The Crimson Band

I wear a watch every day. I probably glance down at my wrist a hundred times or more from the time I wake up to the time I hit the pillow. It’s just instinct. For an item traditionally classified as an accessory, your watch says an awful lot about who you are and what you’re made of.

Why is it, then, that buying a watch, by and large, is akin to buying a bad suit–grabbing whatever appeals to you off the rack and hoping it fits? There should be a better way.

The guys of O.A. Post think they’ve found it. And I’m inclined to agree.

“Our Swiss movement watches were thoughtfully designed to be worn in both a casual and formal setting,” the company’s founders told me recently. “You can sport the white-faced watch with an orange band while sailing the Charles in the afternoon, and wear the black-faced watch with our black/grey Cadet band in the evening for a black tie dinner party.”

Anyone who can literally sail into a black tie dinner party ought to know a thing or two about looking sharp.

O.A. Post and founders Chris O’Brien and Chris O’Connell are coming off a Kickstarter campaign that raised 115 percent of its original goal. The success is due in part to the craftsmanship and customization of the product–to the fact that buying yourself a quality bespoke watch for a reasonable price is surprisingly hard to do–but also because these watches tap into something both guttural and enduring: college pride.

O’Brien attended Georgetown University, O’Connell Carleton University. Both natives of Manchester, NH, the two have been friends since birth, the appeal of moving to Boston and going in to business together on their minds since high school. Supporting local charities has long been a priority, too, but after their initial Kickstarter campaign was rejected on the grounds that it can’t have ties to charitable giving (a little known fact), their focus needed to shift, at least for the time being.

Ironically, it was the response letter from an early prospective charity that helped jettison the company to its true, current calling. In the postscript of the letter, there was a casual disclaimer: It’s a shame you boys don’t have these in Virginia Tech colors, the letter said, because “the kids and parents down here would love these watches.”

This was the lightbulb moment, so to speak. What better way to differentiate gorgeous, Swiss-made watches in a unique way than to offer them in college colors? And what better city to do so than in Collegeville, USA–Boston, MA?

The guys are adamant that charitable giving will be a major facet of the business plan down the road. But for now, the focus is launching their e-commerce website at the beginning of March, the first time consumers can get their hands on the timeless timepieces. A watch with a band will sell for $99, a band alone for $18. It’s a competitive price point for such a quality watch–similar watches from J. Crew, for example, start around $150. But there’s more.

The goal, they tell me, is to alter the way watches are perceived by both men and women.

“It is our hope that the question ‘where did you get your watch?!’ can soon be followed up with ‘and what does it mean?!’ they said.

The current catalog doesn’t include many bands targeted specifically at Massachusetts universities just yet–though there is one for Harvard–but the color palate is nonetheless diverse enough to have something for everyone. Plus, they guys assure me that there are bands coming for area colleges soon. And that’s just the beginning.

“Once O.A. Post gains traction,” they said, “we plan to expand our band selection to include bands that represent colors of countries, additional universities, and finally, worthy charities and causes that O.A. Post partners with [and] stands behind.”

O’Brien and O’Connell, who live together in Porter Square, are very optimistic about the months to come.

O.A. Post may be young–the company began in October–but by tapping into the immortality of college pride, it definitely has time on its side.