Ahead of his time: South Philly’s Lorenzo Buffa and his flexible wood watches

Lorenzo Buffa is shown here with his wood watches. Credit: Charles Mostoller/METRO
Lorenzo Buffa with his wood watches. Credit: Charles Mostoller/Metro

Lorenzo Buffa set his goals pretty modestly. When he started his Kickstarter campaign, he figured $10,000 should cover initial production costs for his all-natural wood watches.

With three days left to go for bids, he’s already raised more than $61,000. The project is the highest rated on Kickstarter for the region.

“It’s fantastic. I’m totally elated,” Buffa said.

Two years ago, Buffa, now 26, was working on his senior project at the University of the Arts. Knowing when he graduated he wouldn’t be entering the job market at the greatest economic time, he wanted to design something that he could work on long after classes ended.

His senior project turned into the Analog Watch Co., with an emphasis on flexible, all-wood watches made from raw materials. “It got really, really great reception. People started contacting me.”

Four months after that, he developed a prototype and has been working on not only designing the watches, but with production, marketing and public relations. He works closely with his mentor, Vanja Buvac, of Philadelphia watch company Cadence.

But why watches made from wood?

“I have an interest in natural materials,” the Palmerton native said. “I’ve always been drawn to wood. I’ve seen other wooden watches and they were all made the same way. They just weren’t really fitting my aesthetic, which is minimal, clean, stream-lined. I wanted to do something more iconic and shaped.”

He sourced thin wood veneer and attached adhesive and leather for reinforcement. He said material research was a huge part of the original project.

Using a manufacturing company with experience in both woodworking and watch assembly, the final product was created and inventory should be available by February. The first batch of watches — known as The Carpenter Collection — will go to Kickstarter backers. Stock inventory will follow, along with online orders and hopefully, getting it into boutiques and stores in the city.

“I just wanted to create something that people could wear often or every day. I noticed that jewelry and fashion accessories function a lot as a conversation piece. It’s like a sculpture on your wrist. Having my design be something wearable allows it to be a conversation starter.”

Three of Lorenzo Buffa's watches Credit: Charles Mostoller/METRO
Three of Lorenzo Buffa’s watches Credit: Charles Mostoller/Metro

Philly is the place to be for entrepreneurs

Buffa said Philadelphia is a great place for entrepreneurs and if he were doing business in New York City, it wouldn’t succeed.

“Philly’s creative community is so tight,” he said. “My voice is actually heard when I talk about something.”

There’s a resurgence of manufacturing, Buffa said, and he credits community events and organizations as key elements to help him produce and market his brand.

“Here, you really stand out,” he said. “It’s a lot easier to get traction here.”

Product costs are lower and even renting out space for a studio or workspace is affordable, he said.

“Philadelphia is a great place for creative entrepreneurs,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff happening in tech, apps or software. Even if you’re more on the consumer end, Philly is just a phenomenal place for that.”

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Twitter: @metrophilly

Follow City Editor Christina Paciolla on Twitter: @cpaciolla

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Facebook: Metro Philadelphia

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Protesters say new Met Opera is anti-Semitic

Protesters, including a former mayor and governor, gathered outside of the Metropolitan Opera on Monday afternoon to protest the opening of “The Death of Klinghoffer.”

Local

Brooklyn girl's death ruled a homicide

The New York City Medical Examiner has ruled the death of a Brooklyn toddler a homicide. Jeida Torres, 3, was found bruised and unresponsive Saturday…

Local

New York City continues to prepare for Ebola…

New York City continues to prepare for the possibility of Ebola. There have been numerous scares, but no confirmed cases. Representatives from about 150 unions…

Local

NYPD nabs alleged serial bank robber

  The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for multiple Manhattan bank robberies this month. Police have arrested a Brooklyn man they…

Entertainment

We the Economy: Morgan Spurlock's new crusade

If Morgan Spurlock gets his way, you won't be able to avoid We the Economy, the series of 20 shorts films curated by the "Super…

Arts

3 Parody plays lampoon your childhood, adulthood and…

Whether you loved the source material or you're going in blind, these parody plays have something for every audience member. We rate three of NYC's hottest satirical shows.

Gossip

Who has more power: Harry Styles or Amal…

Amal Clooney comes in fourth on The Evening Standard's Most Influential Londoners list.

Music

#AskPaul McCartney reveals his love of American pop…

For an Englishman, Paul McCartney's pop culture tastes would fit right in stateside. The former Beatle (@PaulMcCartney) revealed that he has a real thing for…

NFL

John Idzik: 'We did a ton of background'…

Given John Idzik spent the previous five years with the Seahawks before he joined the Jets last January, there is a comfort level for the organization.

NFL

Jets add sizzle to struggling passing game with…

The Jets’ trade for Percy Harvin may have an air of desperation on the surface, but at 1-6 this season is hanging only by a thread.

NFL

Jason Pierre-Paul: 'We've got to regroup' during bye…

“We’ve got to regroup and figure out what went wrong,” said defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. “When we come back, we want to be a great team.”

NFL

Breno Giacomini: Media blowing up Golden Tate-Percy Harvin…

According to Breno Giacomini, the fight between Golden Tate and Percy Harvin during Super Bowl week was over by the time the lineman turned around.

Education

Is a 'gap year' after high school for…

It’s a familiar script that millions of students follow each year: Graduate high school and then immediately start college. But more and more students are…

Parenting

New news about Kate Middleton's pregnancy

The Palace released a statement about Kate Middleton's pregnancy.

Parenting

Cool book for kids: 'The Princess In Black'

"The Princess In Black" will change the way girls view princesses.

Wellbeing

Gabby Bernstein: The 3 questions I always get

For the last decade, I’ve been writing self-help books and preaching the Gospel of Gabby to audiences throughout the world. And no matter what country…