Worn & Wound Turns 10: a Letter from co-founder, Zach Weiss

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It’s May 2021, which means that Worn & Wound is officially ten years old. Ten. Years. Old. If this had been any other year, we’d be throwing parties and events around the country – or world – to celebrate. But, well, you’re all too aware of the situation. Don’t worry, we still have some cool stuff planned, but before getting there I wanted to start this letter off by thanking you, our readers. Whether you’ve been following us from the beginning, or this is the first post you’ve ever read on Worn & Wound, we literally would not be here without your support. So, from the bottom of our hearts, thanks. (the header image is of early Instagram photos)

some of the original logo sketches

If you would have told me back in 2011 that Worn & Wound would not only be my career, but also a company with several full-time employees, I would have laughed. When we launched Worn & Wound in May of 2011 our goal was simply to have some fun, stop ourselves from playing too many video games, and create some content that we felt was lacking on affordable watches. We didn’t realize at the time that we were at the beginning of what was going to be a resurgence in the watch industry. One fueled by small independent brands, a new wave of online watch media, and social media. I guess you could say, we lucked out.

worn & wound v1, 2011

Of course, the road has been far from easy. Though we’ve been constantly pushed by a surprising amount of support, especially in the early days when any level of traffic or growth was simply amazing, ours is, like many other small boot-strapped businesses, a story of long hours, late nights, working through the weekends for months on end, and just general blood, sweat and tears. From pulling all-nighters in Basel to unloading UHauls at 2 am after Windup Fairs, to packing up a few hundred LEs in a matter of days to get them out the door. But, 10 years later, I think I can safely say it has been worth it. Not only have we endured, but we’ve done so without investment or giving up our independence.

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Now with one of the most highly trafficked watch blogs, a podcast with a devoted following, simply the best watch fair, a successful shop with thousands of watches and tens of thousands of straps and accessories sold, a great and growing team, Worn & Wound is something we’re all very proud of. And we’re not slowing down anytime soon. We have big plans for each of the facets of our business, and as we grow, what we can bring you will get better and better.

the first version of our “watch review grid”

For the OG readers, yes, things have changed over the years, but we think for the better. At first, we were stubbornly bound to a price point that restricted us from covering much of what was happening in the industry. As our interests have grown and as our readership has gotten larger and more diverse, we’ve opened ourselves up to a broader range of industry coverage while maintaining a genuine enthusiasm for what we cover. Though you might see the likes of large luxury brands gracing our pages these days, they are right alongside the types of smaller and more value-driven brands that we’ve covered since day one. Brands that have not only continued to impress and outshine much larger companies but have started trends and set the creative bar for the industry higher.

Our first review: the Tsovet SVT-FW44
our second review: the Seiko 5 SNK803

Of course, Worn & Wound the company isn’t just the watch magazine, it’s also the Windup Watch Shop, and the Windup Watch Fair. Starting with the latter, our community-focused watch fair is the first, and still the best, fair of its kind. Launched in 2015, the Windup Watch Fair was meant to bring together the brands we covered with the enthusiasts who appreciate their work, and hopefully watch-curious passerby, in an accessible, non-pretentious setting. No walls, no white gloves, no tickets at the door. Watches, people, and good times. It’s a formula that works.

Our first show (seen in the video above), despite having the literal sidewalk in front of the venue being ripped out days before opening, was a huge success. From there, we went to Chelsea Market and then added our San Francisco show in 2018. With over twenty-thousand people coming through the combined shows each year, we think it’s safe to say it’s a success. Going into 2020, we were set to do three shows spanning the US by adding Chicago to the roster. Well, that didn’t happen, but I can assure you that the second we think we can have a safe and successful fair, we’re doing it. To stay up to date on those, head to our dedicated Windup Watch Fair site and sign up for alerts.

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Scenes from a few Windup Watch Fairs

And then there is the shop. Once Worn & Wound had some legs to it, we turned our eyes towards making some watch accessories. It might sound surprising now, but at the time finding a Horween leather strap was difficult, let alone one with some style, and watch rolls were almost non-existent. So, we launched the store as just the Worn & Wound Shop in 2012 with a small collection of straps we designed ourselves and had made the garment district of NYC. Slowly but surely it grew and allowed us to turn Worn & Wound into a full-time business.

the launch of the Windup Watch Shop in 2018

In 2015 we announced our first limited edition collaboration, in 2016 we created our go-to, US-made leather strap, the Model 2 Premium, and in 2017 we debuted ADPT, still the only fully US-made nylon mil-strap you can regularly buy. Then, in 2018, we rebranded to the Windup Watch Shop and are now an authorized retailer of over 20 watch brands. We also have dozens of straps, cases, tools, clocks, and all other sorts of cool stuff. We have nothing less than creating the greatest watch store for enthusiasts as a goal, and while we still have a lot of work to do, we’re sticking to it.

This brings us back to our 10th anniversary. Since we can’t meet up just yet, we’re planning some fun stuff for the rest of the year. There will undoubtedly be a few more self-indulgent trips down memory lane, but also content that will conjure some nostalgia for the last decade of watches. We’ll take a new look at some of the most popular watches we once reviewed, a first look at some we missed, talk to brands that have stuck it out with us, look back at trends and how they’ve changed, record some podcasts, shoot some videos and, of course, launch some incredible collaboration watches that we’re sure you will be excited to see.

The debut of the Model 2 Premium
Our first collaboration watch, made with AVI-8
ADPT strap, 2017

And once again, none of this is possible without you. So, please please please, let us know what you think. What do you like? What do you not like? What do you want to see more of from us or watch media in general? What’s your favorite watch we’ve ever reviewed? Got something to say, leave a comment below, or email us at [email protected]

One last thing. A lot has changed over the past decade. We’ve changed, the industry and community have changed, the landscape of watch media has all but recreated itself. What I, my partners, and our team hope is never lost is that Worn & Wound, Windup Watch Fair, and Windup Watch Shop are accessible, approachable, and authentic. If we veer off that path, give us a nudge in the right direction, we’ll thank you for it.

Here’s to the next ten years,
Zach Weiss, co-founder of Worn & Wound

Zach is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Worn & Wound. Before diving headfirst into the world of watches, he spent his days as a product and graphic designer. Zach views watches as the perfect synergy of 2D and 3D design: the place where form, function, fashion and mechanical wonderment come together.
wornandwound zsw
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