A few years ago, when this blog barely had a registered domain name, I experimented with expanding the site’s content and changing its direction in an attempt to be more helpful to my readers, straying away from a sort of personal mood board of EDC items I liked by commenting on submitted EDCs. One of the first contributors I had to the site, Kent Willert, aka wiseform, helped me get started by submitting a few pocket dumps of his own for me to publish. Recently, Kent has been putting out some fantastic, hand-crafted carbon fiber rings from his Arizona-based company, refractory. He graciously sent me one of his products asking for an honest review, so I’ll run you guys through my thoughts on the ring in hopes to help Kent out like he helped me when I started.
Read on for the full review
The inspiration for the refractory carbon fiber rings came out of necessity — Kent, like many EDCers, works with his hands and often found that traditional rings and wedding bands couldn’t withstand the abuse. After months of research, development, testing and refinement, his efforts culminated in a durable, lightweight, and exotic alternative.
The rings come in different widths and finishes, offering a variety of options to get a ring that works for you and your style. I opted for the thinner 6mm band (I have small hands) in the “wood-like” grain, shown above. It’s a beautifully organic-looking intermediate between Kent’s other offerings, linear (similar to brushed metal) and damascus (sporting wispy, wavy patterns). The carbon fiber material gives an overall matte black appearance, with the slightest sheen in the right lighting. It’s reminiscent of PVD coating or black titanium, making the ring assimilate easily into carries opting for that subdued, understated, all-black-everything aesthetic.
The ring uses a “comfort fit” design, allowing the wearer to slide it on effortlessly and wear it hard with confidence that it’ll stay on. Despite weighing in at only 2.05g for my particular unit, it hasn’t come loose, nor has it become uncomfortable during everyday activity. While Kent stands by his carbon fiber rings to withstand abuse from impact, heat, and even chemical sources, he included with the ring some maintenance tips and Scotchbrite pads to clean up the ring (of course, though, he can repair or replace rings per “reasonable request”). I have been wearing the ring for a week and have no doubt that this ring is as tough as advertised.
Depending on the style you get and which finger you wear the ring on, it doesn’t seem to hinder my grip or use of any EDC gear. This can probably be attributed to a combination of comfort, light weight, a slim profile and simple design. I appreciate how I don’t have to baby the ring as much as I would say, my watch bracelet or something, to maintain a pristine finish.
To be honest, though, I was skeptical at first — I had never worn a ring before, and while I thought these rings looked pretty tight, I figured I wouldn’t be able to pull it off. After only a few days of wear, though, I feel a ring like this could be easily incorporated into my EDC for a long time. It feels as natural and effortless to wear as my watch, and I feel “naked” without it now.
I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by this ring, and I would recommend it to anyone from married EDCers looking for a more durable, lightweight and lower profile wedding band to the more sartorially inclined (I didn’t forget about you guys either) looking to add some sophisticated accessories to their carry (be sure to check out my buddy NiCo’s review for his thoughts). With pre-fabbed hand-crafted configurations starting at $165 to fully customized rings at $345, these rings are also a fairly affordable option compared to other precious metals. If that seems a bit steep, be sure to Like them on Facebook for additional savings, and remember that the quality is there and worth every penny.
Buy Online: REFRACTORY carbon fiber rings