If you are a bourbon lover like me, or even a whiskey lover – not to mention that you like to make a statement on your wrist—you will want to take a look at the Original Grain Bourbon Watch made from real American Oak from Jim Beam Bourbon barrels. We spent a month wearing the watch and are bringing you a close-up look – just in times for the holidays because this could be the absolutely perfect gift item.
First, the watch is built by Original Grain, a fairly young company that specializes in creating dials and accents on dials out of a variety of woods, including maple, burlwood and rosewood. The concept of using wood on watches is not new, in fact it was a short-lived trend in the 1980’s. Bringing it back at an affordable price range is a smart move. These Barrel watches blend the right amount of wood grain and metal for special appeal.
For those nature-minded folks who worry about our forests, Original Grain has a great replanting program in place that makes me like it even better. The company works with “Trees for the Future,” a non-profit organization, and plants 10 trees for every single watch sold.
So, back to the newest watch. The line is the result of a superb collaboration with Jim Beam that enables Original Grain to use reclaimed American Oak from the Jim Beam bourbon barrels to create a special series of 47mm Barrel watches. Each watch features a concave bourbon barrel wood bezel, a complete wood dial and, for the bracelet version, inset wood links on the bronze PVD coated stainless steel bracelet.
The watch is sold in a “Gentlemen’s Kit” and is a pretty fantastic boxed set in Oak wood with the Jim Beam and Original Grain logos engraved on it. Open the wood box, and the contents include the watch, with certificate of authenticity and numbers, an Original Grain branded flask, a premium Italian leather strap in a saddle color, the wood-grain inset 316 L stainless steel bracelet, a tool for removing the links and replacing the strap and a branded wood emblem form the Jim Beam barrels. In all, it is a strong gift set with a real masculine attitude.
As to the watch, it is a 316L stainless steel case with burnished bronze finish. Just 500 pieces are being made and so each is numbered. The watch houses the automatic 8215 Miyota movement with 21 jewels and offering 40 hours of power reserve.
With the technical details out of the way, lets get to the real feel of the watch. It is big and it is hefty on the wrist. You know it’s there and you are not going to forget it, but then, this is exactly the type of watch you would expect from the whiskey or bourbon drinker because it says you know who you are and what you like. Thanks to the bronze finish of the case and lugs, the watch has both a rugged yet refined look all at once.
It is the oak concave bezel and the distinctive oak dial – complete with age rings and a variety of wood coloration – that makes you take a second look at the watch. It is clean, crisp and unusual. The markers are black with four roman numerals, including 12, 03, 06, and 09 – all in a nod to symmetry. At 6:00 on the dial sits the Jim Beam logo. The case back is a transparent sapphire that allows for viewing of the movement and that also features the Original Grain and Jim Beam names. Engraved on the outer steel ring are the words: Crafted from American Oak Whiskey Barrel Wood.”
I personally liked the saddled colored strap with the watch better than the grained wood-inset link bracelet, but that may be because the bracelet was just too big for my wrist – even when properly sized; it was all too big of a package. The supple leather strap, though, fit like a charm and added a touch of American “West” to it. The watch – with the complete Gentleman’s Kit – retails for a really affordable price of $499. Not too much money for a lot of look and feel – not to mention that brown liquor appeal.