Meet Cam Barr Founder of Craft & Tailored
What is Craft & Tailored and what let you to start it?
Craft & Tailored is a business that was quite literally born from my obsessions and passions. I have always loved things that possessed history, quality, and a purpose. I am also a huge fan of “form meeting function” where something is beautifully and thoughtfully engineered and designed but also serves an actual functional purpose. Take the Rolex Submariner for example. Forget the so called luxury element for a second.. When the Rolex submariner was first introduced and launched in 1953 it became the worlds first commercially available dive watch. The reason why I think this is so cool is because Rolex had to be a innovator and successfully design and market a “tool” that could assist a diver in keeping track of time accurately underwater. This is way beyond something of luxury as during this time period and well into the 1980’s the Submariner was sold and used as a piece of equipment and as more of a tool tool then an item of status or luxury. Back when the Submariner was introduced there was a need for a watch or timepiece that no only told the time accurately but also could be submerged to a depth of 660 feet and possessed an outer rotating bezel that could display elapsed time, which was clearly an important feature in in this era of time due to the fact that diving computers and other more modern means of time measurement went readily available which is obviously important for tracking time spent on the bottom while underwater and for tracking decompression times etc..
But my obsessions and passions don’t just start and stop with vintage watches. I love vintage leather jackets, classic cars such as the Porsche 911, leather, denim, vintage electric guitars and amplifiers, and things of taste and design such as architecture and furniture as well.. I research these things to the nth degree and obsess over them, Why was this designed this way, or why did they use this type of leather or this style of stitching and so on… It never stops, its a constant quest for more information..
What lead me to start Craft & Tailored is a very interesting story..
I was running a $120M a year business for a big technology conglomerate out of the east coast and was on the road 3 weeks out of every 4 in the month. The interesting thing about this was I was super good at what I did, there wasn’t a door I couldn’t knock down, a meeting I couldn’t get, and a deal that I couldn’t close… I once was given the nickname the golden goose because apparently I was the bird who only laid the golden eggs. But with that being said I realized that even though I was really good at being what I now refer to as being “corporate” Cam, I was really un happy and I was just doing what I was doing because I was good at it, not because I actually loved what it was that I was doing. I began to really hate it, and I hated being a so called “Cash Cow” for money hungry mother fuckers who didn’t really give the slightest fuck about me, or my wellbeing, or who I actually was as a person. The only thing they really cared about was the money and when the next deal was going to close which takes it toll on a person. I also started investing in and buying vintage watches, vintage guitars, art, etc… Its a totally different way of looking at investing but I wanted to place my money into tangible things that I loved and could actually hold feel. The good news is that the things I love, research, acquire and ultimately curate for our customers of Craft & Tailored tend to steadily appreciate and don’t possess the extreme volatility that the stock market and or much more traditional investments tend to possess.
What is the process like for buying, curating, and selecting the timepieces you sell?
The process of acquiring such pieces and goods is part of what I love about C&T so much! I actually get asked this question somewhat frequently which kind of always makes me chuckle a bit. The funny thing is that there isn’t a big underground vintage rolex resource that I get all of our select pieces from haha. I can sometimes quite literally source our pieces from the pawnshop in the middle of a sketchy neighborhood and sometimes its from the estate of the original owner of the piece in some of the most luxurious zip codes in the world. Other times its trusted dealers and collectors from around the world there isn’t one place I get our pieces from weather it be a watch or an old bomber jacket.
The curation and selection of what it is that Craft & Tailored offers to our customers revolves around my specific tastes as a collector myself. When I buy a vintage watch I buy what my eye specifically gravitates to and also how the specific piece makes me feel. If you look at our collection you will see some trending in what it is that we offer to our customers… We are clearly big fans of vintage rolex but I also love vintage Omega Speedmaster’s and other odd funky watches as well. Take the Seiko 6105 dive watch for example, its not an uber rare or expensive timepiece, but it is uber cool and a great watch that not everyone will be sporting on the wrist. I find the vintage Seiko divers just as cool as say a vintage Rolex Daytona ref 6263. Its not about price and or exclusivity its about the vibe and mojo that the specific piece possesses.
I like things typically that are from what I refer to as the “Golden Era” I have developed a deep passion for well-made goods and items that possess an heir of timeliness and uniqueness that differentiate them from the average or the normal. One could say I have developed a deep and heavy passion for “Vintage” but it’s really more than that… it's more than the collecting and or acquisition of vintage or classic “made to last” kind of “things”. It’s more than the boots, the jackets, and the watches… For me, this is a way of living that falls way outside most people’s appreciation or desire to have something nice or of quality... I’m a sucker for the fine, typically unnoticed details, and specific perimeters that make these things, or passions, what they are to me and not to most…
The "Golden Era” by my definition starts around 1950 and ends in the early 1980’s. I tend to gravitate towards things that are from this specific span of time plus or minus a few years on either side of that span for sure, but typically its within this general span of time for the things I appreciate the most. I love things that carry a meaning, a purpose and most importantly a unique and individual story. For example; I love a good old pair of jump boots that are maybe 60-70 years old and potentially saw action overseas during WWII, or a Matte Dial Vintage Rolex Submariner (or GMT) from the mid 60′s, with aged Tritium lume plots that have to a turned a creamy golden color, perhaps used by a sport diver as his tool for timing dives, or by a Jet-setting executive to keep track of the time at home. Maybe even a Motorcycle or Bomber jacket that hails from the late 50′s or early 60′s that was the primary protection, or element of warmth, for a young rebel, or a fighter pilot that carries with it the patina that only comes from years of love and use... Don’t get me started on my passion and love for Vintage Guitars and Amplifiers…
What's your all-time favorite piece, if you could only choose one?
This is such a tough question because my buying habits revolve everything we have in our curated selection. Of course there are things in my personal collection I will never sell and eventually pass on to my Son and Daughter but there is this classic Patek Philippe advertisements that says: “You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation.” Every time I see that old Patek Ad it kind of reminds me why I started Craft & Tailored. After buying and collecting a huge number of watches and goods for a long time I started to feel like I was holding onto all the good stuff for myself. I mean I really can only wear one watch at a time right… so the way I can keep learning and exploring my passions without feeling like a complete hoarder is to help guys find their first piece and by helping them learn about something we mutually share a passion for.
But to bluntly answer your question my favorite piece is a 1967 Rolex Submariner Reference 5513. It was my first Rolex and was the piece that really ignited my passion for vintage high end Swiss watches! I wear it on an old Horween Chromexel leather NATO strap.
What's the best piece of advice you ever heard?
If you are going to do something don’t to it well.. don’t do it good… Do it the best. My grandmother told me this when I was very young and it has always stuck with me. I still hear her voice saying this to me in my head frequently
What does an ideal Friday night look like for you?
Dinner at my current favorite restaurant in LA on Fairfax called “No Name” Chef Jared Simons makes the best-fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and collard greens in the city.. Followed by an evening at home with a hefty serving of Thrifty black cherry ice cream and a record spinning at 33.5 RPM most recently its been Eternally Even by Jim James
Im constantly in the "whats next" state of mind. I think that you kinda have to be to do what I do, I’m always seeking more… learning more... and looking for more.. But I’m learning to enjoy it a little more... feel it a little more… and savor the moments a little more. I think I’m pretty fortunate to have realized that a few years ago going into my 30s rather then in my 40’s or 50’s after half my life passed me by…
I think id like to see the brand continue to develop and eventually create a space that allows like minded gents to come enjoy the things we curate from all over the world. A place where you can have an espresso and talk and learn about these types of pieces we curate. I think having an environment like that would be cool and is defiantly something we are working towards!
You can learn more and check out Craft & Tailored here.