife scene to dialed in to the eclectic-and-elegant world of Swiss luxury. Wallner is the founder of Dimepiece, a platform dedicated to women and watches. With it, she’s transforming the way fashion-forward millennials are looking at their wrists. Once “trill” now right on time, this writer and entrepreneur has found in sobriety the power to shake off self-limiting narratives to get out of bed (early, for her) and get things done. As a result, she’s on top of it (see: deadlines, her taxes, and soon, maybe the entire watch world). With this installment of 12 Questions, we talk style, refresh-hitting dips in Lake Geneva, and the power of doing less.
How has sobriety transformed your relationship to time?
I’m a lot more present now. There was this surf rock band, The Growlers, that I listened to when I was younger. They had a lyric like: “You know you’re living when it all becomes a blur.” When I was in LA, that’s how I was living. Drinking. Partying. I was just, like, everywhere. When I think back on that time, it’s just a haze. And now I feel everyday. It’s exciting. But it can also be crushing. It’s intense to live with so much clarity. But I would rather have that clarity versus the complete spinning-out feeling you get when you’re drinking and just trying to keep up with your own lifestyle.
I was at Sotheby’s, creating content for the website, and one of the departments I was working on was watches. I was struck by the fact that I knew nothing about any of the brands. Audemars Piguet? What’s that? How do I know nothing about this huge industry? How did it completely miss me as a consumer? I have a good job. I live in New York City. I’m into fashion and culture. And yet somehow I don’t care about watches at all. And I noticed that women were just completely left out of the narrative. Like, not mentioned at all. I was reading about the history of all these watches thinking, surely women wear these watches. And I was like, women and watches, there’s something there. So, I made an Instagram account called Dimepiece. Nobody in the Swiss industry gets [the name]. You know, a dime, a perfect ten? They’re like, “What’s a dime? We use francs.” But it transcends enough. And overnight it snowballed into this thing—traveling the world, going to Switzerland, trade shows, press trips. It’s really exciting.
Did sobriety change your personal style?
I was a proper party girl. I was obsessed with acrylic nails. I always had these claws. Glamorous. But kind of trashy. Like LA. I’d be at the Chateau Marmont—tiny bikini, acrylic nails, big Louis Vuitton purse. Today I’m much more minimal, preppy. I wear no makeup at all. I haven’t put on nail polish in five years. I have the confidence to wear no makeup because when you stop drinking your skin gets better. And all of a sudden you’re like, “Oh my God, I don’t need anything, I’m gorgeous.” Before I was always trying to cover up. It was like at the funeral home, putting makeup on corpses. What’s that Bruce Willis movie, Death Becomes Her? Plastering on the makeup to hide the death? That’s how I used to be. I was dying. Now I’m really living.
What is your grail timepiece?
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Frosted Gold Carolina Bucci. The Royal Oak was designed [in the seventies] by Gérald Genta who is a legend in watchmaking. He also did the Patek Philippe Nautilus. Audemars Piguet [recently] collaborated with a jewelry designer from Florence, Carolina Bucci. She developed this technique called a ‘Florentine Finish.’ It’s hammered and rough looking and yet somehow very sparkly and elegant. I think that’s my grail.
What’s your honest take on the Apple Watch?
It’s a completely different category, not in the same lane. Yes, it’s a watch but it’s used for very pragmatic reasons. But some people wear the Apple Watch and their watch. That is a no. Like, what are you doing? Don’t wear your Apple Watch to a wedding. Don’t wear it to the Oscars. Wear something nice or don’t wear it at all.
How far can a good sense of humor get you?
My God, it’s gotten me everywhere. I’d be nothing without it.
What’s your daily routine like?
I’m a creature of habit. I wake up between the hours of eight and nine thirty, which is really early for me. I take a 30-minute walk through Washington Square Park with my dog. Then, I have yogurt and coffee. I don’t even look at my phone til I’ve had the walk, the yogurt, the coffee. I refuse to answer a text message before that is done. Then, I’m engulfed in email land. Depending on the day, I either have to write an article about a watch or I’m in Midtown to meet with a watch brand. After the work is done, I do yoga, take a shower, and I have dinner on the couch. Usually soup, cheese, and bread. Then, I watch TV and take another dog walk and go to bed. It’s the same everyday and I’m really happy with it.
What’s your go-to non-alcoholic beverage?
Club soda with lemon. I prefer it from the fountain because it’s really bubbly. I could care less about a Perrier because the bubble content is not very high. I like the bubbles to be like a slap in the face.
What’s one thing that you thought you could never do sober that you’ve done sober?
At my ten-year college reunion last summer I went to a frat party. The Greek life is thriving. It’s really jarring. College was where my drinking career took off. Vodka shots chased with Diet Coke. I thought it was normal to get blackout drunk because everybody else seemed to be doing it. At that party I was like, “I can’t believe I did this for four years. What the fuck?” It’s hard to not look back on that and think it was a complete waste of time and energy. But, I try to be gracious to my younger self.
From personal experience or watching others in your industry, what do you think scares people the most about not drinking?
I think they’re afraid they’re not going to be able to endure it without a little extra lubrication. At Watches and Wonders, you’re in this huge space, bigger than the Javits Center, and there are no windows and it’s all fluorescent lighting for a week. You have to show up everyday. You’re meeting with every brand. It is such an intense industry. The parties are constant. The events are constant. I ask my colleagues, “How do you go out at night and party and then show up hungover?” And they are like, “I do it because it’s the only way I can get through it.” And then they ask me, “How do you do it sober?” I go to the sauna. I jump in Lake Geneva. I stick to my self care almost militantly. I’m really, really intentional with my time. I sacrifice the wee hours. I go to bed early. Everybody else is like, “You want to go to The Leopard Lounge?” No. I have to wake up at 8:00 am. I have a meeting with Rolex. Are you kidding?
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Less is more. It’s a tenet to live by. Keep it simple. Tone it down a bit. Share less. It’s difficult in the social-media-verse with this compulsion to share. Retain a little mystery. There’s a power in keeping things to yourself versus just completely spewing. Withhold a few things. When you’re confident not sharing every little thing, you wield more power.
In your mind’s eye, what is the shape of success?
A completely normal life. The greatest luxury is to have a space to call your own and a backyard, or something. I have to live in New York right now, knowing the culture, going to this, going to that, being present for all these things. It’s the lifeblood of my career. But I keep thinking about this Strokes lyric, “I’m working so I won’t have to try so hard.” Someday, I’d rather try hard at raising a beautiful child, cultivating a garden, and, like, being.
Text by Andrew Smart / Photos by Lucas Lind
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