Watchmaking is one of the few traditions that has withstood the test of time, and many of its centuries-old skills and knowledge continue to be vital to the craft today. For many of the world’s best-known watch brands, family tradition remains at the heart of this heritage. However, a company called LunoWear has challenged the prenotions of the industry by producing watches made of wood, thanks to a grandfather and grandson pair of entrepreneurs that has channeled its decades-old family knowledge into an entirely new business.
A Family Tradition of
LunoWear was created by longtime friends Boman “Bo” Farrer and Ryan Krantz. For Bo, timepieces were a part of his heritage. It all started when his great-grandfather lost his leg in an industrial accident nearly one hundred years ago. Devastated by the loss of his leg and terrified about how he would provide for his family, he thought all was lost, but the state of Utah paid to have him trained and certified to learn watchmaking. His natural skill for the craft propelled him to become a successful and well-known watchmaker. His son Calvin, Bo’s grandfather, continued this tradition and worked in the field for nearly 50 years, inspiring Bo to pursue this passion.
“For as long as I can remember I’ve loved watching my grandfather work on watches,” Bo explains. “It was more than just a curiosity – it was a fascination. I developed a passion for watches and watchmaking from my family’s legacy in the industry, and it was that passion that inspired and motivated me to embark on this project.”
Initially, Bo’s enthusiasm for the skill far outpaced his actual abilities. Although he had some good ideas about what the product should look like, it was strictly cosmetic and he knew very little about actual timepiece components such as watch movements, crystals, bands, and cases.
As luck would have it, Bo’s grandfather was more than happy to pass on the family secrets. “Calvin (my grandfather) was instrumental in the design process. He helped us design an incredibly reliable and affordable timepiece. Without Calvin, there would only be an idea and sketches of what could be. He was thrilled to get involved with the project,” says Bo.
In addition to the input from his 75-year-old grandfather, Bo’s partnership with his friend Ryan was another invaluable component thanks to Ryan’s background in manufacturing and entrepreneurship. Having lived in China and Taiwan, Ryan’s ability to speak fluent Mandarin has been crucial when working with overseas manufacturers.
“Bo came to me with the idea of building a brand around watches and as soon as he pitched the idea I fell in love with it,” says Ryan. “Our active lifestyles have kept us constantly hanging out and pursuing new goals. LunoWear was the next chapter of our friendship and we couldn’t be more pleased with how it is turning out.”
The two have put their unique skills to use by producing a truly unique product in a watch industry dominated by decades-old brands. Rather than metal, LunoWear watches combine the natural materials of leather, bamboo, and wood to give their watches a revolutionary design element.
Innovation & Design
“Leather lasts a really long time and wears well. Ebony wood is extremely dense and bamboo is incredibly flexible which creates a durable case that will last. Wood and leather compliment each other nicely and neither one wears the other down,” Ryan explains.
The watches are produced to have a simplistic and elegant design made of the highest quality without the steep price tag. In addition, the watches boast a surprising level of durability, having been extensively tested out in the natural elements. In this aspect, Calvin was once again an integral part of ensuring its quality.
“Once we got our samples Calvin was the best partner you could ever have. He took the watches apart to verify the quality of each component. After 50+ years as a watchmaker, he has incredibly high expectations for a timepiece. They got his approval on every level,” says Bo.
Learning from Setbacks
Despite their success, the duo has some words of caution for fellow entrepreneurs. When they originally launched their fundraising project on Kickstarter in 2015, they reached their campaign goal within 5 hours. The amazing response propelled the project to be recognized as the most popular project on Kickstarter, only to have their campaign abruptly suspended. With nearly $425,000 raised, the campaign was halted with no real explanation given as to why.
“Unfortunately many people, including Kickstarter, didn’t take the time to do their homework and claimed we were ‘scamming’ people by buying wholesale watches and reselling them for a profit,” they explain on their campaign page on Indiegogo, where they moved in order to restart their fundraising.
With their project resurrected on Indiegogo, Bo and Ryan once again reached their target in less than 2 days, and ultimately ended their campaign by raising over $356,000.
Despite the setbacks, the Lunowear team’s commitment to the product has resulted in the successful launch of the company, and is ultimately a testament to how family business traditions can be revitalized with fresh energy through entrepreneurship.