Wristwatches became popular in the 1920’s. And while many of us now turn to our iPhone to tell what time it is, the concept of the timepiece as art and mechanical jewelry still exists. And for Garret Davis, an American engineer who grew up in Swiss boarding schools, Refined Hardware is the realization of a dream of bringing back a once prominent American watch tradition.
Refined Hardware makes American-built, limited edition timepieces—one at a time. They strive to use the finest materials and the most cutting edge design to build timepieces “with only as much purpose and greatness as the individuals who chose to wear it.”
Garret founded Refined Hardware in 2011 by gathering a few local watchmakers in a Los Angeles factory, with a mission to focus on beauty in function, design, and raw minerals. He wanted people to feel like they were really buying an extension of themselves and with no dials or paints to distract from that.
The first piece timepiece they released, The Harbinger, had very little marketing and sold out in about 12 weeks—with orders coming in from Australia to Russia. “Our customers are usually affluent and adventurous, generally people who have owned a Rolex or two and are ecstatic to wear something different and built with purpose and just for them,” says founder Davis. The next watches will be named Rearden, Gatsby and McQueen, with only 33 of each piece to be made, at a build price of around $3,000.
Refined Hardware say they are successful because they do not constrain themselves by tradition or “the standard.” They care about the product, and their customer, and nothing else. “When doing something 'out-of-the-box' like made-to-order American timepieces, they're will always be critics and skeptics but we couldn't be happier with the reception we have received thus far.”