Hey all, I wanted to introduce myself here and thank the EDCCooperative founders for inviting me to post for Maker Monday.
Anyway, I’m Zack, and I’ve been building Ardor & Forge for about the past 3 years. I’m actually preparing to launch the brand tomorrow when we open preorders for our first watch.
I have a degree in industrial design from Auburn University, one of the best ID schools in the US. I went there pursuing my dream of landing a job designing watches and/or outdoor gear.
Instead, for about 10 years after I graduated, while the economy sputtered, I chased jobs up and down the east coast. Although I couldn’t see it, God had a plan.Through the layoffs and frustration, I gained a diverse set of experiences and skills.
Though short-lived, I was given opportunities to work with brands like Ridgid, Ryobi, Hunter Fan, Kenroy Lighting, Miracle Recreation, Little Tikes, Hershey’s, GNC, Rite Aid, Sheetz, Urban Outfitters, Penn State, and Gilson Snow to name a few.
Having first-hand experiences designing products, branding, graphics, marketing materials, exhibits, and web elements for these companies all set me up with a great foundation to chase my dreams on my own, and make Ardor & Forge a reality.
Like I said, this has been 3 years in the making, I battled a lot of obstacles to get here, mostly with manufacturing (I detailed my entire startup story in my blog, The Ramble, on the Ardor & Forge website) but I am so proud of the final product we are going to be putting out, and so thankful to so many in the watch and EDC community for helping me spread the word.
I wanted to offer something that is not just another microbrand Submariner homage. I found inspiration in Rothrock State Forest, which covers nearly 100,000 acres of my home state of Pennsylvania. We spent over a month developing a “sand-cast” texture for these watches. It took a lot of determination and eventually a multi-step process involving lasers, rock tumblers and some other things, but the final result is unlike anything we’ve been able to find on a watch case (and that’s been backed up by the 100+ people that have handled our prototypes so far). I also took some risks with including real oak accents in the design, I know a lot of guys don’t like wood in their watches, but we think we got a nice balance of something unique without going overboard or getting “gimmicky.”
The feedback so far has been really great. There are a number of written reviews and also hands-on youtube reviews on the site as well if you are interested in checking those out.
The long term goal for Ardor & Forge is to be able to branch out into other EDC items, but I need to find some success with this first preorder to make any of it a reality. So if you can, please share, especially if you know anyone looking for a new watch!
Thank you all and have a great week!
On Instagram @ardorandforge
Blog post describing all of the inspiration behind this collection:
Promotional video for the Rothrock collection: