A local artist sought out to make a watch that won’t exactly last forever.
Two years ago, Lorenzo Buffa was about to graduate from the University of the Arts with a degree and an idea.
For him to graduate, Buffa had to come up with a thesis project based on his major, industrial design. Buffa knew he wanted to work on something he would continue after school. His idea was to combine the elegance of watches with the raw material of wood, called the Carpenter Collection.
“It was definitely a struggle,” Buffa said. “A year ago, January, I was working for a housecleaning company and I was the new guy, so I was the one on toilet duty. It was the worst. And my loans kicked in and I was just like, ‘Holy crap.’”
With showings, interviews and public exposure, his idea became a reality, but it didn’t happen overnight.
Buffa made a campaign on Kickstarter to see if his idea would be accepted by the public. His campaign started on Oct. 11 and ended Sunday. Buffa’s goal was to raise $10,000 to start the production of the watches. Not only did he meet his goal, he surpassed it six times over.
Buffa said that without Kickstarter, he would not have had as much backing on the project – about 65 percent of the people pledging to support his campaign with donations were from Kickstarter.
“I’ll be honest, I had a bit of an idea that it would do well because I had two years to talk to people about this, to put the seed in everyone’s head,” Buffa said.
Buffa said the campaign has been a project of “love and passion through experiment after experiment and trial and error.”
The biodegradability of the watch was a coincidence. Buffa said he loves wood as a material and a natural product because it will eventually decompose. The concept of it being biodegradable also factors into his personal values.
“We live in this world and our impact is huge,” Buffa said.
He described the watch as being a “conversational piece” or “a little sculpture on your wrist.”
As a creative individual, Buffa said he believes it is important to push material and to reinvent it. He said he wants people who wear the watch to be happy they are wearing a piece that looks different from the norm. Not only this, but they are also contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable environment.
Buffa knew the popularity would take off, but he said he did not know it would reach so many different groups of people.
“We hit the fashionista people, we hit the conscious people, first adopters and artsy-fartsy folks,” Buffa said. “It’s got kind of a wide niche.”
Production of the watches will not start until late November. Besides launching the Carpenter Collection under his self-founded brand, Analog Watch Co., Buffa is looking toward the future.
His next watch project will include another earthly element – stone. In the coming year, he is planning to collaborate with Trees for the Future, a nonprofit that helps organizations plant trees.
For every wooden watch sold, Analog Watch Co. will plant a tree. For the stone watches, Buffa will work with an organization that involves geology and renewable energy research.
Buffa said he wants to build Analog Watch Co. around the philosophy of unique materials and partnerships.
Alexis Ryan can be reached at email@example.com.