Independent Watch Brand | How We Began


The manual winding watch Bergstrom bronze

The DuFrane motto is “history remembers those who are a little bit different.”  From bold, risk takers to extravagant characters, every great legacy has a mark of distinction that makes them truly unique. 

Our watch designs embody a sense of adventure, freedom and desire to live life to the fullest. So, now it's your turn. Adventure Awaits. 

Founding the Brand

My name Steven Lee and I've had a lifelong love affair with the poeticism, timelessness and inspirational beauty of mechanical watches. From the moment of my first watch purchase as a youngster (around 8), to being gifted by my mother my grandfather's old Wyler mechanical watch, I knew that watches were going to be one of the most central themes in my life. This passion inspired me as a collector that led me around Europe on a personal quest to uncover more of the history behind watchmaking and the incredible brands that have hundreds of years of combined history. Through these travels and continued education, I became driven with the strong desire to share my passion and knowledge with others. I began sketching rough watch designs in a notebook that evolved into intricate model designs that incorporated some of my most desired design queues. As a longtime member of the Austin, Texas community, I wanted to capture my love of this adopted city and its wholly unique spirit and vibe. I started to fuse this essence into my existing designs. These designs then became the catalyst and foundation that would launch DuFrane Watches in 2016. DuFrane is my mother's maiden name and so I named the brand this as I wanted to pay homage to her early influence on my love of watches. 

Named after Austin landmarks and historical figures, the first series of DuFrane Watches feature the hand wound Bergstrom, which symbolize the innovation and fearlessness of early pilots who strapped their pocket watches around their wrists during flight (I too am a pilot- it was my first career). The follow up release of the Barton Springs 656 takes advantage of more modern watch technology, such as automatic mechanical movement, to create a long lasting and reliable diver model.

Each DuFrane is a unique timepiece that is a fusion of my 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.