Watching the tick, tick, tick of the clock is one of the hardest things when you begin transitioning, as Samuel James knows well. Particularly during the “hurry up and wait” phase of hormone treatment in his first six to seven months of transition, he needed something to fill the time.
As an avid watch collector, James couldn’t find anything that seemed both unique and high-quality. So he turned to a sketchpad to design the kind of watches he would like to wear. Friends and family began to notice the level of detail he was putting into these designs and suggested he bring them from his notebook to his wrist.
The transition and business paralleled each other over the next few months. “You don’t look like the person on your license, so they won’t let you pick up things you’ve ordered, or they wonder why there’s a boy in the locker room at the gym,” James says of that time. To keep his mind off of it, the early planning stages of the watch company helped focus his attention away from negative responses and waiting for the hormone treatment to start showing.
While many big brands want to make inexpensive watches and sell them for high prices, James wanted to bring an honest business model to his customers. He stands out by selling affordable, high-quality watches. “The glass on our watches is all sapphire glass,” he explains. “That’s the toughest glass you can stick on a watch; it’s a lot more money to do, but the end result is that you don’t have scratches after a month of wearing your watch.”
His first line of watches, the Calypso Collection, was the result of those first designs. It’s an attractive line of edgy watches with a bigger clock face and a skeleton dial to show off the inner workings of the watch. While he doesn’t separate his watches by gender, the line is mostly purchased by people looking for more masculine watches. His newest line is a result of a high demand for the same quality with a different style. The Paris Collection will feature thin, elegant watches with classy and intricate details on the outside.
Most other watch companies divide their watches by gender, but James resists that tradition. Many women are interested in wearing the Calypso Collection watches, but then seem to be turned off by the idea that most people who wear them are men. However, the designs are intended to be unisex.
“Creating watches has lost a lot of art,” James says, “but that’s what jewelry is.”
To support James, check out his blog and both collections at SamuelJamesWatches.com.