Original Grain is the premiere maker of wood and steel watches. They have made watches from reclaimed materials like whiskey barrels and seats from old Yankee Stadium. We sat down with Ryan Beltran the founder of the company to learn more about Original Grain and why people are going crazy over these watches!
Whats your background?
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon) and always had a love for the outdoors. It was just part of life, and a big inspiration for the brand. I went to college in my hometown, at the University of Oregon. Studied business and had an aha moment my senior year to start developing a product. I moved to Hong Kong in 2011 to pursue my dream of starting a brand and spent 3 years there working to perfect our design and product.
Why did you decide to start Original Grain?
Original Grain was always a dream of mine since I was kid. Not specially wood and steel watches, but a fashion brand that was built on unique, quality products. I’ve always loved accessories for men, mainly shoes, but watches are also the other mainstay for guys when it comes to showing a little style and self expression.
You started the company with your brother, how’s that been?
Working with my brother Andrew is one of the most rewarding and fun parts of owning this business. We have always been best friends. We’re 2 years and 2 days apart, so we celebrated every birthday together and in many ways it was like being twins growing up. We played sports together growing up and Andrew was always ahead of the curve for his age so was on most of my teams. There are always things that happen in business that you may not agree on but the level trust we have for outweighs any of that. And to be honest, we see pretty eye to eye on most all decisions.
Where does the design influence for Original Grain come from?
It starts with the materials. We’ve always wanted to push the boundaries of what could be used in a watch design. Things like reclaimed whiskey barrels or 100 year old stadium seats just weren’t part of the watch category. We also focus on clean designs that celebrate that material, but lean on the stainless steel base to give it that weight, durability, and quality.
Whats your favorite Original Grain watch and why?
Shoot, that’s a tough one. One of my all-time favorites is the Rosewood Classic because it was part of our first line and wasn’t planned at the beginning, but sold really well in our first Kickstarter. It’s more nostalgic for me that anything, but it’s a best seller and staple piece in the entire collection. Another good one is the Marc Burlwood Chrono as it goes with everything and Burlwood is such a cool exotic wood.
What publications have featured Original Grain?
Original Grain is one of the most funded fashion campaigns ever on Kickstarter and has been featured in: Maxim, GQ, High Snobiety, Inc Magazine, The LA Times, Cool Material, NBC News, Forbes + many more leading publications!
Why have your watches been called “The Perfect Gift”
Original Grain watches are the perfect gift for any occasion because of their overall quality and unique look. You can feel confident knowing that the recipient hasn’t received anything like this before. And because wood is a natural material, no two watches are the same. They’re all unique. Our watches are amazing conversation starters when worn out in public too!
How does Original Grain give back?
Give back has always been a pillar of the brand. We plant a tree for every watch sold and to date have planted over 500,000 trees (and counting).
With our military collection we donate a portion of proceeds to a local charity in San Diego called Active Valor that supports children of soldiers who were killed in combat. An important one as my brother served in the Marines Corps.
We also take a super sustainable approach with our materials. Most are reclaimed and upcycled, but everything is sustainably sourced.
Editors Note: Original Grain is offering 30% off for a limited time. We cannot guarantee any specific items will still be in stock at the time of publication.