Timex® and The James Brand have come together for the duo’s first collaboration—an alliance based firmly on an appreciation for design and attention to detail. Cut from the same cloth, the brands share in their dedication to producing distinctive, quality products that not only sit comfortably between modern minimalism and true craftsmanship, but also work when you need them to, no questions asked.
To help bring the launch of The James Brand x Timex Expedition North Titanium Automatic Watch to life, we sat down with Portland, Oregon-based Ryan Coulter, Founder & Chief Creative Officer of The James Brand.
First, Ryan, why Timex?
“One of our main objectives at The James Brand is to elevate traditional tools, like the pocketknife, from the tactical realm and into a space in which they carry some form of emotional currency. Our collaboration with Timex tells an integrated story—one that’s centered around strengthening the connective tissue between the product and the wearer.”
What inspired The James Brand to collaborate on a wristwatch as its latest product?
“We don’t want to be in the watch business [laughs], my business partner was in the watch business for 17 years. But the idea of coordinating our products between the pocket and the wrist in terms of colors, finishes, materials, and brand is a big part of who we are. That’s really ‘us’ at our best, and we were super excited about this opportunity when it came to us.”
Tell us more about that coordination.
“In our world—the world of everyday carry—everybody has all this stuff in their pockets, but when they put it on a table, there isn’t necessarily a strong connection between any of the objects. We thought bringing some cohesivity to these items would be really valuable.”
What do you think followers of both brands will appreciate most about this collaboration?
“Overall, I think people will celebrate the fact that [both Timex and The James Brand] were able to communicate [our] core values and aesthetics across multiple categories. From the Timex Expedition North customer to the large and growing ‘everyday carry’ crowd, people will appreciate that we’ve managed to expand ourselves without sacrificing who we are.”
What do you believe this watch says about its wearer?
“One, that this person really does care about quality—the premium nature of materials—and really pays attention to details, which is what has always made the watch category so amazing. No one does details like watchmakers. You’re working within such fine spaces and limited real estate. But [this watch also reflects] those who, from the city to the trail, are really going to use all of those features. The key was to design something that could span the distance.”
Part of what makes this timepiece so unique for Timex is the 41mm titanium case. What was the thought process behind that manufacturing decision?
“Titanium is considered to be one of the best materials, not because it’s the most expensive, but because it has such beautiful finish characteristics. It’s also high performing. It expresses an aesthetic all its own, yet it’s the lightest, the strongest, and often the right answer to a particular need [in our industry]. You’re going to be able to depend on this to do what you need it to do in various environments—not just from the top of your dresser, but actually in the field and in use. That’s very much ‘us.’ I hope people love and covet the things we make, but also know that when you need us, we will be there for you.”
What are some of the other stylistic or functional features of this watch that encapsulate The James Brand?
“I think the fact that [this watch has] an automatic movement is a really big deal. It’s such a subtlety to people who don’t know watches, but when you flip it over and see the movement in motion, it’s pretty incredible. The 200-meter water-resistant feature is important too, because again, not only is this thing beautiful, but it also performs in some heavy-duty environments.”
Finally, will you wear one, Ryan?
“Absolutely. I can’t wait. This watch [that I’m currently wearing] is very personal to me, but I’m definitely going to swap it out with this one. I want that coordinated kit—that red thread tie-in between a few of my everyday carry objects. Those kinds of details, and that kind of holistic thinking, matters to me. I want my values expressed, on my wrist, and in my pocket.”