Entering the world of affordable luxury watches with Worn & Wound

By Montredo in Lifestyle
May 14, 2019
Entering the world of affordable luxury watches with Worn & Wound


It can get pretty wild in the world of watch blogs when the usual suspects present their latest creations: Painstakingly hand-decorated in-house calibers, rare precious metals, and artistic complications that make the heart of every watch lover beat faster. The sky is the limit, and it goes without saying that all of this has its price.

We would be lying if we said that these watches leave us cold. Of course not, especially when being presented as professionally as in SJX’s blog, with whom we spoke with last week. Nevertheless, if we’re being brutally honest with ourselves, it is questionable whether we’ll be able to call these watches our own in the foreseeable future. So, it’s good to know that a certain watch blog out there has intentionally turned its back on all of this in order to solely devote itself to affordable luxury. Of course, there is also the extensive coverage and first-class photos of watches in the mid four-digit price range, but their focus on entry-level models, rising microbrands and everything in between, makes Worn & Wound the ideal place for all aficionados of top-class affordable watchmaking… and also for those who aspire to be one someday.

The blog was founded in New York in 2011 by Zach Weiss (our interlocutor for this interview) and Blake Malin, two friends from college. In the following year, James Helms not only joined the team, completing today’s trio, but W&W also opened its own online shop. The three have strived to shed light on the world of affordable watches ever since.

With which intention and vision in mind did you found your watch blog? How did it all start?

Worn & Wound was founded in 2011 to create a go-to resource for well-produced content on value-driven watches, micro-brands, and other oft-overlooked timepieces. It started when Blake Malin and me, friends from college, were discussing what watch to purchase for around $300 and found that the current watch blogs and magazines were overlooking that segment almost entirely. In 2012 James Helms joined the team and we launched our in-house line of watch accessories and online shop (windupwatchshop.com). 

James, Blake and Zach.

Describe your watch blog in three words only.

Value, design, quality.

What’s your value proposition and what makes your blog unique compared to others?

At Worn & Wound, we have always focused on watches under $5k, with the majority of the content centered on watches under $1,500. The watches we choose to feature have exceptional designs and often build-qualities that belie their price tags. Our blog is unique in that we’ve never shied away from covering smaller, younger brands, often championing brands that only get attention a year or two after we first discussed them.

We also put theory into practice by hosting the Windup Watch Fair, putting the brands we discuss in front of enthusiasts and the public to be seen and examined in person.

What are your main challenges and your plans for the future?

We aren’t the type of people who are ever satisfied with ourselves, so our biggest challenge is to continue to improve, grow, and find interesting and unique ways to share our passion for watches.

Which disruptive innovation might hit the watch industry next? Which drastic changes do you expect?

As was demonstrated with the Zenith Defy Lab, new materials and engineering solutions potentially present entirely novel ways to make a watch work. If, for example, movements could be “printed” in some fashion rather than built, that would radically change the manufacturing process as well as what we would expect from movements. The conversation about finishing could give way as ever higher accuracies become the star. That said, the watch industry has a particular knack for keeping traditions alive, which is honestly part of its charm, so I don’t think things will ever change too much.

Tomorrow morning you wake up as Michel Loris-Melikoff. What would you have on your agenda to save the Baselworld?

I would figure out how to take the show out of those stuffy, overbuilt booths and put the watches on the floor, in front of people, while properly engaging the public. The traditional trade show model is clearly over, while generating authentic excitement and hype for products is more important than ever. Social media needs to be embraced, and the reality is that it shouldn’t just come from the press and retailers.

Also, better coffee for the journalists 😉

In your opinion, which underdog watch brand doesn’t receive the recognition it deserves?

Our site focuses on underdogs, so a bit hard to choose, but for the sake of answering the question, Damasko. This small, family-owned business based in Bavaria has been making watches that are tougher than almost anything out of Switzerland regardless of price, and they have the patents to prove it. They also manufacture their own movements (used alongside ETA and Sellita) which have featured silicon hairsprings since 2008! 

Describe your personal dream watch if you were to design your own.

My personal dream watch would have the functionality of a Lemania 5100, in a small, thin package, perhaps 38mm wide by 10mm thick, and somehow manage to be both elegant enough to wear with a blazer and tough enough to take a beating. 

Which advice would you give to a young watch enthusiast? Which brand would you recommend in terms of bang for the buck?

My advice would be to trust your instincts and unique sense of style. Don’t just run to big brand names or what seems popular. You’ll know what you like when you see it.

As far as bang for your buck goes, it’s hard to beat Seiko. The Seikos you might pick up when you first get into watches will still be a part of your collection when you’ve moved on to fancier, higher-end pieces (or Grand Seikos, as the case may be). They are solid, reliable, and have a unique charm that sets them apart.


What would be your go-to watch in the following five categories on Montredo?

  • EUR 0 – 500: Hamilton Khaki Field Auto
  • EUR 500 – 1,500: Max Bill Automatic
  • EUR 1,500 – 3,000: Longines Legend Diver
  • EUR 3,000 – 5,000: Speedmaster
  • EUR 5,000 – 10,000: Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Duo

Thanks for the informative interview, Zach!