The Apple Watch poses a potential problem for traditional watch companies: your wrist is extremely limited real estate. It’s something that even smartphone makers don’t face to such an extreme extent, since it’s very possible to carry two phones, even if it’s not the norm, and in fact many people do have one phone for work and one for personal use already. Technically, you’ve also got two wrists, but strapping a watch to both is just not the way anyone operates.
Original Grain, which found Kickstarter success two years ago crowdfunding its stainless steel and natural wood collection of timepieces, is hoping to work together, rather than against the Apple Watch’s momentum with a new collection launching on the crowdfunding site today. The Original Grain Barrel is the new lineup, which uses wood reclaimed from whiskey barrels inlaid within a stainless steel structure to build on its now-signature look; the Duo is a special clasp for the Barrel that includes custom lugs for mounting an Apple Watch that then sits on the underside of the wrist, ready for notifications, Apple Pay, and everything else the smartwatch can do.[gallery ids="1173083,1173084,1173085"]
That’s right – your Apple Watch can reside on the underside of your arm, letting you flip it up to view just as if you were a cool kid from the 90s wearing your Swatch in direct contradiction of the conventional method.
The Original Grain Duo is actually a pretty smart way to amp up a regular timepiece on a stainless steel band with Apple Pay and other convenience features, but it isn’t necessarily the best way to use an Apple Watch; the company sent a production prototype my way, and I found that the Apple Watch had trouble detecting a wrist twist to activate the screen when it’s on the underside of your wrist. Notifications are also still detectable, but feel a little weaker to me vs. when they’re topside.
Still, if you’re committed to a traditional timepiece as well as Apple Watch, this is the least awkward way I’ve seen yet to enjoy both. The Duo clasp is a backer bonus at certain levels for this new Original Grain campaign.
The Barrel itself is a handsome, unique watch with a lot of originality, and the Duo clasp (my prototype was designed for the 38mm version) for Apple Watch is a nice bonus feature. I’m not entirely convinced that this is how people want their Watch experience to go, but for those who want their Watch and their watch, too, this seems like a solid option.
The Barrel starts at $129 for early backers, or $149 for the watch and the Duo clasp, and Original Grain anticipates shipping them in October 2015.