Jerommie Smith & Ryan Bradley of Smith & Bradley Watches

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We talk with Jerommie Smith and Ryan Bradley of up-and-coming tactical watch company, Smith & Bradley Ltd. about their company, their gear, and what makes for a successful EDC product.

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Jerommie Smith (pictured left) and Ryan Bradley (right) are the team behind the Illinois-based tactical and sport watch company, Smith & Bradley. They’re making a name for themselves in the watch world with impressive Kickstarter campaigns for their designs. Join us as we chat about watches, EDC gear, what makes for a successful product, and where they’re headed next.

You two make a great team at Smith & Bradley. What are your individual roles at the company?

J: My role at S&B is all Design work, managing manufacturing, and sourcing. I also build and oversee all production of our watches.

R: Jerommie is a creative genius.  He handles the bulk of the design and product ideas.  While I have a pretty good knowledge of watches, my role is on the business end and heading up social media and marketing as well as vendor relations.

The numbers don’t lie — your designs raise around 250% of their initial goal on Kickstarter. What is it about Smith & Bradley watches that you think makes them so successful?

J:  I feel that S&B we are very very detail oriented and big on customer service. We do not use inferior materials. We use the best materials on the market. When someone picks up one of watches they can tell right away this is not cheap. We found a lot of our backers were previous backers, they know the quality.

R: We start each design with a problem that we are trying to solve.  Most of the time this is a problem that we experienced personally, or from researching in the tactical and sporting community.  We have success because we do not simply build watches, we solve real world problems. We want each product to blend Form & Function.

You recently wrapped up another hugely successful campaign on Kickstarter for the Ambush, a tactical watch based on the AR-15. From where do you draw inspiration for your designs overall?

Ambush Tactical WatchJ: I always look for elements that I can incorporate into my designs. If i see something with nice lines I try and blend that into the design. The Ambush design came from shooting one day. I was cleaning my gun and the lines just made sense for a watch. Some are very subtle like angles on the case and colors used to match an AR-15. Other elements are pronounced like the bezel edge which is a Picatinny top rail of the gun. Since I design all of our products it lends a lot of creative freedom. I never have a lack of design going on in my head. I have plenty more coming down the pipe!

R: We call upon SWAT experience in the field and everyday problems with the products on the market.  We start with a problem, and find a solution.  As for the design, it is our personal design aesthetic that we seek out. 

You’ve said your biggest asset is your passion. Besides timepieces, what else are you passionate about?

J: I am passionate about cars. I like getting a car that needs some work and troubleshooting to fix it. I keep it for a time then send it on to a new owner. Of course I do all my own work. The last one was a Maserati Coupe GT now on to a Range Rover Classic.

R: No surprise here, we are into guns, leather goods, cars, knives, and clothes.  Pretty much the same stuff that EDC readers enjoy.  We love gear pure and simple.

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Jerommie Smith’s Everyday Carry

As watchmakers, you guys must be particular about the products you carry and use everyday. What are your favorite everyday carry items?

J: I think my picture states it very well. Not too much, but just what one needs.

R: Setting aside our watches, I cannot live without a good knife and a great wallet.  Presently, I am carrying a wallet by Enginehouse Leather x Smith & Bradley that is on Kickstarter. For a knife, DPX Gear all the way. Classic Mont Blanc is crucial as well.

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Ryan Bradley’s Everyday Carry

Are there any other items you’ve been meaning to add to your carry?

J: I am pretty simplistic. Add any more to my carry and I will probably lose something!

R: I need a great light.  I am carrying a Home Depot cheap one now.

If we were in the central Illinois area, where would be the best place to grab a bite and a beer?

J: I like Hickory River Smokehouse. Nothing like a brisket sandwich with some hot sauce, homemade vinegar coleslaw and ranch beans. Oh ya, a frosty mug of Coors light.

R: Black Rock Pizza in Urbana, these guys are the best and will make you anything you want.

Do you have any cool projects you’re working on that you’d like to tell us about?

J: We have one cool project that I have been working on for a year. It will be our watch all made in the USA. Titanium & stainless steel!

R: We’re running a Kickstarter campaign for our End of Duty collection of wallets made from leather and repurposed fire hoses.

For more of Jerommie and Ryan’s work, hit up their website, Smith & Bradley, and follow them on Twitter at @SBWatches.

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