What do you get for the guitar player who loves high-end acoustic guitars but your budget doesn’t extend to the £5,399 required to prize a Builder’s Edition 814ce from your local retailer?
Taylor Guitars has an answer for that, and maybe to the question of what to get the guitar player who already owns an 814ce, because it has expanded its partnership with Original Grain Watches for another two timepieces with designs incorporating the eco-friendly Urban Ironbark tonewood that the Californian brand debuted in September 2022.
Urban Ironbark was a new one for the guitar world. Taylor sources this ironbark eucalyptus in partnership with West Coast Arborists, Inc (WCA) from urban areas of Southern California, where the trees have reached the end of their life cycle or pose a safety risk.
Instead of being used as firewood or mulch, this wood has been turned into guitars such as the 514ce Urban Ironbark, on which it is used on the back and sides as a substitute for solid rosewood. Tone-wise, it is similar, and it looks every bit as inviting on the instrument. And yes, on the wrist, too.
There are two new Urban Ironbark styles in the Taylor x Original Grain shared universe; the Taylor Urban Ironbark Chrono 44mm and Taylor Urban Ironbark Barrel 42mm.
It’s uncanny, 44mm and 42mm? It’s as though we were talking nut widths. Either way, these two bezel sizes offer two takes on the Urban Ironback theme, and offer a contemporary update to a watch collection that features ebony from Taylor’s Crelicam ebony project, Hawaiian koa, and another eco-friendly choice in Urban Ash.
By this point you might think this crossover event between the worlds of acoustic guitar and watches is a little far-out, but there has been a lot of this. Most notably with John Mayer's signature G-SHOCK watch line that is inspired by his favourite Casio keyboards, with Mayer's most recent G-SHOCK taken from his very first keyboard, the Casio PT-1.
Original Grain Watches offers an engraving service but the base price for the Taylor Urban Ironbark Chrono 44mm is listed as £366, while the Urban Ironbark Barrel 42mm is priced £219.
The eco credentials extend beyond the tonewoods used. One tree is planted for each watch sold. The watched are designed and made the USA and come with a one-year warranty. Ten per cent of the proceeds from these watches will go to two non-profit organisations, Guitars for Vets and Tree San Diego
For more details, head over to Original Grain Watches. For an idea of how Urban Ironbark shapes up on an acoustic guitar, check out MusicRadar’s review of Taylor’s 514ce Urban Ironbark, an impeccably crafted Grand Auditorium model that is an assured a debut for the new build as you could hope for.