Watches and What Else: Bryan Braddy and His Unique Horological Art

Editor’s Note: Watches and What Else is a new column where we look at some of the other things our watch collecting community is interested in. We’ve always found watch collectors to be a curious, well rounded bunch, and in this series we’re going to explore a variety of the watch adjacent (and sometimes, not so adjacent) interests of collectors of all stripes. From illustration to aviation, video games and comics to heavy metal and craft cocktails, there’s a lot to explore, and we think you’ll enjoy diving into the pursuits that your fellow watch enthusiasts are passionate about. 

This week, Chris Antzoulis talks to a founder of RedBar’s Raleigh chapter, a longtime illustrator, and the purveyor of one of our favorite “watch art” Instagram accounts. 

Bryan Braddy is a watch enthusiast who resides in Raleigh, North Carolina. He’s one of the founders of RedBar Raleigh, and is a pillar in our horological hobby. But in this inaugural edition of Watches and What Else we’ll also get to know the man behind @badartnicewatch, and his passion for illustration.


Bryan got into watches much like the rest of us, by attempting to shoplift a Mickey Mouse watch as a three-year-old and forcing his parents to pony up lest they get thrown in mall jail for the transgressions of their offspring. From there, Bryan really did travel down the route the rest of us did, by sporting a snazzy Fossil from middle school through his college years. After graduating from college, Bryan bought what he claims may have been the watch that got him into watches (in the way that only we can be into watches) after he read an article by Zach Weiss on a Maratac Pilot’s watch.  


Bryan told me that his love of watches was accelerated by his love to accessorize. It started with an eye for rings, bracelets, and clothing. However, as Bryan got older his tastes evolved and refined, noting that now, “it’s just a ring and a watch.” Watches in particular allow for Bryan to embody and exude the different personas that a watch can allow you to have. Slap on a Casio DataBank and you can be Marty McFly. Plop on a chromed out Ventura and you’re either rockin’ and rollin’ with a pompadour haircut, or blasting aliens with a noisy cricket.

This tangent into watch cosplay prompted me to ask Bryan if he has a watch that is “innately Bryan.” He paused for a moment, acknowledged my good question, then replied, “if you polled everyone in our RedBar Raleigh group as to which watch is ‘me,’ they would say my Breitling Aerospace.” And Bryan would agree. He went on to say that he “likes the most popular thing’s adjacent,” adding that the quirk, the quartz, and the design are “so me.” 

What Else?

Bryan, along with his love of watches, also noted that his interest in illustration started when he was a child. Just imagine, that little would-be felon sporting his Mickey Mouse watch while trying to draw him too! Yet, while many of us can point to the teachers who stoked the flames of our passions, Bryan reminded me that “there are also ones who blow those flames out.” His fifth grade teacher did not properly nurture the art and craft of illustration, so Bryan moved forward occasionally drawing for fun.

While he may have occasionally drawn for himself for pleasure, he began drawing on envelopes for friends and family.  These drawings were “illustrations that probably started as block letters of ‘Mom’ on her birthday card, but soon started to take up the entire envelope,” Bryan said. This is a personal touch that Bryan continues to this day, and that is admired and looked forward to by those close to him. “I have so many friends and family members who chuck the card but keep the envelope,” he told me. Most recently he gifted one to his father-in-law on his 66th birthday, so he received a Route 66 themed envelope from his favorite son-in-law.

Now, if you gallop those pointer fingers over to Instagram to @BadArtNiceWatch, you will find that Bryan has been drawing watches on commission for the last few years. He started when the pandemic began. While the rest of you were trying to make sourdough bread, Bryan was drawing with his eldest daughter, who was four at the time, and when he put pen to paper a watch came out. “I had forgotten how much fun it was to draw what I wanted,” he told me. 

His first two drawings were of a Doxa and an Explorer 2, and he kept going from there. Eventually Bryan began to connect with fellow enthusiasts through his Instagram account, where he posts time lapses of his commissions set to a VoiceOver giving us a bit of history behind the watch, or the story that led him to draw the particular piece. 

Bryan has built so much content and drawn so many watches that I reckoned it easy to lose track of all he’s created. So, I asked him which watches are the memorable ones, expecting him to list some rare references, but instead his eyes grew lighter and resonated with joy as he blurted out “It’s the stories I remember. If a particular watch had a good story, that sticks with me way more than the watch.” He noted that one client asked Bryan to draw his Tudor, which he purchased in honor of his mother who passed in 2019. His mother was also an artist, and he thought he could further commemorate her with an illustration of that watch. 

Then Bryan started to smile as another memory flooded in – his favorite commission to date. 

“I got an email from a girl in 2021 who wanted to commission me to draw one of her boyfriend’s watches. She messaged me after she saw her boyfriend talking to me. What she didn’t know was that her boyfriend was messaging me about getting a commission done for her. So, I managed to play them off each other. I drew the watches and sent them to different addresses, all the while neither of them knew they had commissioned me to draw a watch for the other person.”

He recalled that he drew a Rolex Daytona as a gift for the boyfriend, and a Timex Q Malibu for the girlfriend, with the day, date, and time set to the day and time of their very first date. 

Since then, Bryan has drawn hundreds of commissioned pieces, illustrated for Hodinkee, and has other projects on the horizon. So, naturally I asked him where he sees this all going, or rather, what his goals are for his art? To which he chuckled and responded:

“This has already exceeded my expectations, which were zero. I’m pretty jazzed over everything, and to be honest, I still don’t see it […] I don’t know if people don’t believe me or what, but it looks the way it looks because that’s the limit of my abilities.” 

I believe the joy Bryan gets from illustrating the watches, and the envelopes, stems from the joy those illustrations bring to others. How often does someone make something for us? Something one-of-a-kind that captures an aspect of our lives, our love—even if it is only representative of a moment, and that we can admire forever. That’s something only art can do. 

Other hobbies: Vexillology (Google it), Heraldry (also, Google it), Vintage Advertisements

All photography/artwork by Bryan Braddy

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Chris Antzoulis is a published poet and comic book writer who over-romanticizes watches. Ever since his mom walked him through a department store at the budding age of six and he spotted that black quartz watch with a hologram of Darth Vader’s face on the crystal, he knew he was lost to the dark side of horology. He is currently eye-balling the next watch contenders now caught in his tractor beam.