Do you like watches? I should hope so, given what you’re reading. Do you like drinking coffee? I tend to think it’s strange if you don’t. Do you like watching a guy talk about watches while drinking coffee? Then you’re probably already familiar with Adrian Barker, founder of Bark & Jack, a watch guy and aficionado of fine caffeinated beverages.
That said, while you may well be all caught up on his opinions on watches, we thought we’d take the time to meet and interview the man behind the YouTube videos and Instagram content, take a break from the horological and find out a bit more about who Adrian Barker is.
The Last Watch I Bought was actually the Moonswatch. I got a couple of them, Jupiter and Uranus with the idea of me having the Uranus and my son having the Jupiter. By the time I got home with them I’d kind of fallen in love with the Jupiter so now we kind of share it. A lot of people think it devalues the Speedmaster, but honestly, I think Omega did that themselves years back when they started pumping out endless limited editions. This? It’s just a fun, plastic Speedmaster; it is what it is. It has also got me paying a lot more attention to other Swatch releases, so it’s done its job.”
Other Than Watches I Collect cameras. I have a huge amount of cameras. Old reel-to-reel vintage video cameras, my great-granddad’s old Kroll, I have a whole selection. I like the look of them, but also love the mechanical side of them. I don’t have time to fiddle about and use them, but I love how they come with instructions – sometimes bolted to the case. They’re from a completely different era where if you don’t get the shot, you get the film developed and it’s too late. I also collect modern cameras as well; probably too many.”
At The Top Of My Wishlist is a Defender 90, one of the last generations of Defender. I want to get the 2.2-litre station wagon and I’m currently doing a moodboard to pin down what I want it to have as you can customise them quite a way. I don’t want anything crazy, I like the traditional look, just a few things to make it safer and more secure. It’ll happen at some point.
My Latest Discovery is actually a rediscovery of the Alps. I hate people talking about Covid, but I’ve recently come back from Switzerland to shoot a few videos, my first time travelling since lockdown. It sounds so default but I really enjoyed getting out there and exploring. We hiked to some caves halfway up the Matterhorn and just properly explored; wore technical clothing in a fairly dangerous environment. We needed a guide through the glacier. It was just about being out in the elements.
I’m Inspired By anyone doing cool stuff – or stuff they think is cool. I’m inspired by people following their passion, it always motivates me. I watched a TikTok the other day of some Irish chap making a traditional mallet. It wasn’t just a handle with a chunk of wood at the top, it was curved to his swing so that when he struck something it would make perfect contact – it was awesome! We’re programmed to focus on money and success through what we earn, our position. That stuff doesn’t excite me. It’s all about passion.
A Book that Changed my Life is ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ by Mark Manson. It’s a very simple premise, but sometimes you just need to be told the simple things. Losing weight is about moving more and eating less, but sometimes you just need to be told directly. The book’s premise is to stop caring what other people think, that you need to focus on what you enjoy, and to stop judging yourself by other people’s standards. As a social media generation that’s something we all really struggle with.
A Person I Admire is Steven Bartlett. His podcast, The Diary of a CEO is something that everyone needs to listen to. I have a bit of a man-crush on him. He did an episode with Jimmy Carr and of course there were comedic elements, but Carr was dropping perspective-shifting bits of information about his own life; the dark upbringing that he copes with through comedy. Bartlett’s method of interviewing is phenomenal, too. I imagine he’s going to be a huge part of our cultural conversation. He’s simply incredible.
My Ideal Long Weekend probably ages me a bit: a sleepy weekend of nothing along the British coast. Overcast, jumper weather, just drinking coffee in a nice coffee shop, eating fresh pastries. That to me sounds perfect. Or I’d be fine spending a weekend in a chalet in the Alps, having someone else do life for me. That would work, too.
In My Fridge You’ll Always Find meat. I’m obsessed with meat. Cured hams, salami, steak, that’s kind of my thing. Typically, foreign meats, French, German, Spanish. There’s a great delicatessen near where I get my coffee in Glasgow and it’s often a weekly routine of getting my beans then loading up on hams. I like food!
The Mantra I Live By is simple: be happy. Find the stuff that truly makes you happy. It’s drilled into us at school that you need a high paying job, that you need to be this or be that, this is what success looks like, that you need to holiday every year in the Maldives. It’s not true, we’re sold that. For some people it might be, but it’s not the only way. Life is about finding your happy, finding what works for you and if you don’t feel happy you just have to keep searching for it.
Follow Adrian Barker at Bark & Jack’s website, YouTube and Instagram.