Watches and What Else: Storytelling through Photography and Videography with Elle Grant

Editor’s Note: Watches and What Else is a continuing series 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 photographer, videographer, YouTuber, and watch collector Elle Grant about her collection and her passion for visual storytelling.  

You may know Elle Grant from the content on her YouTube channel, @Elizabeth_Grant. On her channel Elle mainly discusses watches and topics in the watch industry, but in a much different way than you may be used to. You’ll never see her bust out calipers, or rattle off the spec sheet from the company website. What you will get, however, is a story from someone who understands her craft, and is rooted in the art of photography and videography. 


When asked where her love of watches came from, Elle was quick to finger TGV (The Urban Gentry himself) for the crime. She further explained that around seven years ago she had a Timex that served as her watch for work, and as her interests in mechanical watches grew, she took to YouTube as there were few places to get more information on them, acquiring a Hamilton Khaki King as a first Swiss mechanical watch soon thereafter.


From here Elle’s tastes evolved. “I like stylized divers that still have function,” she told me, then declared that her two most worn watches are her Tudor Black Bay 58 and her Oris Aquis Clean Ocean Edition. If you’re a fan of Elle’s YouTube content, you know that she’s said on occasion that her Aquis is the watch that she’d never part with, and further expressed to me how “well-loved” it is. “I would be homeless on the street before parting ways with this watch,” she said of her Oris. Elle works as a server in a five-star dining establishment, so something with both flare and utility is a perfect fit. “This is the watch I kind of beat on […] I wore it all the time when I used to bartend.” 

At this point Elle began talking about how the traditional, dainty, women’s watches don’t appeal to her. Since I know Elle doesn’t shy away from her opinions, I decided to ask her how she feels the watch industry represents and caters (or doesn’t cater) to women.  “I’m a female in a male dominated space, and generally the community has been nothing but welcoming to me,” Elle explained. “A lot of the brands I like market their watches as unisex. Oris is a good example of this. If you pay attention to their photos, a lot of times they show their watches on women. And the same thing with Tudor, if you look at the Pelagos 39mm their press photos showed the watch on women.” She also mentioned brands like Longines, Nomos, and even G-Shock as other companies she’s noticed marketing in this manner. 

Photo by Elle Grant

After a brief moment Elle said, “I think Oris might actually be my favorite brand.” So much so that when a co-worker was looking for a watch to buy, she showed him her Oris Aquis and gave him a bit of information. Three weeks later he came back to her and said “Hey, I bought an Aquis!” This story prompted me to ask Elle how she feels that her videos and input might influence other people into going to spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on a watch.

“I guess because of the profession that I’m in I’m basically a salesman. I’ve been selling to people for 11 years. I’m an enthusiast. I’m not an expert or a watch dealer. I just want to talk about these things I find cool. Sometimes I’ve had subscribers tell me that they’ve purchased watches after watching my videos. I think that’s great. It’s nice that I can help people make those decisions, but that was never my intention.”

What Else?

Elle traces her interest in telling stories through a visual medium all the way back to childhood. “My relationship with photography and videography started when I was about 14 years old,” she told me. “I remember begging my mother for a camera for my birthday. She asked me what I was going to take pictures of, and I said EVERYTHING! I am one of six children and my mom was hesitant to spend that much money on me for my birthday because she thought it would be an interest that would last a couple months. […] She bought me a point and shoot camera, one of those ones that girls used to carry in their purses in the early 2000s. And I took pictures of everything, and slowly became the family picture-taker.” 

Photo by Elle Grant

While photography has been part of Elle’s life for years, she professed that she didn’t find videography until a little later in her life. “I found that I love videography more than I love photography, because for me I like the aspect of being a visual storyteller. I can do that more with video.” And she just happened to find videography around the same time she got into watches. She also found YouTubers whose style she liked, noting that Adrian Barker (of Bark and Jack, and About Effing Time) was a big influence when it came to style and tone. 

“I’m watching all these guys do this, and I realized the thing missing from the watch space was storytelling. No one was really talking about the experience. They talk about the specs, and the dial, and their personal tidbits would only be a small section of the video. I want to give you an entire video of stuff that you can’t Google. I want to give mostly my opinion and do a deep dive into that aspect of the watch journey.” On top of this, Elle purposely adds vivid scenes to her stories to captivate her audience.  She further explained that she likes the marriage of visual appeal with information and a story that people care about. 

Everything Elle has learned in creating her videos has either been self-taught in the field, or personally researched, describing herself as an “amateur” because she hasn’t had a formal education, but, if you’ve seen her content I’m sure that you’d beg to differ along with me. Elle’s goal with her videos is to get her audience to “watch the entire video and not realize that eight minutes has gone by. If I can do that, I’ve succeeded. I have entertained you in such a way that I’ve distracted you from the world for eight minutes. That’s what we do with movies and TV shows. I want you to think about the story.” 

Elle has seen a lot of growth in her creations with this goal in mind. The repetition of shooting video builds the strength of her craft and makes her a better problem solver. She’s passionate about shooting and editing. “I can’t think of anyone who can do A-Roll the way I want it done. I want it filmed from a conversational perspective. I want it to feel like you and I are sitting in a room, but that you’re still watching a show.”  

Photo by Elle Grant

After describing herself as a storyteller, wanting to captivate an audience through a narrative and characters, I asked if the version of Elle that we see on YouTube is a character or is it a true representation of the person that she is. “In terms of the persona that you see, it really is me just trying to present in more of a professional way. This is a small thing, but I see other YouTubers curse, and I won’t do that in my videos. I want a dad to be able to watch my videos with his kids.” She wants her channel to be approachable to everyone that has interest in the hobby and wants to be entertained. 

And although Elle wants you to be entertained, I think there’s more to it than that. When I asked Elle what the initial spark was that led her down the path to photography she said, “I notice everything. I see the beauty in the mundane. For me the way the light hits the staircase in August, at six o’clock is just gorgeous. And I think people would walk by that and never notice it. All I’ve ever wanted to do with my photography, my videography, everything that I do…is capture the things that I see with my eyes and show that to people. If I’m able to craft it in such a way then maybe they can see the beauty too, and I am able to turn my vision of the world into reality.”

Other Hobbies: Substantial boot collection, leather goods, bags, knives, lighters, gadgets in general.

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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.