Lifestyle

Meet Alejandro Alcocer: Rolex Designer, Porsche Collector, Renaissance Man

Defining Alejandro Alcocer is no easy task. Throughout his “career,” if you can call it that, he’s jumped from project to project, field to field, accumulating spectacular limited-edition collections and establishing himself as a player in arenas where recognition often takes a lifetime. 

Last week, the minor art-world celeb invited Supercompressor to stop by his bohemian Lower East Side emporium in NYC to get an up-close look at all the unique projects he’s been developing. Are you a Rolex fan? Stick around then. 

Alcocer's background, unsurprisingly, is as eclectic as his life's work. After finishing high school at age 16, Alcocer became a skateboarding entrepreneur in lieu of accepting a spot at MIT. At 18, he decided to try his hand at cooking, and finagled his way into the kitchen at a three-starred Michelin restaurant in San Sebastián, Spain. For awhile, Alcocer bounced between Europe and the US, but finally ended up in New York where he began to customize collectable objects in limited editions.

It all started with a vintage Rolex—a rare black Explorer that he says was produced for a Royal Navy station in South Africa in the 1960s. This is something that Rolex will neither confirm nor deny. 

After noting the extreme difficulty in procuring the watch—which he did, of course—Alcocer decided to customize a series of vintage Explorers, blackening them with a proprietary coating and selling them to like-minded black Rolex enthusiasts (you can buy one here). With the coating, they’re more than just stealth-looking timepieces. 

“I can take this through a metal detector, and it doesn’t detect,” he says. Thus began Alcocer’s unique watch series, perfect for Rolex lovers who never want their grails to leave their wrists.

The “Black” limited editions of various Rolex Submariners, Explorers, and GMTs just begin to scratch the surface of this Renaissance man’s many projects. For example, he’s kept close to his culinary roots with “Green,” a catering service, and “Brown,” a café.

One of his most noteworthy pursuits is his incredible car collection. Actually, “car collection” may be misleading. “It’s all the same car,” he told us with a laugh, gesturing to a model of a Porsche 914, the failed VW collaboration. “Just different colors.” He has five. So far. 

Crafted on the 917 racing chassis, the built-by-VW car was supposed to be “the Porsche for everybody,” he says, “but for the Volkswagen people, it was too expensive, to the Porsche people, it was a Volkswagen.” Then why bring it back now? 

“Even to this day it’s incredibly relevant,” he says. “With the original engine, it gets 30 mpg, it drives like a go-kart, it has two trunks, and it has a hard top. It’s fantastic.” When he finishes collecting every color, he plans on re-releasing the 914 as a limited edition, maybe selling them back to Porsche. “Or release them as electric cars,” he says. 

Alcocer also dabbles in high-end leather goods. He was inspired to develop his own line of unisex leather bags after closely inspecting some of the finest and most sought-after leather products on the planet: the Hermes Birkin, expensive handbags (they can fetch up to $150,000 each) that are produced in such limited quantities that people sit on a waiting list for months, even years, to receive one. He collects those, too.

One of his newer undertakings has been a line of capes for women, an accessory he says is beautiful and timeless. Say what you will about going all-in on something as seemingly random and specific as capes, but you can’t argue with the quality—they’re fashioned from Loro Piana wool, rated the finest in the world. 

He’s also tackled personal audio. More specifically: engineering custom sound systems from vintage stereo components (you guessed it—another collection of his), which he believes provide the authentic, vinyl aural experience far better than any modern setup. 

And after getting the chance to listen to the one he’s built in his office—and tuned specifically for the shape of it—we’re inclined to agree.

While there is certainly no shortage of distractions strewn about his relatively modest office, it’s hard not to be drawn to the furniture. At this point, it’s probably not too surprising to learn that it, too, has been his handiwork. 

Alcocer has perhaps become best known for his signature, minimalist wooden and leather pieces, which require no hardware whatsoever, but rather are constructed via a series of interlocking sections, a Japanese-inspired style.

His reputation on the furniture front has also earned him some big projects, including a commission to furnish an entire home in Montauk this summer (scale models for some of the pieces, fashioned from tape and thick stock paper, are pictured above).

Of course he isn’t settling for run-of-the-mill timber for it; everything he’s making will be constructed using wood from five maple trees sourced from a single property in Vermont.

And if all this weren’t enough to keep him busy, he’s simultaneously putting the finishing touches on a line of limited-run soaps and grooming products, each of which are concocted from natural, single-origin ingredients like lavender, jasmine, and ylang ylang. He’s sourcing from regions of the world where there is no opportunity for products to be tainted by cross-pollination; e.g., remote islands off the coast of Africa and around the South Pacific. 

“It’s limited edition in the sense that when we run out of the lavender from Madagascar, we will find another from somewhere else,” he says. “We will never mix them.” We smelled the stuff. Spoiler alert: it’s the real deal.

After the skin and interior design projects are completed, it’s anyone’s guess what he’ll do next. If his career trajectory up until this point is any indication, though, it’s bound to be unconventional and incredibly successful. 


Joe McGauley is a senior editor at Supercompressor. He’s down with capes. 

Ethan Wolff-Mann is an editor at Supercompressor. He can now sort of tell the difference between two different lavenders. Follow him on Twitter @ewolffmann.