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August 2015  |  Ariel Adams

The Hand-Engraved In America Apple Watch By Made Worn

This hand-engraved Apple Watch is an appreciable and fascinating work of art.

Photographs By Ariel Adams

Long after the first generation Apple Watch is no longer useful as a technology item – being supplanted by subsequent generations of Apple wearables – this hand-engraved Apple Watch is still going to be an appreciable and fascinating work of art. What you see here is the first Apple Watch engraved by hand right here in America by Los Angeles-based Made Worn. The company was started relatively recently by fashion industry veteran Blaine Halvorson as an art and lifestyle brand that offers hand-made clothing, art, and accessories.

Quite literally, as the name of the company implies, much of Halvorson’s style is to make new things which look old either from a chronological
standpoint or in terms of literally prematurely aging things. This is the type of brand you go to when you want the coolest looking aged jeans or t-shirt. A unique and quickly growing facet of Made Worn is actually the sale of customized engraved watches. Over on aBlogtoWatch, I introduced Blaine’s debut collection of hand-engraved Made Worn Rolex watches here.

Made Worn has been busy producing a few dozen watches each month ranging from bespoke commissioned work to pieces he imagines and then sees made. Made Worn employs a series of engravers around the US to decorate mostly Rolex watches but also timepieces from a number of other luxury timepiece makers. The engravers all come from the world of decorative gun engraving – a unique style which lends itself very well to the beautification of wrist watch cases and bracelets.

Made Worn’s Halvorson has also decided to branch out a bit and apply his talents to the world of smartwatches – at least with the Apple Watch. According to Blaine, the moment the Apple Watch was released, he knew that he wanted to do something with it. As a lifelong Apple user, it only made sense that he “make his own version” of the company’s first wearable devices.

Made Worn began with an Apple Watch in steel with the matching Link Bracelet. There was a lot of concern at first as to whether or not the Apple Watch could even be engraved in the the first place. Unlike most timepieces, the Apple Watch itself does not come apart, which makes it a challenge for engravers who must carefully apply their craft to the Apple Watch without damaging its crystal or caseback components. More so, Made Worn wasn’t sure if the steel on the Apple Watch case was thick enough to be engraved. The good news is that it was – which is a further testament to not only the engravers but also the strength of the Apple Watch case.

According to Made Worn, the Apple Watch actually requires a lot more work to engrave than most other watches – though, unlike a Rolex, it isn’t possible to charge as much, given the base value of the Apple Watch. With that said, this hand-engraved Apple Watch does command a price of about 10 times what it would cost without the engraving work. The price for the Apple Watch with the matching steel Link Bracelet is $1,049, and of top of that is the cost of the artistry.

Reviews of the Made Worn Rolex watches after I debuted them were excellent. People loved the way the classic gun decoration style matched with the look of a fine Swiss watch. How, then, does a similar visual aesthetic work with what is the most sophisticated smartwatch device to date? Remarkably well, it turns out. It really does make wearing the Apple Watch feel more like a bespoke piece of art as opposed to “merely” a beautiful piece of industrial design.

One of the best parts of the Made Worn Apple Watch is the design on the Link Bracelet’s deployant clasp. This type of engraving is inlaid with black pigment which really brings out the designs. The work on the Apple Watch itself is masterful, with each available amount of space on the case dedicated to decoration. Given the large space taken up by the screen on the top of the case, it is actually difficult to see all the decorative work until you look at the Apple Watch case from the side. There, you’ll be able to appreciate the meticulous engraving work all around the case as well as on the back.

I put the Made Worn Apple Watch on the Classic Buckle strap and it looked rather fantastic as well – though this strap is technically something you’d need to purchase extra. Knowing what I do about Made Worn, it is likely that their Apple Watch will come in a unique presentation box as well. When asked whether the Made Worn Apple Watch was a one-of-a-kind project or a series, Blaine Halvorson replied that while each Made Worn Apple Watch is technically unique, his intention is for this to become a series and for Made Worn to produce a number of hand-engraved Apple Watches for Made Worn’s mostly elite and celebrity clientele. Price of the Made Worn Apple Watch as seen here is $10,000.

Ariel Adams is the founder of the popular and influential watch site aBlogtoWatch.com.