A Conversation With Mr. Tyler Durbin

This story originally appeared on the Gents Cafe Newsletter. You can subscribe here.

Meet Tyler Durbin (@tylerdfinestone), a law student and vintage watch dealer from Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

Give us a short introduction about yourself.

My name is Tyler Durbin-Finestone. I currently live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, but I am looking to move to Chicago next year for law school. I currently work full time in a law firm, and part time as a vintage watch dealer for Detroit Watch Exchange (@detroit_watch_exchange).

How do you define your style?

I’d describe my style as elevated casual. I think most people look really great in everyday casual clothes, but especially when more thought is put into the styling aspect. For me, a simple outfit of a t-shirt and jeans can be elevated with the right shoes (a pair of loafers or oxfords), accessories (rings, a chain, belt), and a nice watch.

What does it mean for you to be a Modern Gentleman?

For me, it’s to live a life of integrity, purpose, humility, and passion. I think these traits, which can be seen in many examples of gentleman of the past, are largely absent in today’s society.

When it comes to style, where do you mostly get your inspiration from?

I think I get an equal inspiration from style icons of the past and present. People like Paul Newman and Ralph Lauren are memorialized style icons. I think there’s an abundance of style inspiration with a social media dominated world – a few of mine currently include Jacob Elordi, Jeremy Allen White, and Albert Muzquiz (@edgyalbert).

What’s your personal style signifier?

For me, it’s probably my vintage 1969 Omega Seamaster Cosmic watch. I wear it everyday, with any outfit, formal or casual. It also influences the other accessories I wear like my belt, chain and pendant, and ring, to match the stainless steel color of my watch.

What are your favorite wardrobe essentials?

Currently, mine are a pair of vintage made-in-the-USA Levi’s 501 jeans, black loafers from G.H. Bass, and a great white t-shirt (my favorite is from Buck Mason). Then of course the Omega Seamaster.

What are your main passions and how do you cultivate them?

Right now, vintage watches are my biggest passion. My personal collection is currently just one watch, but I am able to immerse myself in my interest more as a part-time vintage watch dealer for Detroit Watch Exchange. Over the last year I’ve been doing this work, I’ve had the opportunity to source, wear, and sell vintage Rolex and Tudor watches, as well as Audemars Piguet. This experience definitely has helped me reflect on how I want to build my collection in the future.

Beyond watches, my other passions include expanding my wardrobe, curating a well styled apartment with vintage furniture, collecting and listening vinyl records, and adding my home bar. One of the bedrooms in my apartment is my version of a “man cave”. In it I have my clothes closet, my work desk, some mid-century modern furniture pieces like an Eames chair and storage consoles and sideboards, my home-bar cabinet, and my record table and vinyl collection. It’s my happy space where I can work, relax, listen to some good music, and enjoy a nice drink. For these other interests, I find researching, collecting, and learning new things are the main ways I cultivate the passion behind them.

What does your ideal Sunday look like?

For me, a perfect Sunday would involve sleeping in, making myself a latte with my espresso machine, taking a walk to the farmer’s market in town to get some fresh produce and maybe a new plant for my apartment. Later, I’d want to either make dinner for my partner or take them out to a restaurant, and end the day at home making myself a drink and listening to a few of my vinyl records.

Describe an interesting trip you have taken and tell us what’s the next destination on your bucket list.

Before graduating college I took a 3 month trip backpacking around Europe, visiting as many places as I feasibly could. Beyond typical tourist activities for a first time visitor, I really enjoyed spending my evenings at jazz bars and cafes for night shows and some good cocktails. My favorite city I visited was Amsterdam. I’m not sure when it would be, but a place I didn’t get to visit on that trip (due to weather mainly because I traveled in the winter) that is still on my bucket list would be the Amalfi Coast.

Tell us what can never be missing in your liquor cabinet.

A good bottle of bourbon. It’s so versatile – it’s the base of some of my favorite cocktails like an old fashioned or a whiskey sour – and it can also be good enough to drink neat depending on what you buy. Currently, I’m enjoying Eagle Rare 10 Years for mixing, and Elijah Craig Barrel Proof for drinking neat.

What are your favorite books?

Right now I’m reading The Cartiers by Francesca Cartier Brickell which is very interesting. In college, a book I found most impactful was The Jewish Writings by Hannah Arendt – which is a collection of her essays grappling with Nazi Germany, antisemitism, and political concepts such as totalitarianism. Then, a favorite from childhood was the Percy Jackson series – loved Greek mythology as a kid.

What are your favorite movies?

This is a hard question because I love movies, and there are so many good genres of films that are so different from each other. Three that come to mind though have to be The Godfather, Grand Budapest Hotel, and the Rocky series.

Never miss a story – subscribe now to the Gents Cafe Newsletter, a bite-sized read about men’s lifestyle to enjoy over a coffee or a nice cocktail.