In the Spring of 2018 we had our first West Coast Wind-Up Fair in San Francisco and it was an absolute joy. Everyone who came to my booth was friendly and made me feel welcome. I enjoyed the first show so much that I knew I would come back in 2019.
This story isn't about the Wind Up Fair, but how I spent my short time in San Francisco when I was not running my booth at the show.
I wanted to book some time before and after the fair to get out with my camera and explore this city that I have spent so little time in. I get a lot of inspiration and motivation for my work and future designs by getting out and living life, doing things and interacting with people outside of the watch world.
I took the earliest flight out of Kansas City to arrive in San Francisco around 8:30am the day before the show. This would give me the whole day to prepare my booth and be able to get out and do something new and exciting. With that extra time I booked a sailboat outing on the bay through a website I found. This was quite nice as I rarely spend any time on the water being from Kansas.
The sailboat would leave from Pier 39 at 6:30pm, so I walked from my hotel up to the launch area. During my walk I could feel the temperatures dropping and the wind picking up. When I reached the pier the wind was fierce and the waves were quite choppy, so I started to wonder how this was going to go.
Above is a photo I took of our captain, which you can get an idea of how cold and windy it was out there. I like this photo because it retells the story of the weather we had that evening, and the captain was a lot of fun as well.
Our route took us around Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset. As we got closer to the bridge we lost the sunset to the fog. I had taken a position out on the front of the boat for photos and was getting a constant spray of cold salty water which I found refreshing. When we got to the bridge we dropped the sail and hung out for a while. The water was calmer now then when we were at the pier and it was great to just hang out on the boat under the bridge for a while.
Although we didn't get to see the sunset, I think the fog is more iconic with San Francisco, it is a genuine shot of how the bridge looks most of the time.
The following three days were spent running my booth and hanging out with micro-watch industry friends in the evenings. The Wind-Up Fair is a lot of fun, if you are interested in attending in the future, you should follow Worn & Wound so you know the dates and times for the next show which will be this Fall in New York City.
The Monday after the fair I walked the downtown area. When I was in Chinatown I walked up and down every street. I enjoyed Chinatown as it reminds me of Hong Kong, a city that I love and have been visiting regularly since 2011. Some of the main front streets in Chinatown are now for the tourists, but some of the side streets and back alleys are much like what you would see in Kowloon.
The last picture below shows San Francisco in one photo. There are buildings, Chinese signs, the bay and a bridge, cars and people. The weather was great on my last day and quite a contrast from 4 days before. I really enjoyed the extra time I booked, and although the city does have a homeless problem, I can tell you that walking the streets is not as bad as you have probably heard, and parts of the city are uniquely San Francisco that you can only experience if you visit.
Some of you who are into travel and street photography may be enjoying this story, while others of you may be saying "enough, tell me about the next watch design!" I can say that my designs are never rushed and I think about them for months before narrowing down what will come next. A lot of inspiration comes from what I see and experience, as well as what I hear from other people.
It has been a few weeks since San Francisco, and it is quite clear to me now that the next watch design will be a 38mm Trekker and possibly adding a GMT function to it. This of course will come after the 40mm Solitude that is currently in production. Stay tuned for more details on these upcoming watches, subscribe to our email newsletter, join our Facebook group, and follow our instagram: @raven_watches.
See more of my personal photos on Instagram: @stevelaughlin76