This Is the Future of Heritage Gear
7 BRANDS THAT BRING
TO THE MODERN MAN
PRESENTED BY ORIS & INSIDEHOOK
Bluetooth-enabled. 3D-printed. Cloud-compatible.
Must every new product in 2017 be prefaced with mouthful of hyphenated tech jargon?
Despite our digital condition, there are plenty of craftsmen out there who still make things by hand, in the time-tested tradition of their forebears.
To celebrate the work they do, here are seven brands that make old-school goods and gear uniquely engineered to fit the needs of the contemporary man.
From maple-and-brass gaming consoles to travel-savvy wristwatches to an iPhone case inspired by the Italian Renaissance, these goods won’t go out of style anytime soon.
Traditionally, the artistic value of an arcade game is in the images and sounds that emanate from its screen and speakers — not the packaging that surrounds them. That’s not the case with the portable gaming stations of Swedish designer Love Hultén, which merge throwback gaming and traditional craftsmanship into pieces that ooze nostalgia, warmth and the days of yore. Wedding form-fitting materials like walnut, ash, maple and brass with rechargeable batteries, USB ports and LCD screens, Hultén’s work simultaneously looks backward and forward. And each one of the pieces is produced, polished and assembled by the man himself in Gothenburg.
On its face, the mechanical wristwatch seems almost resistant to technology: a dogged champion of the analog, brazenly flouting the conventions of a brave new digital world. But to see things like that is to conflate technology with electronic technology. Innovation in watchmaking is alive and well — assuming you know where to look.
And there’s no better place to start than Oris, the 113-year-old Swiss brand that bills itself as one of the last truly “independent” horologists of its kind. That label — independent — is more than just a buzzword. Because Oris does not answer to the machinations of a larger holding company, their engineering department is allowed a great deal of creative freedom to integrate exciting, progressive and useful complications into their superior Swiss movements.
Take their newest model, the Big Crown ProPilot Worldtimer, a travel-friendly watch that can seamlessly adjust from one timezone to another with a simple twist of the bezel. Or the Aquis Depth Gauge, a technical watch with an innovative depth gauge design that is unique to Oris. Or the Big Crown ProPilot Altimeter, featuring a mechanical altimeter that is the first of its kind.
Then there’s the most innovative thing they’re doing, at least in the world of mechanical watches: pricing them sensibly, for everyday wear.
The Cabin in the Woods
Getaway combines two seemingly incompatible ideas: disconnecting from the digital world thanks to … a super tech-savvy startup. Their year-round properties, which can be found in secret locations just a short drive from major U.S. cities, are exquisitely built tiny homes with modern amenities, pay-as-you-go provisions and … no wifi.
One week before your stay, they’ll send you the exact location and a personalized entry code for the cabin door. Sure, you’ll most likely still have cell service, but there are cellphone lockboxes and campfire kindling at hand — so go ahead and unplug.
SEAN WOOLSEY STUDIO
Some regions are known for a craft that transcends generations, until it becomes more of a tradition than a trend. In Southern California, that tradition is post-war contemporary furniture.
Working in a breezy, sun-drenched style, Sean Woosley hews black walnut into simple chairs, desks and even a ping-pong table. The thick cushions in his Dreamer’s Chair evoke the palm trees that line SoCal streets, while the Waterfall Desk features a smart magnetic power that can attach to any part of its frame. The looks are old-school, but the function is undeniably contemporary.
The AV Guy
Modern conveniences like Bluetooth and streaming music services have made the listening experience in our homes more convenient. But they haven’t necessarily made that experience better, because they’ve also robbed us of the simple joy of having a stereo system that’s easy on the eyes as well as the ears.
Joining the advantages of digital technology with the careful craftsmanship of old-school analog systems, SYMBOL Handcrafted Audio produces modern hi-fi consoles that are made to double as centerpieces. Capable of playing tunes from your vinyl collection or iTunes library, SYMBOL crafts all of its sound systems — as well as LP storage cabinets — from American walnut in the tradition of fine furniture.
The Denim Shop
The Gold Rush-born blue jeans worn by you, your father and every other American for the last 150 years aren’t going anywhere. But quality denim exists outside of American borders, as Scott Morrison will show you — literally. At 3×1, the atelier he founded in Manhattan, bolts of denim sourced from around the globe line the walls, with the total options hovering around 800. These coveted selvedge fabrics are available in ready-to-wear designs, but the real magic is in their virtuosic custom offerings. Bespoke blue jeans may sound counterintuitive, but the benefits of made-to-measure sizing, stitching and styling are impossible to know until you pull on a pair.
Men’s brands don’t often implore their customers to envision artisans carving white Carrara marble in the middle of Florence on a sunny 15th-century afternoon. But the gents at hardgraft, a Monaco-based lifestyle accessories brand, want you to understand what it’s like to really create something.
Apple-meets-Renaissance was the genesis of their Dusty iPhone Cover, a slick case made from top-grain Nubuck with a handsome green patina. See also: the pictured 2Unfold Laptop Bag, which pays tribute to the train tracks in Paris, or the Box Camera Bag, built from an unconventional combination of leather and wool. The brand and its designers are eager inheritors of yesterday’s artisanship, but they apply that sensibility to bags, cases and carries that accommodate the personal effects of tomorrow.
Hero image courtesy of Love Hulten