How this wooden watch brand is time-traveling customers to another era.
If you’ve ever laid eyes on a vintage Jeep Grand Wagoneer, you’ve witnessed the fucking magic that happens when you pair wood with metal.
This is how I felt the first time I experienced an Original Grain timepiece, like I was starring at a relic from America’s pastime.
(Or, rather, what would surely one day become a relic from America’s pastime).
For the unfamiliar.
Original Grain took the internet by storm five or six years ago after it launched a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign that rung in $430,000 in crowdfunding for a product they dubbed The Barrel — a striking watch made from reclaimed whiskey barrels.
If you’ve read Stranger than fiction before, you know these watch wizards aren’t the first ones to make gold from the “trash” nobody wants — Kingsford Charcoal was, quite literally, born from the ashes of Ford Motor’s wood scraps.
However, the difference between Kingsford and Original Grain, is that the latter is doing the impossible… they’re transforming wood scraps into something more than charcoal but craftsmanship that evokes a feeling of nostalgia.
Nostalgia in marketing.
Andy Bernard from The Office (and yes, I’m quoting The Office) once said…
“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”
What Andy is describing is “Nostalgia”, a sentimental feeling of longing or wistful affection for the past.
Nostalgia is why vintage vehicles like the Jeep Grand Wagoneer go for $100,000 today.
Some of the world’s most successful consumer brands create a feeling of nostalgia the moment a customer spots them.
If you peruse Original Grain’s Instagram, it’s like watching a Wagoneer roll off the line back in 1980 — it transports you back to a time you may have not necessarily experienced yourself, but a time you feel is worth knowing
This is the transcendent power of nostalgia. It can be felt even if you’ve never actually experienced the time yourself.
It’s why 90s kids love 70s Rock & Roll Tess.
It’s why Spotify will never be as romantic as vinyl.
It’s why Chuck Taylors will never go out of style.
(And, it’s probably why Original Grain won’t either).
In a world where watches are as competitive as high-stakes poker, Original Grain is choosing to exist in a different time.
By Cole Schafer.