Nine years after his first Essentials appearance, entrepreneur and celebrity jeweler Ben Baller is back to give us an updated look at his list of mainstay personal items. Products on display reflect Baller’s profession, lifestyle, and successes including a gold Dogecoin, Ben Baller Sharpie, 10x Professional Jewelers Loupe, McLaren Senna keys, Dave & Busters Powerband, and more. As almost a decade has passed, we’ve taken the opportunity to ask the diamond guru about select items and to catch up on what he has in the works.
What have you been up to lately and what’s been keeping you excited?
I just dropped the biggest chain of my entire 17-year career as a jeweler, a Ben Baller x KAWS ONE commissioned by Kid Cudi. It’s not every day you get to make a million-dollar piece of jewelry and not lie about the value like these other jewelers do. It’s also Brian’s first jewelry entry into his KAWS archive so that was a huge honor. I’m doing less work in jewelry but much bigger jobs. My jewelry collab tour with Murakami is on hold until the pandemic is over but my business is so solid, I’m not worried. I just totally renovated my Beverly Hills flagship IF AND CO store location, so between my brand partnerships and cannabis business, I’m very busy. My podcast has taken off too, and we’ve been in the top 10 business entrepreneurship charts for the last 2 years.
We see that you have a Dogecoin and a Bitcoin chain and understand you released an NFT with Nicky Diamonds not too long ago. What’s your relationship with crypto?
I’ve been involved in crypto for a long time, since 2012. I was in bitcoin early under $1 USD and the same with Doge under $.003 USD and I’m also a part of the DOGE community. I’ve dabbled with NFT’s and made some money but Bitcoin is where things got serious just over a year ago and this year with the gains. I’ve seen 8 figures in profit and still holding. I actually cashed out 8 figures in April of this year.
Is there a story behind the blacked-out Patek?
The watch game is so ridiculous now that it’s not fun. $35,000 USD watches going for $100k USD, $75,000 USD watches going for $250k USD, it’s all madness. I’ve owned Pateks since 2015 and before the pandemic began I had 47 watches in my personal collection. I’m now down to five watches I really like, and to say F U to all the purists or so-called collectors, I had T Black completely PVD(DLC) coat my Patek Nautilus 5726 black on black. I paid about $26,000 for the watch used and it was my daily beater. After I blacked it out, I love it so much more. FYI, the process is reversible and nobody would be able to tell. It really bothers some folks that I blacked out a $100k watch.
We see that your daily carry has been essential for the past decade. Is this mainly for protection or are you an avid range goer?
Yes, my daily carry has changed a few times from a Glock 26 to a Glock 27 to a Glock 43 (law enforcement only for CA) and now a Sig Sauer P365. This is a really hard gun to get, in fact, it fetches 400% retail easily in CA and you still can’t get one. It’s the perfect daily carry in terms of size and it’s 9mm so it has stopping power and is really smooth with no kick. As for using it outside of a range, unfortunately, about 9 years ago, right around the time of the first Essentials, I did have to use my firearm to protect my family from an intruder who was still on my property. Good thing I obeyed all laws and was able to protect myself and my family. I’ve actually never spoken about this before publicly.
We spot the Truff Hot Sauce. What’s your favorite spot in LA and how often do you pull out the Truff?
I actually did a collaboration with Truff hot sauce and I think I was the first and only collab they’ve ever had. I’ve always been a foodie before that term ever existed. I don’t have one set of favorite restaurants in LA as there are too many food groups to choose from but I do frequent my hometown Koreatown often for Korean food of course. My favorite restaurant Dong Il Jang closed down during the pandemic after 40+ years of business and it’s sad because that was my A1 go-to spot for Korean food period. I remember bringing Bourdain there to film the Koreatown special. I could mention fancy spots, but really, I eat at more common places like Asanebo, or T.O.T. and my new favorite burger spot Burger She Wrote. When I can, I prefer to hit El Taurino in KTOWN for tacos. It’s really tough to visit my favorite spots ever since the pandemic though. And yes, sorry to your question, I use TRUFF every single day on pizza, fries, tacos, Chinese food, almost on anything and everything.
Take at Ben’s product spread above, and stay tuned for more Essentials pieces in the coming weeks.
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For more from the Essentials series, we recently caught up with Yuthanan of Sillage.
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