By Aaron Recksiek, CW21
If you have ever walked up and down the aisles of the Portland Saturday Market at the North Waterfront Park in Portland, Oregon, you soon realize that these local craftspeople really have something unique to offer. Wherever you turn, you’ll see this trend: analog over digital, manual over automatic, handmade over machined. The quality of these custom-made goods is unexpectedly high. Walking around downtown, visiting different shops and eateries, the feel of the city is inviting to someone who comes from a trade where tradition and mechanical function is central. Such is the theme of the emerging new watch micro-brand Greenhorn Northwest, also known as GHNW. They sought to produce a simple but high-quality watch with every single case component, dial, and strap made in the United States.
As their namesake suggests, the founders came into this industry with very little watch-manufacturing knowledge. Chris Boudreaux in charge of branding, sales, and marketing, owns the Athletes Lounge, a store in Portland, Oregon, and has a history of professional multi-sport racing and organizing events like the Portland Triathlon. Danny Recordon is the head of production and design with assistance from designer Dan Nicholson. They were all well-versed in making and designing other products but lacked the expertise necessary to create a product that would be universally accepted among the watchmaking community. They sought out the expertise of a local Portland watchmaker, Kelly Hunter, to help consult and test different aspects of the manufacturing processes. Hunter, a North Seattle Community College WOSTEP graduate, had recently put the finishing touches on his own state-of-the-art watchmaking shop to satisfy the most stringent brand requirements when GHNW came calling. The hired Hunter as a consultant, tester, final finisher/assembler for all the production of their first model, The Morrison. Hunter came in and not only advised on the watch but also helped develop some of the processes and design of the production facility itself.
The Morrison is a simple three-piece case made from 316L stainless steel and a sapphire crystal with nylon gasket. The bezel and case back both screw down to the case frame. The movement is the new Swiss-made Eterna caliber 39 with sub seconds at 9:00. The only other parts not made in the US are the hands, which are sourced from France. One of the most unique features of the watch is that the dial painting and printing is all done in-house with equipment that was also built in-house. “In-house” in this case is a modest 1,500-square-foot industrial space in North Portland, completely set up and adapted with a CNC machine specifically for production, prototyping, designing, making fixtures, and tooling. The watch will be available with three different strap options, cloth NATO, rubber, and a special custom-made leather strap by the Orox Leather Co. in Portland, a family-run leather goods manufacturer that makes high-quality leather products out of a store and workshop in Old Town Portland. The buckles will be custom manufactured by Danny Recordon in-house.
The initial run of watches is projected to be ready for purchase in June. The first batch will consist of around 100 pieces, and the primary in-person retail presence will be at Wildwood & Company, a retail space in downtown Portland that specializes in “fine objects for men, made by master craftsmen in Portland.” The watches will also be available at the Greenhorn Northwest website, and at many of the in-person events that the company plans to participate in.
If you would like to follow the production process of GHNW, the GHNW team has an active Instagram presence and can be found at @greenhornnw or Danny Recordon @bmc293 or Kelly Hunter @art_of_the_watch.
Contact Information for Green Northwest:
2303-A N. Harding Ave
Portland, OR 97227