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Returned Mormon missionary continues family legacy of watchmaking

MURRAY — Watchmaking is in 24-year-old Boman Farrer's blood. As a child, he watched his grandpa work on pocket watches at his jewelry shop, C.W. Adams Jewelers, in Taylorsville. Every year, he would look through the shop's catalog and pick out a watch for his birthday.

Following in his grandfather's footsteps, Farrer recently found his niche in the watchmaking business. In April, Farrer and his friend Ryan Krantz will launch a Kickstarter campaign to promote Lunowear, their new line of wood watches.

Watchmaking's ability to not only connect him to his family but to potentially link consumers to their families appeals to Farrer.

“You hear the expression, ‘It runs like clockwork,’ ” Farrer said. “I think that’s cool because it is something consistent. A good, high-quality watch can be passed down for generations, and it’s consistent. It will work the same in my children’s hands as it did generations back in my grandpa’s hands. … I think that’s kind of been lost because people look at a watch as a temporary accessory rather than a family heirloom.”

Farrer’s great-grandfather, Wilford Adams, worked in a sawmill in the early 1930s until an accident amputated his leg, and he was no longer able to work. The state of Utah paid for him to be trained as a watchmaker. O.C. Tanner Co. trained Adams for a year and a half before he opened his own jewelry and watchmaking shop in Midvale in 1939. He later moved his family to Vernal, where he opened an additional shop.

Farrer’s grandfather, Calvin Adams, was trained in watchmaking by his father. When Calvin's brother, who had inherited the Midvale store, moved to Missouri in 1964, Calvin bought it at the tender age of 24. Over the next 48 years, Adams met the jewelry and watchmaking needs of residents throughout Utah. He retired in 2006, when his son bought out his business and opened his own jewelry store in Las Vegas. Today, Adams serves customers out of his home.

Boman Farrer's watchmaking journey began while he was serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Raleigh, North Carolina, and a fellow missionary showed him a picture of a wood watch. Upon returning to Utah, he looked into purchasing one but realized it wouldn't suit his active lifestyle. Years later, he decided to create a watch with a leather band and a wooden face that would be comfortable, lightweight and more durable than a watch made exclusively of wood. With that, the Luno watch was born.

Adams, who regularly wears a watch on each wrist, is mentoring his grandson as he builds his own watch legacy. Adams has also taught Farrer to be passionate about creating a quality product.

“(Watches) are way more intricate than people realize, and it’s just exciting to me,” Farrer said. “I think that most people just see it as something that tells the time, but from my grandpa, I learned that there are so many intricate pieces that go into making an accurate timepiece that you would never even realize.”

Adams says that if he could give his grandson one piece of advice about being a successful entrepreneur it would be the importance of creating a relationship of trust with the customer.

“In the jewelry world, people want to know the jeweler,” Adams said. “Jewelry is also what we call a 'blind item,' so they’ve got to trust somebody. … People want something they can trust, and Boman’s got that going.”

Adam's guidance has also increased Farrer's knowledge of his product.

“I went into this project loving watches and loving the idea of creating them and knowing that it is something that has been in my family and kind of wanting to chase that,” Farrer said. “But I didn’t know enough about the technical side of things, so being able to sit down and talk to him about watch movements and how they work and just kind of develop a better understanding on the technical side of how a watch works has been really, really helpful.”

Farrer begins this business endeavor with his grandfather’s blessing.

“He’s doing it on his own, but he’s got his own part. He’s got his chosen niche,” Adams explained before later adding, “People like unusual things, and wood is unusual in the watch world. In the jewelry industry, it’s really interesting how many people always wanted something different, something individual. So that’s kind of the niche that wood watches have been in, and that’s where the success is going to come from, uniqueness.”

Lunowear watches will be available for pre-order on April 13 at 9 a.m. EST.