I wanted to talk to Matt Harkins of The Sacred Crafts for two reasons. One, I just love businesses that start with the word “the.” E.g. – my site, The Watch Writer. And two, Matt’s business tells an amazing story… A story that starts with sustainability. Let’s unpack the story of The Sacred Crafts; Matt’s brand of sustainable luxury watches.
As an avid surfer and outdoorsman, Matt cares very deeply about the planet. Conducting business in a sustainable, environmentally conscious manner is very important to him. Yet, he adores the caliber and quality of a high-end, luxury product. The Sacred Crafts is the intersection of sustainability initiatives and luxury watches. Matt is trying to change the world one watch at a time so that luxury products can still exist in a sustainable manner.
Matt’s mission started in Thailand. As he was walking the beaches, he was shocked to find multiple grounded ships in the shallow water or washed up to shore. When he asked some locals about what he saw, there was no rhyme or reason for them being there. The boats were just part of the landscape, and everyone was used to it. Matt thought to himself that it was crazy for such a gorgeous beach landscape to be littered with these half-sunken monstrosities.
So, speaking of crazy, Matt did something that even he thinks was a little crazy – he bought a boat… One of the grounded boats, that is. He paid some local laborers to bring a boat to shore then he tracked down the owner to make him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Of course, it was a sweet deal for the owner because he got money for a boat that was not serving any purpose. Why was it a sweet deal for Matt? That brings us to The Sacred Crafts.
Matt has worked for over 20 years in various industries including several aspects of the fashion industry. His experience was mostly in design, but he became very familiar with bringing unique materials into fashion. Earlier in his career, he worked heavily with a sunglass company and frequently tried to bring in wood and other materials to the products. But he has always been fascinated with watches and their mechanics. They were the perfect canvas for him to create his repurposed, sustainable luxury; thus, The Sacred Crafts was born.
After he had purchased his first sunken boat, Matt used all the materials he could and recycled the rest. He used a good deal of the wood from the boats, specially treating and repurposing it to use in building his watch boxes. Sidebar – if you haven’t seen one, check it out. This isn’t a $1 cardboard box – it’s a high-end gorgeous container truly fitting for a high-end watch.
Matt also used a lot of the bronze material from the ship’s propellers, as bronze is one of his favorite materials. In his La Grande Mer collection, you’ll notice some amazing and skilled bronze work around the bezel and case. The Sacred Crafts is a unique, exquisite blend of stunning luxury and sustainability that will take care of the planet for decades to come.
Matt is so passionate about what he does that he started The Sacred Crafts at the beginning of the pandemic. But starting the company in isolation was a challenging endeavor. “The thing about a luxury watch,” Matt says, “especially one focused on materials and craftsmanship, is that people need to feel the intricate bronze work with their fingers and watch it tick.” Thus, Matt was elated when COVID restrictions started to lift, and he could bring his brand to trade shows. His first show was LA MicroLux and I had the privilege of meeting him shortly thereafter at Austin MicroLux.
What’s next for The Sacred Crafts? As a storyteller, is this the one “Matt story” I can tell? Definitely not! Right now, Matt is working on what may be one of the most unique watches I’ve ever seen. He’s working with one of his celebrity DIY friends – I can’t spill the beans on who – to make a limited edition watch focused on the American Craftsman. He is using tools that are over 100 years old in this watch and is matching those materials with wood. While the watch is still in production, I think you’re going to be blown away with the result. And Matt is also hard at work on new watch designs that will further the brand and allow consumers to embrace sustainable luxury watches. Check out The Sacred Crafts here.