Meet Cole Walliser, the self-proclaimed CEO of Slo-Mo. He’s the director behind the #glambot videos you may have seen circulating around social media highlighting stars on the red carpet. While he may be sidelined this awards season, you can usually find him operating a motorized arm that swings around to capture a 180-degree view of some of the biggest names in popular culture. He does it by teasing out a cheeky pose and coaching the stars to reach their full glamourous potential.
But there’s also something else he’s also doing on the red carpet.
Walliser is uniquely positioned to catch a quick glimpse of the watches everyone’s wearing, and he’s been known to strike up a conversation about what’s on their wrist. He’s chatted up Ryan Seacrest about his gold 6263 and Nick Jonas on his iced-out Octo, and he has exchanged comments on social media with Trevor Noah about his collection.
And Walliser has accumulated quite a collection of his own. It’s grown dramatically since his youth, when he refused to remove his Casio Ironman. “At the end of the summer,” he says, “I’d always be so proud that I’d gotten a watch tan.” When he was a teen, he walked into a Rolex boutique just outside Vancouver carrying his skateboard. “This was the late ’90s,” he says, “so just about everything was actually in the display case. Making sure not to bang the skateboard on the glass, I leaned over and asked how much the Submariner was.” He couldn’t afford it, but he left with a sense of conviction.
“One day,” he told himself, “I’ll come back ready to buy a Submariner, and just do it.”
It took him a few years. He’s 39 now and recently added something special from the Rolex boutique to his collection. Here are four watches all packed with a story, plus a look at his other way to escape: A diesel off-roading rig, also straight outta the ’90s.
NOMOS World Time Midnight Blue
In 2014, Walliser spent just under four months in New Orleans filming a TV show for E! that ended up never airing. “I saved my per diem every day,” he says. “I’d take the cash and put it in the safe at the hotel and live cheaply. After about three months, I had enough to buy a watch, and I had been eyeing a NOMOS for a while. The blue-dialed World Time came out right at the right time, and I bought it.” He took it even further, tying the watch to the trip through a cultural connection straight out of the Louisiana bayous: An alligator strap.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph Panda Dial
After the GLAMbot became successful, Walliser decided he was ready for a Royal Oak Chronograph: “I became obsessed with the watch because of the ties to precision, time, and speed. Measuring things in milliseconds is what I do professionally, so the chronograph aspect was attractive to me.” He got the call from his AD on the same day Marlon Brando’s Rolex GMT from Apocalypse Now crossed the auction block, right across the street from the Audemars Piguet boutique. “I picked the watch up and walked across the street to the auction,” he says. He’s worn it for red-carpet duty ever since.
Rolex Oysterquartz Datejust
“It’s kind of frowned upon in the horology world,” Walliser says, “but I don’t care at all.” He bought the watch as “sort of a substitute while I waited for the AP, but I’m just obsessed with the integrated bracelet; it’s from 1995 – such an interesting part of Rolex history. I initially was on the lookout for one in stainless steel, but I kept on coming back to the two-tone.”
Two-Tone Rolex Submariner
“We’re all enamored by these watches,” Walliser says, “but we only see pictures of them on the internet. They never have them in the cases to actually see. They sort of only exist digitally. I had never seen a two-tone sub with a blue dial in person before until I was in a boutique back home in Vancouver with my mother.” The time had finally come for him to buy his Submariner. “I bought it with my mother, and it was a really special experience to share with her. I tried to explain to her how lucky we were that they had one in stock. She didn’t get it all. She asked me ‘So, you can come into a store ready to spend $ 20,000, and they won’t let you?'”
1991 Mercedes Benz G-Wagon G300D
This isn’t the G-Wagon you might think it is. It’s from an era when the G-Wagon was squarely a truck engineered to get the job done. Back then, it wasn’t luxurious in the least. “It pumps out about 110 horsepower. When I’m on the freeway, everyone is swerving around me as it takes an eternity to get up to the max cruising speed of….65. It’s geared for a farm, not the Autobahn.”