For most people, heading into a turn at Road Atlanta going 90 plus mph in a Jeep would be a terrifying, but slightly exhilarating experience. At this speed, the car shakes, and you feel yourself pushing the limits of physics. You begin wondering whether your helmet will actually save you, and as a parent how irresponsible you are probably being. But then, you make it without crashing, and are comforted by the fact that you now are just going 130 mph on a straightaway. At least, this was my experience. But, for the driver, Matt Farah, it was just a day at the office.
As I am gripping the door contemplating whether I am making a terrible life choice, Matt casually says “the car will slide before it rolls over.” He is like this for the whole ride; calm, collected, and walking me through each turn and straightaway with the precision of a surgeon. His instruments are the steering wheel, gas, clutch, and his incredible reflexes. He narrates each lap, never missing a chance to educate and explain exactly what we are doing. He notes how the car is reacting, and what is coming next. It isn’t lost on me that I am getting the opportunity to live out what so many of Matt’s fans love about him; his honest and unbiased opinion on a vehicle as well as his ridiculous driving abilities.
Matt Farah has been a staple in the world of driving and cars for years. He is best known for his podcast “The Smoking Tire,” which is also a videocast. When you walk around with him at a car event or venue, like Road Atlanta, you are walking with a fan-favorite celebrity. He has a larger-than-life personality on screen that isn’t dimmed at the track. As people see Farah, you can tell that they are trying to discern whether its him or not. But, once they hear him talk in his unmistakable boom they are certain. He is charismatic, funny, and gracious to each of his fans. He stops for pictures, conversations, and fields repeated questions like no one has ever asked them before. When you are talking with him, it’s just you. He isn’t focused on anything else.
The love of cars started early for Matt. When chatting, he recalls the time his dad brought home a Car and Driver magazine with a DeLorean on the front. The impact it had on him was immediate. That car was unlike any car he had ever seen before. Matt says “it looks like a spaceship, and didn’t look like Mom and Dad’s Mercury.” To this day, he still has that issue tucked in with a collection of magazines and model cars he has acquired over the years. As he continues his story it’s no surprise that one of the single-most important moments of Matt’s life was getting his license. That card, the ensuing car, and the freedom comes standard with both started him down the road to the car guy he is now.
The transition from cars to watches isn’t a stretch. They are both built with precision engines to make them work and perform optimally. Their engines are then encased in a beautiful exterior with unique stylings. They have personalities, and so like cars, Matt is also into watches. He has a great collection and is the co-host of the Watch and Listen podcast with his friend Cameron Weiss.
Matt’s collection began with a Baume & Mercier that was a gift from his Dad as a college graduation present. It has a white dial and stainless steel bezel. At the time he didn’t know much about watches but knew that is was Swiss and that meant something. Though he doesn’t wear it very often anymore, he still has the watch that started it all.
About ten years ago, Matt moved to Los Angeles. As a parting gift, his Dad got him a Kermit Submariner. At the time he knew it was a beast of a watch. He saw his father wear one for the better part of 30 years. It wasn’t until he met his now friend Spike Firestein, and Spike commented on the uniqueness of that particular watch, that he realized he had something special.
From there his love of watches grew. After he met Cameron he got a Weiss. Weiss watches are an American-made watch from southern California and created by a Swiss-trained watchmaker. But, don’t go searching for it on the site. Matt has a one of one. His Weiss is a paint to sample dial that is in French racing blue. To him, that watch is very special because the hands of one of his good friends made it.
It seems that many of Matt’s watches come from his connection to people he loves. His Dad was the president and COO of Ralph Lauren for 20 years. During that time, they had a partnership with Richemont. Ralph Lauren is a huge watch guy, and so it was important to him that they produce a great timepiece. To that end, Matt now has a Ralph Lauren chronograph with a JLC movement that was a gift to his Dad from Ralph himself. As far as he knows, there are less than 50 of these watches in stainless steel and only 5 in white gold (what he has) in the world, and he is proud to own it.
His collection doesn’t end there. In the box are various Seiko’s and Rolex, as well as an IWC Perpetual Calendar. He is intrigued by the “crazy math machine” inside that watch that will track days, weeks, and years long after we are gone. This is why he doesn’t care for smartwatches, quartz, or things of that nature. To him, they are fleeting, and the machines inside don’t compare to the powerful mechanical pieces.
After over a decade in southern Los Angeles, Matt is the embodiment of southern California. He is an easygoing, no frills kind of guy who has Pumas and a rolled-sleeve button down for almost any occasion. He has taken to the sun and palm trees so well it’s hard to believe he is a transplant and not a native. Matt’s watches reflect just that. They are a collection of unique pieces that are mostly on canvas or leather straps without a lot of flash. Like his cars, he has altered many of them to make them his own and in true “The Smoking Tire” style, Matt is giving each of them a crazy 100 mph plus story.