Although Alton Brown has a well-documented affection for bow ties, you might not have known about his obsession with vintage watches — unless, of course, you follow him on Instagram.
That obsession, which began when his dad gave him his first Timex, has actually been carefully incorporated into his long television career.
“I used to change watches every season on Good Eats because it made it very easy to recognize what season each show was from,” Brown told Men’s Journal in a recent interview. “It would be like, if one came on and we were going through footage, we would actually identify the season by what watch I was wearing. We had a chart. It changed every single season.
“There was one season where it gets messed up though, where I actually had a watch break down. I had to switch mid-season to another one and the script woman I worked with said ‘you know you're going to have a problem.’ So I went back and wore the other watch broken for the rest of that season. Which really messed me up because, as director, I’d keep looking at my watch and go, ‘Oh, dammit.’ [laughs] And I won't mention the particular brand.”
Nowadays, on Cutthroat Kitchen, Brown himself is the timekeeper, which is not a task meant for his preferred vintage watches — so he’s had to make do with a slightly more modern one.
Brown also honors the art of keeping time gracefully in Cutthroat Kitchen by making sure that the studio doesn’t have a hanging clock. “Then the competitors simply fixate on looking at the clock,” Brown explained. “I've seen that happen on other shows, so I didn't want a physical clock on the set.”
Alton’s newest show, Cutthroat Camp, premieres on Food Network tonight, August 12, at 9 p.m.