Krownlab founder Stefan Andrén has worn many hats in his career but watch design has always been of special interest. Over the years, he’s had the opportunity to design pieces for Nike, Perfect Fitness, and Phosphor.
“There’s something about wristwatches I love,” Andrén said. “There is such a compelling synergy of beautiful, high-end materials, and precise engineering.”
Recently, Andrén teamed up with fellow Portland company, Grovemade, on a unique line of wristwatches. They set out to make something as much an artifact as timepiece, an update on the classic analog interface. The watch features a hand sanded hardwood face, spherical hour markers, a precision calibrated stainless steel module, and vegetable-tanned leather wrist bands with a classic buckle.
Last month, their beautiful, minimal creation was praised on Worn and Wound, the watch aficionados resource that has been featured in the New York Times and International Watch Magazine, among others:
It almost goes without saying, but most wood watches on the market are awful. The execution is often one where all metal components are replaced with wood, resulting in watches that look and feel cheap. They also tend to be horribly derivative (wooden Submariner homage, anyone?), and one gets the sense that all these brands just contract the same factory to cobble together watches from a bin of identical parts. Grovemade is a small company out of Portland, Oregon that has grown quite a following with their wonderfully crafted wood accessories. Not long ago, they released a collection of watches that hits all the right beats from a design perspective, and you guessed it, there’s wood involved. Grovemade began in 2009 with Joe Mansfield and Ken Tomita, the former working in digital art and laser engraving and the latter a fabricator and furniture designer. The two came together to start a design-driven firm merging their specialties and interests. In the six years that they’ve been in operation, Grovemade has built up a beautiful catalogue of artisanal goods mixing metal, wood, and leather, designed and manufactured in-house and finished by hand. For their watch collection, Grovemade teamed up with Stefan Andrén, the former Design Director for Nike TechLab with a background in designing wearables for the brand.
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