Preserve.us: Game of Throne
What happens when you put together a group of young guys, a few beers and a couple wild ideas? A party, sure...or a brilliant business plan. For these four ambitious friends, Throne watches was the happy, if unlikely, result.
“We were hanging out just shooting the shit about business and it just kinda clicked,” Joe says. “We all saw eye to eye. We were like, we need to do something together.” But what? “We first wanted to start a laundromat-bar. We had a fifty-page business plan,” Zack says. The boys still laugh at this and agree it’s a decent idea. “I had all these books like How to Manage a Coin Operated Laundry Business. There would be a drop-off and beer combo,” Joe says.
While they were scheming ways to take the sobriety out of your laundry day, they came up with something more...refined. Zack was with a company doing leather work, his bedroom constantly draped in cowhides of various shades—and the guys had the idea to take old watch faces and create new leather bands for them. “We started making them and wearing them and we were so proud of them and excited, and then our friends were like, I want one! So we started making them for friends,” Joe says.
At the time, they were working out of Zack’s place in the East Village. Literally in his kitchen, sitting and hanging out and making watch bands for hours. Zack’s roommate wasn’t happy.
“She was like, ‘Listen. You can’t fill the whole kitchen and living room with watches and beer,’” Zack says.
But they were men on a mission: Going around the city to jewelry shops and vintage stores, putting down a couple hundred dollars of their own money to get about 15 watch faces, and then heading back to Zack’s kitchen to “dress them up,” as Travis says. “It’s a whole new thing, it’s something else. We’re taking something that’s okay and good and taking it to the next level.”
They eventually moved out of the kitchen and right on up. First there was a pop-up shop, then a new studio, and finally, they landed in a great, lofty space right on the border of Williamsburg and Greenpoint. All within two years. Boom.
Now they’re handcrafting watch bands for both vintage and found faces, as well as their own designs. They paired up with Smith & Bradley, one of the few American watchmakers, for their Throne 1.0. It’s a Throne face design with all Swiss parts, hand assembled at Smith & Bradley. The faces then arrive at Throne to get their leather accoutrement, most of which comes from Horween Leather, one of the original American tanneries.
According to Greg, it takes about 20 to 30 minutes to complete a watch band, depending on how much time you’re spending talking or sipping on coffee or beer. (Accurate—we watched him make one right in front of us.) But they’re not taking their sweet time: “We’re all super competitive, so we want to make the fastest and the best watch bands,” Greg says. We won’t pick favorites.