Interview: Nigel Sylvester Discusses G-Shock Signature Watch, Street Goth, and Getting All of NYC's Support

Interview: Nigel Sylvester Discusses G-Shock Signature Watch, Street Goth, and Getting All of NYC's Support

Nigel Sylvester has had a busy couple of months bringing his ideas to life for his newest watch collaboration with G-Shock. This is his second signature watch since partnering with Casio as the brand’s official G-Shock team rider. The pro-BMX rider reps New York City all the way, so of course, the new timepiece draws plenty of inspiration from the city he calls home. Dubbed “Black Out,” it’s a complete departure from the first all-white timepieces with key details added into the mix. The watch drops in stores today, March 9 at G-Shock’s SoHo location, and at G-Shock stockists around the globe.

We caught up with the Queens native to get a better idea about his design process, how he got all NYC personalities in his video, and his plans for the near future. 

Interview by Teofilo Killip (@teofeelme)

This isn’t your first collaboration with G-Shock. What's different this time around?
This time the inspiration was different; it came from a different place. I’m a year more mature, so the things I’m into are a little bit different. My riding has evolved, so of course the watch is going to reflect that. This time around, the inspiration was New York City, the real New York City—the chaotic, gritty, chaotic, energetic, intense New York City.

That definitely showed in the video.
Exactly, we were trying to capture in the video what that was. So we did an all-black watch. We did matte black on the outside and gloss black on the face just to have that contrast.

How involved were you when it came time to designing your signature watch? Did you pick out everything from the color to the design?
I was hands on from jump street. G-Shock gave me full creative control. From the last watch, we had a bit success, so they had complete confidence that I would be able to execute another design. I was excited about it; I reached from everything that was around me into the watch. So we did a safari print on the band, we also did two key details that real G-Shock heads would appreciate. We did black screws and we did a black inner casing on the back. It's something that G-Shock really does, it’s one of those things that are very intricate as far as detail and thought goes. 

There’s a big movement in streetwear where everyone is moving towards a minimal look, wearing all black. Did that influence your choice in color for this watch?
Definitely, all black is something that I’ve been doing for a while. If you think about it, I ride bikes, so I’m outside getting messy and dirty a lot. So I was always thinking about what color I could wear so that I can be outside all day and still look presentable, so black is one of those colors that makes sense as a go-to color because I ride bicycles. Also, it’s real big in streetwear and even pop culture right now, like when Jay-Z came out with the all-black everything. And the whole black goth type of look that they were talking about on Complex a few weeks ago, you know, I read that article. So you know, it’s definitely around us. Also, I designed the watch eight months ago so it came just in time.

The promo video shows so many familiar NYC personalities from DJ Clark Kent to Angie Martinez to Jadakiss. What was it like working with these folks? How did you get all their support?
It was dope! Everyone in the video, besides a couple of people, I had prior relationships with, and they’ve supported me for the past few years. So it was more like, "I’m doing this video and I would love for you to be in it." And they were like, "O.K. awesome, let’s do it," because they already support what I do. And that’s part of it too; I really wanted to do a New York centric piece because New York was such a big inspiration for this watch. It only made sense for me to reach out to everyone who I know in New York that would also give it a different look. I wanted to make people say, wow you have this BMX kid and then you have Angie Martinez as a radio personality, and then you have 40oz Van—who’s one of my homies—we’ve been cool for along time now just being on the same scene. And then you got people like Clark Kent and Jadakiss, and people like Yari Sanchez. There are just different walks of life, but we’re all New Yorkers. We all go through that same hustle and that same chaotic, in a sense beautiful, overall vibe of New York City, so it really worked out.

It turned out pretty dope. Did you come up with the video concept? How long did it take to shoot with so many personalities?
We did the shoot in two days, and we had great scheduling. But everyone was super cooperative, it just really worked out, and everyone was excited too. It was a good time to say the least. I’m real excited on how the piece came out, and by the way, I also wanted to mention the dudes who collaborated on it. The dudes who actually directed and produced it was a group called We Are Not Pilgrims; Chad Gittens and Sam Sneed. We collaborated on the actual concept of the video. I had a few ideas, but they made them really come to life. So I have to give them a big shout out.

What’s next for Nigel Sylvester, are we going to see more watches down the line?
I’m always working, always riding. We’re getting ready to go on a European tour to promote the watch. I’m excited, I haven’t been to Europe in a while. We are going to do four or five stops in Europe, so that’s going to be big. I’m going to get to ride my bike, hang out, and see some people I haven’t seen in a while. Also, spring and summer time is approaching, so I’m getting ready to be on my bike every single day, especially in New York. I’m excited. I’m actually going to be working on a video part really soon. For skateboarders and bike riders, a video part I would compare that to a musicians album, it’s that big for us. So I’m going to take some time out to film this video part really soon.

What are some other brands you would like to work with in the future? 
There's always brands I would want to collaborate with or work with. One thing I always say is that, I want to deal with brands that I actually naturally believe in. That’s big for me. I’m not going to go and take a check from a brand, just because it’s a big check or they’re giving it out. I want to work with brands that feel authentic, and in this day and age protecting your brand is so important. There are definitely some things in the pipeline that I can’t speak about right now, but of course as soon as they drop, I’m going to come to Complex and we’re going to talk. I’m going walk into the office, step on some tables with my blow horn and spread the news.

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