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The Story Behind BYOP Watches

My love for aviation began in the 4th grade. I was a big fan of a popular WWII aviation television show - Ba Ba Black Sheep. Many of the kids in class wanted to be the Squad Leader, Captain "Pappy" Boyington. We created our own air squadron in class, made paper insignia to designate our pilot ranks, taped them to our sleeves, and wore them outside during recess. We immediately ran to the swing sets shouting flight commands at one another as we jumped into our cockpits. We flew high, as high as we could, until bailing out of our planes, flying into the air even higher. The flight wasn't over until we each landed safely back on the ground - after all, we were pilots.

 

Oxford Dictionary defines pi·lot as a noun 1. a person who operates the flying controls of an aircraft. I define a pilot as a person who operates the flight controls of their life. Pilots are brave, free, and independent, and navigate the skies according to who they are, they are their own pilot. This belief is the inspiration from my childhood and the BYOP brand, which stands for Be Your Own Pilot.  

When I began to design BYOP watches in 2017, I wasn’t interested in simply creating another watch brand, I wanted to create watches that had meaning. Something more than a time piece, something that can inspire others in the way I was inspired in my life. I took this inspiration from aviation cockpit dials with military fonts and matching black and white sword style hands. I wanted BYOP watches to have the feeling of you being in the cockpit reminding you that you are the pilot of your life. I also wanted the attributes of a true pilot’s tool watch—clean, simple, highly legible, and with an internal bezel that can be used for various aviation time functions.

 

Quality was priority, so every BYOP Air Force collection pilot watch is engineered with a 316L SS case, internal rotating bezels with various functions for timing, 2nd time zone, and compass navigation. Under the hood you will find Seiko NH35 automatic movements, sapphire crystals with blue anti-reflective coating inside, and Swiss Super-LumiNova C3 on the dial, bezel and hands for low-light vision. The launch of my BYOP Air Force Collection in 2020 is the culmination of all of this.

In 2024, I launched another line of pilot watches, my second generation titanium Meridian GMTs. These pilot watches show off T2 all titanium cases, Seiko NH34 automatic GMT movements, 24 hour time internal bezels, sapphire crystals with blue anti-reflective coating inside, and Swiss Super-LumiNova C3 on the dial, bezel and hands for low-light vision. Variants include a yellow, orange, and red GMT hands.

Taxiing the Runway

In 2017, shortly after I retired from my career in law enforcement, my passion for pilot watches grew, growing into an inspiration and dream. I wasnt aware of it at the time, but this inspiration soon came to me as I was reminded of my childhood inspiration and my dream to become a pilot. I spent 3 years on research and design and after many prototypes, an eye for perfection, and partnering with multiple companies, BYOP watches took flight.

Childhood Inspiration

I spent time in group homes and foster care when I was a child, and when I finally settled at the age of 8, I spent the remainder of my childhood near an airport. It was at this time I was given my first watch and an inspiration. Wearing my watch as a kid felt gave me a feeling of having a co-pilot with me where ever I went. I spent many days wearing my co-pilot watching airplanes fly overhead. This grew into a love for aviation and planted a dream in me of becoming a pilot. It was this that inspired me to be my own pilot, the pilot of my own life. I was inspired to be brave, be independent, and to be my own person, especially during times of turbulence or rough landings. Aviation showed me the world was much bigger then what I saw in front of me, and it showed me that I could go anywhere in the world, and anywhere in my life. My hope is the BYOP brand will inspire you in the same way to Be Your Own Pilot in life. 

 

 

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Me standing in front of a Vought F4U- Corsair, the same model aircraft from the television show "Baa Baa Black Sheep."

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