Made in Hamilton: Time for Change. Most of us simply hunkered down to wait out the pandemic. But Locke & King’s Ryan Moran decided to use his time differently. Skip to main content
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Made in Hamilton

Time for Change

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When the coronavirus pandemic took hold in early 2020, most of us simply hunkered down to wait it out. Locke & King’s Ryan Moran, on the other hand, decided to use his time differently. 

“Creating a watch brand had always been in the back of my mind,” Ryan Moran says during a chat at CoMotion, the downtown co-working space of which he is a co-founder. Creating a watch brand that is also rooted to the story of his hometown was important to Moran, with “Hamilton being an industrial and manufacturing city.” After COVID dealt his career in the tourism industry a harsh blow, Moran had some time on his hands, and began creating a business plan for the long-imagined company. It wasn’t long before Moran realized he could make it happen and Locke & King – named after Moran’s childhood Strathcona stomping ground – was born.

He began creating designs for Locke & King’s inaugural watch and worked with local graphic designer Shaun O’Meila to fine-tune the distinctive brand logo.

He spent the next year researching and sourcing each of the components that would result in a watch that had the style he envisioned. During the summer of 2021, Locke & King’s first watch release, the James – named after one of Hamilton’s most iconic streets – was unveiled.

Locke & King produces classic Victorian-style railroad watches, says founder Ryan Moran. Photos: Jon Evans

“I wanted it to be a traditional-style watch,” Moran recalls. “A classic Victorian-style railroad watch that draws on the inspiration of James Street.” Inside the case, the pendulum, springs and gears are powered by the wearer’s movements. Moran describes this movement as a “workhorse,” and this resilience is essentially writing the first chapter of the Locke & King story. 

A watch being wound by motion is a fitting representation of Locke & King’s motto: Onwards and Upwards. This message is fitting for a brand that was launched to considerable interest as the world literally stood still.