Original Grain was formed in 2013 and consider themselves the premier makers of wood and steel watches.  It’s great to know that already there is a niche within the wood watch industry which caters to the taste of hybrid watch enthusiasts.

It is true most watches already consist of some metal components such as the buckle, however what differentiates Original Grain is that they also use metal in the watch case and band.  In this review, I take a close look at the popular men’s whiskey barrel watch to determine if the title ‘premier’ is deserving of such a brand.

Specs

Wood:  American Oak
Metal:  316L brushed expresso stainless steel
Glass:  Mineral
Movement:  Japanese Miyota
Clasp:  Double locking fold over
Case Diameter:  47 mm | 1.85″
Case Thickness:  12 mm | 0.47″
Band Length:  229 mm | 9″
Features:  Day of month display
Weight:  141 g | 4.97 oz

Evaluation

True to the name, this watch was heavily inspired by the American whiskey barrel.  In fact, the wood used is American oak sourced from reclaimed Kentucky oak barrels.  This brings about two interesting things; firstly there is the natural grain of the oak to admire as well as the intricate details in the wood due to the years spent in whiskey distilleries.

Whiskey Barrel watch front picture review

There are other details to be found like rivet marks on the side that mimic those found on a whiskey barrel steel band as well as 3 molded line marks that resemble the actual steel bands.  The stainless steel construction is espresso plated to match the color of genuine oak barrel steel bands.  I can tell this watch is not a gimmick – Original Grain have gone to great lengths to meticulously create something that does capture the elements of the whiskey barrel and whiskey lovers are sure to find a lot of sentimental value.

Rivet-and-band-design-Original-Grain-Review

The 4mm wide bezel is inlaid into the watch face, meaning it is level with the glass and there is nothing poking out.  This construction protects the bezel from being exposed on its outer most edge.  The dial also features oak and not some other supplement material found in so many other watches.

There are 24 hour style markings on the dial along with classical hour indices.  This is accompanied by a relatively unobtrusive day of month display which can be adjusted by the crown.  In truth, there isn’t a lot going on with the dial which is a smart choice as it allows for the oak and metallic accents to really shine through.

Powering the hands is the always reliable and consistent Japanese Miyota quartz movement.  It’s a standard movement and runs on a standard battery, so you should not have any issues finding a replacement for when it runs out.

The band features a double locking fold over clasp that I love as it includes a safety tab that allows the main clasp to be locked into position, thereby preventing unexpected openings.  There is wood between each band link, and yes, every single one of them looks different.

A cool feature is the logo on the part of the band that opens up – almost like a nice little greeting every-time you want to wear this watch!  You’ll also see the logo on the metal back plate behind the case and an abbreviated ‘OG’ on the crown.

Original Grain Whiskey Barrel Double Locking Fold Over Clasp Review

This watch is built to last and I would be surprised if anything were to break off or fall apart during normal day to day wearing.  The 316L steel is the type that is used in the construction of jet engine parts, furnace parts, tanks and exhaust manifolds.  Basically, it’s an extremely durable steel and will add a long lifespan to this watch.

Conclusion

This is a timepiece that has been lovingly crafted with the inspiration of the whiskey barrel.  If you’re a watch fan, great!  If you’re a whiskey and watch fan, perfect!  The barrel watch was initially a Kickstarter initiative that blew out its goal of $25,000.  It was clear a lot of people bought into the idea and the watch remains a popular offering from Original Grain today.

If I were to be really picky I think weight is probably the only niggling issue.  At 141 g it’s about 3-4 times heavier then your average wood watch.  This will probably take some customers by surprise so it’s worth warning you!

Considering the quality craftsmanship, unique wood and a price tag of under $200, I can definitely recommend this timepiece to anyone who takes a liking to the design.  The barrel series also comes in 4 other models including saeple/matte black,  saeple/black leather and two designs in mahogany/silver.  These are obviously made from different materials but follow the same design so we will award them the same score.  We’ve included these models in the comparison table below.

Barrel Series Comparison Table

ImageInfo
Original-Grain-Whiskey-Barrel-thumbModel: Whiskey barrel/Brushed espresso steel band
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Original-Grain-Saeple-Leather-thumbModel: Saeple/Black leather band
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Original-Grain---Mahogany-Brushed-thumbModel: Mahogany/Brushed steel band
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Original-Grain-Mahogany-brushed2-thumbModel: Mahogany/Brushed steel band
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Original-Grain-Sapele-thumbModel: Saeple/Matte black steel band
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