Twenty-six-year-old Max Rich finds that our city invigorates his designer’s eye and lends fun and whimsy to his denim lines. His most recent collection, Max Rich Denim, was released just last month. But Rich’s personal aesthetic is not only about cutting-edge denim trends. He’s also a serious watch collector, who received his first high-end timepiece—a Franck Muller Conquistador—as a gift when he was 13 years old. “I loved that watch, but I was too young to wear it, so my dad held on to it for me. When I was old enough, he gave it to me to help me keep on schedule.” Among his own first purchases for the collection: Rolex, Breitling, Piaget, and a Patek Philippe Nautilus.

Rich followed in his parents’ footsteps—his family has manufactured maternity clothing for the past 35 years. “I grew up in fashion, my parents had a business, and I was the little kid playing in the rolls of fabric stacked so high it was like a mountain,” he says.

After a short stint in college, including one semester at New York’s renowned Fashion Institute of Technology, Rich decided to realize his dream of launching a denim line, so he spent two years traveling back and forth to China every other month to work in a clothing factory. There he learned garment construction, pattern making, and quality control. Upon his return in 2006, he unveiled his debut line, Angry Genes, which was an immediate success. Next came the new Max Rich Denim, which incorporates unusual washing and distressing techniques and uses fabrics with a unique stretch that contours to the body to provide a comfortable fit.

These days, Rich’s time is divided among Miami, where he says he finds peace with the sea, New York, where his family lives, and traveling the world to find new elements to feature in his collections. He owns a host of watches, including an on-trend and rugged MODUS that’s perfect for wearing while he works and on his frequent sojourns. “I’m a hands-on person, and when I’m working, I’m more comfortable with a watch that can take a beating; it’s easy to ruin a good watch in a factory. The MODUS represents my style and my personality, and is wearable.”

Rich makes it a practice to set his watches five to 10 minutes fast. “Once, I was three minutes late to a meeting, and the man wouldn’t see me. It was the principle of it for him. People want to know that you recognize that their time is as valuable as your time. Early on, I thought the watch makes the man. Now I know the man makes the watch.”

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