**Editor's Note: We requested and received a complimentary JORD watch for review.**
In a world replete with cell phones and other digital accoutrement, a wristwatch might no longer be a necessity, but there's something serene about going old-school with a gorgeous, traditional timepiece. Not to mention that the right watch can serve as a go-to, matches-everything accessory.
For those of us who eschew animal products and also aim for an eco-friendly wardrobe, finding a band in an elegant, comfortable leather alternative is key to picking a watch that will become a wardrobe staple. Enter JORD. The St. Louis-based label's watches, including the bands, are created by a collective of artists and designers from sustainably sourced and recycled wood. They're also affordable, starting at $129. "We want to break the mold of the metal, rubber, or plastic watches and use materials that are pleasing to the eye and environment," said JORD's marketing manager Paul Saitta.
They're pleasing to the skin, too. Wood feels super-warm and seems to mold to the wrist in a way that many other materials don't. Plus, we like that no two of the watches are exactly the same. "Each timepiece is completely unique down to the grain of the wood," Paul said.
We also chatted with Paul about the inspiration behind JORD, his favorite style, and what's next for the label.
You work closely with JORD's founder Salman Shah and his team. What inspired the creation of this label?
Our team is made up of brothers and close friends that all grew up together. The brothers' father has worn a watch for as long as we can remember. There is something about a watch that will always be useful. Watches have become more than just a way to tell time, they have become a part of your wardrobe -- a fashion piece. We wanted to design something that… also gives you some insight into the person who is wearing the watch.
What influences the watches' aesthetic?
We draw our inspiration from all over. We were all fashionable kids growing up, staying up to date on the latest trends. Now we [are] the trend setters. I will admit our timepieces are more of a fashion statement than a device to tell time -- they are quite the conversation starters. There is nothing more beautiful than nature itself, so if you can take nature's beauty and put it on your wrist, we figured why not give it a shot? We are also local to St. Louis, so a lot of the names of our watches are inspired by places around the St. Louis area. We have all grown up here and feel strongly about our ties to the city. That is why we want to grow our business here.
What's your favorite JORD watch?
My personal favorite timepiece that we carry is our Dover model. It is one of our latest designs and one that we are very proud of. The 3-D numerals along the face, as well as the skeleton look, really make the watch pop on your wrist. Plus, it comes it two completely different woods, Koa and Zebra. The style of the watch says classic-yet-modern.
What's in the works for JORD?
We are always developing new models and ways to differentiate ourselves from other watchmakers. We have also discussed branching out into some different products such as tie clips, cuff links, sunglasses, belts, etc. The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to working with natural materials, and we have even discussed branching out with other materials such as stone. We try and keep our fans on their toes and get new designs out every four to five months or so. The watch market has been stagnant for so long and dominated by huge brands, and we want to break that mold.
P.S. Special thanks to our friend Juliette at spades + siLK for the excellent photography!