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An Interview with Tacoat5555
Gnomon Viewpoint

An Interview with Tacoat5555

It’s a tough choice! But I would keep the Daytona. Why? That’s because it’s a watch that encapsulates the prowess of Rolex’s watchmaking and is a good reminder of my successes and failures, which keeps me grounded whenever I wear it on my wrist or even look at it.
May 28, 2024

If anyone has perused our social media for a while, they would recognize our abundant love for the Web3 NFT space. It might seem like a contradiction to horology, which is centuries old. Although we could view this traditional hobby as diametrically opposing the efflorescence of the third-generation World Wide Web, Gnomon’s passions relish both. If you’re unfamiliar with NFT, I’ll get you up to speed. “NFT” is a short form for “non-fungible tokens,” digital assets on a particular blockchain with unique serial codes and metadata that are Sui generics. This means that a non-fungible digital token cannot be replicated, but instead, it allows one to verify its ownership on the blockchain. This alluring technology has and will continue to open up a new paradigm on how NFT enables real-world tangible assets to be more efficiently traded with tracked records. Lastly, NFTs can represent one’s identity or property rights. So let’s delve deeper into that.

Gnomon is part of the phenom Bored Ape Yacht Club

When all these attributes are combined, there’s potential in NFT that the world can utilize for our future. But why do we mention our adulation for NFT here now? Because, through our passion, we met a watch enthusiast prominent in this blossoming Web3 space. We crossed paths through our shared interests in these digital assets, and it became clear he was a watch enthusiast. We later found out that he played a prime role in the local NFT space as a founder and advisor of specific successful NFT projects. 

He was born in Singapore, and his pronoun is him/he. While he was an advisor for several significant projects like “The Other Side” ( and “BBRC” ( – which both seek to bridge our world into the web3 technology space through their adroitness – the man quirkily goes by his NFT moniker “Tacocat5555.” Moreover, he remarkably assisted those two projects to their successes, selling out their NFTs in thousands and enabling them to build a strong community. Yes, even I and some of my Gnomon mates had personally acquired and been part of the latter BBRC Web3 universe. We utilized our “membership” and had a fantastic collaboration during one of their runway fashion show (their IRL business has been dealing with clothing for decades). Indeed, thanks to Taco (that’s what I often call him) and the team for giving us this opportunity. 

Our collaboration with NFT project BBRC in 2022
The models wearing Steinhart Oceans

Since Gnomon had an amazing NFT and horology collaboration with the fantastic BBRC team and Taco, I got to catch up and get to know the man more in real life (only recently did I meet him in person) and realized he was a Gnomon customer before his NFT journey. How amazing is that come to think of it! He told me in his ebullient manner, wanting me to know his first serious watch purchase was a Steinhart 44 Nav-Buhr, which opened up a new door for him to enter the world of horology. Today, he has accomplished his mission in launching those previous projects and started his own called “HZN“, where his main goal was to introduce “physical backed tokens,” which he explained during our interview. During one of the NFT gatherings in town, I’d convinced him to sit down with me and have a casual yet extensive conversation on his adhering love for watches and how he started his NFT journey. So without further ado, let’s find out more about this man with his palindrome name and watch collection.

Taco, please introduce yourself to us. How did your name Tacocat5555 come about? What is your real-life persona and Web3 background?

That is Tacocat in his NFT persona (BBRC Ivy Boy)

All right, I go by the name Tacocat nowadays due to my devoting time to the NFT space. I see myself as an applied futurist, and what does that mean? It refers to my being prescient as my fastidious duty to predict the future for organizations and brands, invigorating them with an edge in their markets. I helped them in strategic planning and marketing, especially in this Web3 space nitch. Founders and creators will come to me seeking advice on launching their products and being ahead of their competitors.

Taco is about to unwrap his collection for me

I got into this field because it all started with me. I am a huge consumer of the NFT culture. I started fervidly buying NFTs to learn, and I indulged in the process. Because of that, I understand the consumer’s behavior on “what’s in” or “emerging” right now; thus, I can predict what’s going to be next. It’s less of a guessing game if you understand what people want. 

Anyway, regarding my Web3 name, I don’t remember how it started, but I know I found it quite funny because it is a palindrome. It’s a word spelled the same way, forward or backward. And I have stuck to this name ever since.

Pimped out in his limited edition Bored Ape collab hoodie 

I dig your name Taco. So how did you get yourself started in watches?

I see you wasted no time getting into my watches. I strongly remember it all started at a young age when I coveted a fancy watch, but I couldn’t get one due to the funds I had at that time. Instead, I started off purchasing a Steinhart timepiece from you guys, a Nav-Buhr 44mm, which was a fun watch to start with. Naturally, it opened up my curiosity about horology, and I deeply explored that topic. Subsequently, I realized the watch was too big for me, at least when the watch trend was moving towards smaller watches. So I started trading watches on one of our local marketplaces and managed to flip some watches to those I wanted to keep. 

Putting on his grail Grand Seiko on his wrist during the interview day

The journey was extensive and quite long, but I traded from the Steinhart to a Seiko, and then that particular Seiko led up to other ones within the Japanese brand. Eventually, those I had my heart set on led to many more watches in my collection.

I see you have been flipping watches along your way up, but through the process, did it allow you to go deeper into the world of collecting watches? 

Yes, for sure! It was a crazy experience. When I started, I thought I’d scratch the itch with that pilot watch because I love the looks, and that was about it. But after acquiring it, I spent numerous hours learning the history of how aviation design came about. It fascinated me when I realized it was a historical re-issue of a particular watch used by pilots during wartime. From there, I understood that most iconic looks today are often based on their functionalities back then, like the Rolex Submariner is meant to be used when diving. And the German Nav-Buhr is for pilots to read accurate timing at a glance in the sky. All these form-follows-function roots have elicited a passion in me.

His fascination with Grand Seiko and Royal Oak

So things got crazier for me when I went down to the details of my watch collection. For instance, I learned to appreciate what ticks within the watches and how watchmakers build and assemble them. The pinnacle of watch collecting is where I appreciate the craftsmanship of the watch inside-out. Like the watches I have collected today and the watches produced by those traditional houses. I want to share my love for Audemars Piguet and Grand Seiko. 

I wouldn’t be surprised if you knew the execution of the incredible tapisserie dial in tandem with the thinness of a Royal Oak case. It is impressive how AP initially hit all of these out of the ballpark. Conversely, the insane development of the Spring drive, a hybrid Grand Seiko movement, and the impeccable zaratsu case polishing found on them. I would not have stumbled upon them if I did not have that intrigued mindset. They are about more than just telling time plainly, which our smartphones and smartwatches can do these days easily. It’s the enjoyment one gets, and as a piece of jewelry, it attributes value to its wearer. 

So, I want to show you the watch on my wrist. This particular Seiko piece summed up my collecting journey. I wore it everywhere I went in life. I wear it for work, when I travel, and also at my wedding. Therefore it is more than a timepiece that tells time. It became part of my life journey, something I grew in on this jewelry. 

The Seiko that sums up his watch journey so far

Such a fantastic story of this piece! Now I want to ask if there is anyone around you influencing your watch journey. Or do you often go with your guts and self-persuasion when collecting watches?

Unfortunately, I have been purveyed by friends who often get me excited about what they are wearing or interested in having. Occasionally, they will have convincing chats that go something like, “Hey, look at this and that,” of those timepieces they owned or dreamed about. They are terrible friends who often poison me by sharing those stupendous deets about timepieces, as they often drove me to eagerly crave one.

Recently I had an experience where one of my close friends convinced me with compelling reasons to get a full-gold watch. I never thought I would ever wear one, but somehow he managed to influence me simply by stating that I needed to try one, and if I did, I would see it was safe to wear around town, as we would not get mugged. I agree with this, as many of us can enjoy wearing gold jewelry around Singapore. So this got me thinking further, like, ‘How on earth am I going to pull off a timepiece made entirely of gold?’ I want to wear it in a manner that best expresses myself with a gold accessory on my wrist. It’s not easy to pull off, but I digress.

Let’s take it a step deeper. How do you see yourself evolving in your watch-collecting journey? For instance, what criteria do you look for in a watch today as compared to you first started?

Yes definitely! When I purchased my first watch, it was simply because it looked aesthetically cool, and that’s about it. It could be a watch with a slip-dash case finishing or its battery or mechanical movement, but if it looked fabulous outside, I’d jump in without much thought. But as my time with watches went on, I acquired more education by learning from others and online – those blogs and forums are equally poisoning. However, I initially began to look into investment value, which could be a better factor. I’d find it that way because one only truly enjoys the piece after purchase, as your mindset diverged towards the market and whether that watch holds its value over time. Sadly, that was me in my so-called second phase.

The GS and its impeccable finishing

And now, after an extensive period in my journey, I have come to realize I’ve got to sit back and reflect on my passion when adding new ones to my collection. Right now, I pay a lot of attention to watches’ craftsmanship. I want to look at them and be inspired like my recent acquisition of this Grand Seiko SBGH271. I had all my focus on its executions, especially the dial works by Seiko. When I look upon the fantastic watch or dial, it raises intrinsic questions like,” How on earth are they able to make a dial that is so impactful that even a layman like me can immediately feel they did an excellent job?” 

His vintage Audemars Piguet Quantieme Perpetual 25657BA

Or even the Audemars Piguet Quantieme Perpetual 25657BA that I brought along with me. I am perpetually amazed by how the watchmaking maestro could pack so much gear works into such a constrained watch case and still make it wearable. What was the obsession of these watchmakers at that time to create marvels like these? Therefore, I got inspired, and my interest in good watchmaking was elevated, and I truly hope the rest of us who first stumbled into watches can feel the same way.

What a story! Now let us turn things with a little more fun here. Do you see any relationship between your love for both watches and NFTs?

There is, and I will elaborate with a long answer for this. Most people who dip their curious feet into NFTs mainly do it for investment. In parallel, some people are interested in watch “games” for the same reason. They purchase the NFT or watch from the marketplace at the best price and then flip it for profit. Rarely you’d find true believers of fine craftsmanship and blockchain techs or digital assets. And if we see them, they are a gem. 

Taco sees watches and NFTs as having several similarities

Let me give you another example. When we stumbled upon one whose wrist sported an obscure watch usually known to the enthusiasts, like a Squale timepiece as compared to an Apple Watch or even, to an extent, a Rolex, we as watch lovers would often be like, “Yo, nice watch you got there… Great taste and eye for craftsmanship.” This reaction couldn’t be more true when someone wears a Grand Seiko, and we know, “This guy gets it.” You wear a Rolex to impress someone, but you wear a GS to impress yourself.

All these could be seen in tandem with NFTs. We can find some NFT holders who bought into that particular NFT, especially towards digital arts, not because they want a quick profit. Instead, they believe in the NFT company or creators behind it. Even in a bear market, these collectors transformed into community builders, where they come together despite things being down and continue to support and build together with their NFT brand. 

“This guy gets it, la.”

Now, this leads me to one final point we as human beings have two everyday things in nature that put NFTs and watches in the same basket, and they are the sense of belonging and items that represent you. Having a chance to express and share your obsessions with these analog or digital assets with the same interest group, we care about such things and the community of our interests. We like to be part of a like-minded or, in the watch collecting case, a group with similar tastes. 

Inversely, within our unison interests, we like those assets to help us identify ourselves. For instance, a particular Cryptopunk or Bored Ape makes one stand out in the Web 3 space as each profile picture has unique traits. That could also be seen in tandem with the watches you would like to pair harmoniously with your outfit as they speak of your taste in your collection.

You got that right! Would you like to see NFT and horology amalgamate for collectors?

He sees watches and blockchain could merge one day in the future.

Oh yes, definitely! I could say that a watch is essentially a real-life “NFT.” Let me explain my view on this. Let’s think of my Rolexes here. The same watch I have is manufactured by a renowned watchmaker from a specific year and is uniquely produced from the same production batch. And within each batch, they are individually serialized and delivered, then purchased and worn by different people. Notably, these people came with entirely different background stories and contexts. After decades have gone by, and if these pieces are still around, they are still unique. Each model came from the same production run, but they are unique regarding the asset and the provenance behind them.

What if one day, the watch’s provenance and transactions can be recorded every single time?

Therefore, these two diverging worlds will somehow collide together soon. It is where centuries-old manufacturers collaborate or utilize blockchain technologies in their watchmaking. Right now, I felt they might tether with “phygital” methods where a chip could be placed within a watch, and then when it changes hands or is transacted, the whole process is recorded and stored within an immutable blockchain. I love this idea as when time passes, brands and collectors can easily retrieve the watch’s history and transactions it went through swiftly and efficiently by simply looking up the decentralized blockchain it is tied to.

Nice. And now, back to your watch collection. Why did you pick these few watches for this interview?

His daily-beater Seiko

Haha, let’s start with the Seiko. This is an excellent question. I brought the Seiko ref. 031 because it is a piece that I kept circling back to. As I mentioned a while before, I started trading my watches, and this reference has been part of my flipping journey. I kept returning to this model even after acquiring some premium pieces like the ones you see here, and not only do I keep it, but it also has had a lot of wrist time.

The GMT Master II ticks all the boxes for him

So that’s the Seiko. Now to the Rolex GMT Master II. It is a perfect example of an all-rounder, especially one when you need to travel overseas. When I was finally selected a Rolex in my flipping journey, I initially acquired an Explorer II but traded it and settled for this GMT Master II as I felt this ticks more boxes for me.

How about this Daytona now?

I’m glad you asked, as Daytona is meaningful to me. Because I acquired it from my mentor, it can be seen as my grail piece. It is my “I made it” kind of watch. I have always felt owning a Daytona would be unachievable, but after my whole watch journey until now, I thought I needed to pull the trigger. And so I did when I made a breakthrough in the NFT space. I used my earnings and made a deal with my mentor. It was now or never, so I knew I had to. *laugh loudly together.

The bilateral grail piece reminded him of both his successes and failures.

On the contrary, you might think it’s my “pride” watch, but I must admit that it embodies something else. It became a bilateral watch that reminded me of what “humility” and “patience” were. When I got the watch, I got my itchy hands on it by attempting to swap out its original bracelet with another that I bought and thought would look better. But I was not clear in my mind and became careless as the excitement of acquiring the Daytona had overtaken my emotions. I quickly removed the old one and placed the new one into the watch’s lugs, and that’s when I realized the end links had no spaces for me to ever remove the spring bars within. I told myself, “How stupid could I be to screw up my latest grail piece?”

His Rolex Daytona Ref. 116520

After I calmed down and got my head on straight, I visited a watch service store in town to see if this seems-to-be-doomed issue could be fixed. Miraculously, the benevolent owner, who also was the main service personnel, told me confidently that it could be removed by drilling a small gap at the back of the end links, allowing him to slide out the spring bars. And thank god he executed it, and now my Daytona is free from the dead-locked bracelet. So yeah, this whole experience taught me a good lesson – you’re struck by your impatience and think you are smart enough because of your success; remember how quickly one small careless mistake like that sent me to my knees.

What a story! Now we move on to your two APs…

His Two-tone Royal Oak was his newest acquisition

So I bought these two different APs – the Quantime Perpetual and the Royal Oak 5402SA – because I love their whole history around their watchmaking, and these two exemplify it. These two were also my most recent purchases. The Royal Oak needs no explanation as it’s the Gerald Genta watch for Audemars, and I love the crazy thinness of it as compared to the Jumbos. And the QP was initially planned to be for my wife. I bought it for her to pair with my Royal Oak, but my selfishness was quickly revealed by her (that’s my wife) as she knew I wanted it solely for myself, and she was the excuse for the purchase. 

The one supposedly for his wife

Okay, but aside, this timepiece genuinely bestows AP’s craftsmanship in complications. It’s crazy that it still works perfectly after forty or so years! How on earth would someone be able to pack so much whimsical stuff within such a small and thin case?

The QP is truly a marvel. And now for our final question. If you had to liquidate all your watches except one, which one would you keep?

It’s a tough choice! But I would keep the Daytona. Why? That’s because it’s a watch that encapsulates the prowess of Rolex’s watchmaking and is a good reminder of my successes and failures, which keeps me grounded whenever I wear it on my wrist or even look at it.

Thank you so much for your time Taco!

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