Local

Mpls. Man Creates Hand Crafted Watches In Northeast Basement

View Comments
(credit: CBS) Jason DeRusha
Jason DeRusha filed his first report for WCCO-TV on April Fool's D...
Read More

Get Breaking News First

Receive News, Politics, and Entertainment Headlines Each Morning.
Sign Up
Today's Most Popular Video
  1. Here's How To Keep Your Family Healthy This Flu Season
  2. 4 Things To Know For Oct. 21, 2014
  3. The Lowdown: 'Breaking Bad' Dolls Enrage Parents
  4. Free Financial Advice This Weekend In St. Paul
  5. MN Family Wants Down Syndrome Diagnoses To Change

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – There is a small, but growing, movement of Americans who are making their own crafts and goods again.

J. W. Hulme, the St. Paul leather-goods company whose gained attention in fashion magazines ad Hollywood for their makers handcrafted handbags and briefcases.

And Red Wing Boots is undergoing a renaissance for their made-in-Minnesota Heritage Boots.

Now, a Minneapolis man is hand-crafting heritage watches, all from a tiny workspace in Northeast Minneapolis.

WCCO’s Jason DeRusha shows why Leo Padron hopes to become the next Rolex or Movado.

It is incredibly exacting, precision work.

In the basement of a 100-year-old Minneapolis building. Leo Padron is making watches, by hand, by himself.

“I’m trying to do work that is elegant. That is fresh,” Padron said. “I make watches that, I design them to hopefully outlive me. And that’s a good feeling. Knowing that I’m actually putting something interesting into the world.”

Padron’s fascination began with a vintage timepiece from the mid-1900s.

“Well it began with my grandfather’s watch,” Padron said.

His grandfather died and left his broken watch to Padron.

“What I wanted to do was to just get the watch working,” Padron said.

He succeeded.

And eventually his hobby of repairing old watches became a goal of creating new ones.

He launched a Kickstarter campaign where backers could pre-order the Padron Vuelta.

“I made close to $100,000 on that Kickstarter. And hat’s money people try hard to raise when starting a business,” Padron said.

He earned enough money to let him quit his web design job at Target and work full-time on keeping time.

“It’s incredible to me that this is what I am today and this is what I do,” he said.

His current Kickstarter is funding a new watch, the Hennepin, the perfect homage to Padron’s home county.

“Very simple, almost minimalist, but still fun,” he said.

A lifelong tinkerer, Padron builds four or five watches every day.

“The beauty about a good automatic mechanical is that it does not need a battery. You shake it, it goes,” Padron said.

In a time where the latest digital gadget built overseas captivates us all, Padron is hand-crafting automatic watches.

Watches he hopes will keep ticking far longer than he does.

“Is it a dying industry? If it is, it’s one I’m happy to occupy in my lifetime,” he said.

Priced from $300 – $500, they’re far less expensive than comparable brand-name luxury watches.

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,903 other followers