Interview with Brandon from Bagley Watch Co.
Bagley Watch Co. was founded with one mission: to build incredibly unique, handcrafted watches. Portland Maine native, Brandon Bagley, started Bagley Watch Co. to fill a void in the watch community and follow his passion: Watchmaking. Blending locally sourced and exotic grains with premium automatic movements is where he made his claim in the watch community. We were happy to interview Brandon and learn his story!
When did you first find a fascination with Bagley Watch Co. watches?
About 7 years ago I think it was now; I was working out at a local fitness club when I met a yoga instructor wearing a watch that caught my eye. I always knew about major brands like Tag, Rolex, Breitling, etc. but nothing model specific. After quite a bit of conversation, I asked him about his watch and he gave me the rundown. A vintage, all-original, tropical dial Rolex Submariner from the ’50s. Even without knowing much about timepieces, I just knew that watch had class. Every scratch on the crystal and nick on the case could tell a story. A story that will never be told. That is the watch that got me into it all.
How/where did you learn how to put together Bagley Watch?
I’m a self-taught individual and a quick learner of things. As my interest in the hobby grew I realized all the watches I wanted were either in need of good service to run properly or weren’t running at all. I took a dive into a few pieces that needed service a bit more than a year ago now and have come a long way since then. Reading watch repair and servicing books, along with YouTube, have been huge resources. Aside from the studying, getting my hands dirty and working on various timepieces has been the biggest learning tool.
What inspired you to design your own watch faces and start Bagley Watches?
I remember sitting on my couch back in February telling my Fiancée that I wanted to start making Bagley Watches, not just repairing and servicing vintage pieces. Mass-produced wood watches have grown in popularity but have always lacked the quality I look for in a watch. Some major brands have dabbled with wood as a dial material but never really stuck. Seeing this break in the market I gave a few prototypes a shot and figured out rather quickly what was required to make a wood-dialed watch come to life. After building my first few pieces I realized that I was onto something and decided to keep on pushing forward with my work. Stoked that I did!
How did you narrow down the final design and overall look of your Bagley Watch products?
The overall look and final design of my pieces are inspired, and easily seen, from the Rolex I saw on that yoga instructor’s wrist 7 years ago. I have always loved the look of the Submariner and decided to follow suit with that diver type. Going this route made it easier for me to enter the watch-building realm, as sourcing cases and parts for these types of watches is much easier and more cost-effective. I’m a small-time watchmaker and one-man show, not a crowdfunded brand being mass-produced overseas. Going the route I have allows me to make some great timepieces without the need for the big financial backing that manufacturers often require.
What types of wood do you use in your Bagley Watch products?
I use reclaimed, exotic, and locally harvested wood for my work. Maine Maple and Oak, for example, are my most popular. Dial grain selection is one of my favorite parts of each watch I build.
What can you tell us about the technical details of the Bagley Watch?
The two watches I made for Clockwork Synergy are part of my Sunken series of dive watches, both are using automatic movements. The darker reclaimed Purpleheart dialed piece is using a DG4813 automatic movement and mineral crystal glass. The date windowed piece is using a Birdseye Maple, sapphire crystal, and Miyota 8215 automatic movement. Both are cased in stainless steel, and both use solid stainless-steel bracelets. Such great builds! I loved incorporating the Clockwork Synergy logo into each piece really giving it a personal touch and flare!
Briefly, please describe your typical process in creating your Bagley Watch co. pieces!
It all starts with dial grain selection. Woodworking is a pretty tough process after the grain is selected. From working the wood into a veneer, then a perfect circle trimmed and cut, to the final engraving of markers, it is a long process. A process that takes a ton of patience. It’s calming and stressful all at the same time! I have spent 4 hours at times on a dial. A SINGLE DIAL! All because the grain was loose and its wood fibers were just waiting to split at any given moment. This happens often. In the end, when the watch is complete it pays off to see the hard work in its final form. A watch that is truly one of a kind.
What’s your “day job” when you’re not designing new Bagley watches or is this your full-time passion?
I work for a local PR, marketing, and publishing firm here in Portland, Maine, Trueline Strategies. I wear quite a few different hats overall but focus a bit more on the IT side of things throughout my day-to-day. My goal is to someday soon build watches full-time.
Do you have plans for a new type of Bagley Watch design in the future?
I do! I’ve been messing around with a few different styles of Pilot’s watches and lumens, as well as learning the ropes of diamond setting with the goal of having a few diamond-dialed pieces available. Lots of great stuff coming for sure!
Brandon went above and beyond expectations when he delivered these two custom watches to our shop! We are excited to share the chance for our viewers to enter to win their choice of either of these watches! In this collaboration, these are the only two watches that exist with our shared logo on the face. If you are a collector of fun unique watches (or a super fan of Clockwork Synergy!) then enter below to win this rare item (as well as several watch bands of course!)!
To enter, find an image of this post on our social media channels. Give our pages and image a “Like”, and then comment on the image if you collect unique watches, or if you would like to start! Don’t forget to tag a friend as well so they have a chance to win as well!
This giveaway will last for 2 weeks, and a winner will be announced shortly after 8-28-17!