Summer 2020

BRANDS WE LOVE Brands We Love:



f we wore wristwatches only to tell time, they would have gone the way of the dinosaur around the time we all started carrying mobile phones. But a watch, they say, can tell you a lot about a person. Do you flaunt your wealth? Are you adventurous? Are you practical? Do you value craftsmanship? When the Beltran brothers, Ryan and

Andrew, started Original Grain in 2013, they set out to build watches that would be different from everything else in the timepiece category. Sure, everyone said that starting a business of making and selling watches would be competitive and difficult to crack. And the biggest brands in the industry have rich company heritages that date back more than a century. But that didn’t stop Ryan and Andrew. To create their own niche, the Beltrans

began building watches from materials that no one else was using. In many cases, that was reclaimed wood—from whiskey barrels, craft beer barrels, or koa wood from Hawaii. It reminded them, they say, of the time they spent playing outside as kids growing up in the Pacific Northwest. Taking a nod from Andrew’s days serving in the military, they also wanted to use repurposed military surplus items, including fabric from things such as military tents, bomber jackets, and camouflage clothing.

Original Grain likes to say that every watch is not just a timepiece but a piece of time, an ethos that has helped make the San Diego-based company a success story. An initial Kickstarter campaign in 2013 raised $390,000 in just 30 days, giving the brothers reason to believe they had found something unique. At the time, they had just 200 handcrafted watches in their entire inventory. A second Kickstarter campaign raised another $420,000, allowing them to fully launch the company. Because they preserve the character of the materials used to make each watch, no two watches in the Original Grain collections are exactly the same, meaning the one you buy is uniquely yours. Consumers and media have taken notice, and the rise of Original Grain has been chronicled by the likes of Forbes, GQ, Travel + Leisure, NBC News, and more. Storytelling is at the heart of the brand’s success, right down to their mantra that every

watch tells its own story, because every piece of material is unique. By favoring traditional woodworking techniques over more modern approaches, Original Grain watches aim to retain a touch of “personal craftsmanship and authenticity.” On the company’s website,, you can shop by the type of wood you want in your watch—from reclaimed whiskey-barrel wood to reclaimed ammunition- crate wood to the wood that was once used in the seats at the old Yankee Stadium or at Wrigley Field. Imagine the vision, ingenuity, and craftsmanship to make something so beautiful from products such as these. The content that the brand creates is on par aesthetically with its timepieces. The blog on highlights in- depth information on how the watches are created, but it also goes beyond the scope of products. The Original Stories section features written and video profiles about people with

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