About Us

Our Mission

Our company motto is “history remembers those who are a little bit different.” Maybe it’s the keep Austin weird culture here that makes us think this way, but there’s something fundamentally true behind it. From bold, risk takers to extravagant characters, every great legacy has a mark of distinction that makes them truly unique. In Austin, we celebrate that mark of distinction, and the beauty of individuality.

As a watch company rooted in Austin, our watch designs are sophisticated with a certain finesse that adds character and charm. Each of our watches are inspired by local spots in Austin, like the Barton Springs swimming pool and Bergstrom airport. They embody a sense of adventure, freedom and desire to live life to the fullest. So, now it's your turn. Get ready to live on Austin time. 

Meet Steven

CEO/Founder

Steven Lee has had a lifelong love affair with the poeticism, timelessness and inspirational beauty of mechanical watches. From the moment his first watch was gifted to him by his mother to becoming the inheritor of his grandfather's watch, Steven knew that watches were going to be one of the most central themes in his life. This passion inspired him as a collector that led him around Europe and the rest of the world on a personal quest to uncover man's relationship with time through the use of timepieces. Through his travels and continued education, Steven became driven with the strong desire to share his passion and knowledge with others. He began sketching rough watch designs in a notebook that evolved into intricate creations that were a cumulation of his collective experiences and enthusiasm. As a longtime member of the Austin,Texas community, Steven wanted to capture his love of his adopted city and its wholly unique spirit and vibe fusing this essence into his existing designs. These designs became the catalyst and foundation that would launch DuFrane Watches in 2016. DuFrane is Steven's mother's maiden name paying homage to her early influence on his love of watches. 

Named after Austin landmarks and culture, the first series of DuFrane Watches feature the Bergstrom, which symbolizes the innovation of early pilots who strapped their pocket watches around their wrists during flight. Meanwhile, the Barton Springs 656 takes advantage of more modern watch technology, such as automatic mechanical movement, to create a long lasting and reliable diving watch.

Each DuFrane is a unique timepiece that is a fusion of Steven's passion, classic design, and Austin’s unique essence, making each a timepiece firmly rooted in the present, paying homage to a golden past and looking forward to a future that inspires the generations to come. 

The Rest of the Team

Johnston Ayala
Creative Director

Johnston is a creative and outdoor junkie, so when he is not working on strategic brand initiatives for DuFrane, he is in his music studio writing songs, playing tennis or hitting the Austin greenbelt with his pup, a border heeler named Daisy Mae. 

Michelle Kitchens
Lead Designer

When Michelle isn't designing DuFrane packaging, landing pages, or editing photos, you will find her skating on her skateboard or out exploring and jumping off cliffs into hidden water holes tucked-away in Texas. Follow along on her adventures at @michekitch92

Nick Noon
Social Media Director

Leather, whiskey, denim, boots and an eye for photography. These interests help Nick curate the incredible imagery of DuFrane Watches. His cultured and refined sense of style are honed by his many adventures with his family. Check him out on @boot_addict.

Austin: Our Home and Inspiration

Austin is a beautiful conundrum, It is simultaneously complex while decidedly simple. It is at once creative, rustic, outdoorsy, and chic without  ever being pretentious. It is a constant source of inspiration for those who visit and those who live the dream here on a daily basis.