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Rising Stars: Meet Brian Dougherty

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian Dougherty.

Brian, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I was separating from the Navy in 2018 and unsure what to do once I got out. It was also when my oldest son turned four years old, and we had a little on the way. Subsequently, I started to learn the importance of not just teaching but also showing my sons how to live. Knowing the importance of this, I wanted to be the example of the lessons I learned as a Navy SEAL that allowed me to succeed in challenging times.

I thought, what better way to do this than to start my own business doing something with what I love – watches. After all, it is an industry rich in heritage and traditions that would present many challenges and obstacles to overcome. I knew to succeed in this industry, I would have to have fun, an unparalleled work ethic, determination, grit, and even a little luck, to name a few. If I prospered, I knew my sons would see and understand through my actions what it takes to succeed in life, no matter what they end up doing themselves. Although the business is still growing, I could not be more proud of where we are today. From the kitchen table in San Diego, we had come a long way from I started. I moved the business to Denver, have a dedicated workshop, and growth is positive yearly. Most importantly to me, both my sons are actively involved. Their ideas can be crazy at times, but they can also be ingenious, then tend not to overthink things like most adults. Also, they see firsthand my struggle, success, and determination in doing something I love.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has not been a smooth road. But I knew it would not be. One of the most important lessons I learned along the way is to trust your gut and stay true to your vision. I often found that the so-called “experts” would promise the world and want to take my vision, my reason for “why,” in a different direction than I intended. It took a few times of being hijacked to start trusting my gut and staying true to myself and the company.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Simply put, I am a watchmaker. I design and manufacture watches. Our service to not just our customers but also others is what sets us apart. We are a family-run business and strive to treat others as part of the family. When you buy a watch from us, you become one of our family members, and we go out of our way to take care of you-as any family should. Our customers and new family members know this, which is why they continue supporting our business. This is what we are most proud of.

Also, as a veteran-owned business and former Navy SEAL, we understand the service and sacrifice of America’s warriors. Our company’s history is rooted in service. We continue this lineage by standing behind those standing on the front lines. This is why Declan James Watch Co. donates $100 to the Navy SEAL Foundation in honor of our family members purchasing the watch.

Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?
I am genuinely creative at heart. I enjoy ceramics and creating things. One of my fondest childhood memories was all the craft projects I would do with my mom in grade school.


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