The watch market in the United States, which has for a very long time been a stable and predictable sector for watch aficionados and customers, is currently undergoing shifts and transformations. A whole new market of people who are looking to buy watches manufactured in the United States of America has evolved, in part because of the volatility that is so American. This is where American watchmakers and smaller brands make their ascents and descents evolve and transform. A revival is taking place in the watchmaking industry in the United States. Additionally, it requires a significant amount of effort.
Nick Harris, a former Seiko modder who attended Seattle’s Watch Technology Institute and launched his own brand, Orion, responded to my inquiry about the current state of tiny American watchmakers by describing the situation as “complete anarchy.” This was in response to my asking about the status of American watchmakers in general. To put it briefly, “It’s nuts.”
Since the 1940s, when notable American watchmakers were forced to divert their factories’ production to wartime manufacture due to the outbreak of World War II, there has been no activity in the watchmaking industry in the United States. Switzerland’s success in maintaining its neutrality throughout World War II meant that American watch businesses were never able to recover fully. Their Rolexes and Seikos provided customers from the United States with a sense of comfort and familiarity. Some of those buyers came to their senses in 2011 when Shinola released timepieces that utilized quartz movements made in Switzerland but were manufactured in the Company’s factory in Detroit. Quite a few other businesses have taken the same course of action.
There is no doubt that American watch brands have a rich heritage. In the 1990s, a small group of skilled artisans in the United States kicked off what would later become a revival in the art of watchmaking. When it was first introduced, the movement was slow to gain traction, but after some time had passed, innovation started to spread at an ever-increasing rate. As a direct result of the success of these industry pioneers, more brands are now entering the market on an annual basis.
Only a few firms produce wholly American watches, but those that do exist are more than capable of going head to head with even the best watch brands in all of Europe. Although these companies manufacture their products in the United States, several components that they employ still originate in other countries. The following is an overview of eight of the most prominent American watch brands that are currently making waves in the watchmaking industry.
The Waterbury Clock Company was formerly the most successful manufacturer of timepieces in the history of the American watchmaking industry. In the 1850s, they used to create timepieces in large quantities in the United States. This was at least 40 years before Henry Ford’s Model T factory started operating for business.
Over six million Yankee pocket watches were purchased by their owners by the time the century was drawing to a close. The Mickey Mouse watch was first displayed to the public for the first time in 1933 during the Chicago World’s Fair. The watch was a hit for both youngsters and their parents.
After World War I, the Waterbury Clock Company changed its name to Timex and continued to operate as the only American watch company that had survived.
Timex relocated its manufacturing units overseas so that the Company could remain competitive in the watch market around the world. In 2001, they pulled the plug on their last manufacturing plant in the United States, marking the end of an era for many people.
Mercer and Company, which has its headquarters in New Jersey, pay tribute to Hugh Mercer through the usage of the brand name. He practiced medicine and was also a general in the armed forces. In addition to this, he went on to have an incredible connection with George Washington.
The bespoke watches produced by Mercer Watch Co. are assembled from components of the highest possible quality. Additionally, the Company produces timepieces for other, more well-known brands. In contrast to the prices offered by those larger companies, the timepieces produced by Mercer Watch Co. come at a rate that is noticeably more affordable.
The Mercer watch brand offers timepieces that are not only reasonably priced but also created in the United States. You will never find a watch that is so unique in any other store.
Weiss relies on practices that aren’t seen very often in the United States these days and uses approaches from the past. As a consequence, the resulting watch is of the most outstanding possible quality and is wholly American in appearance and construction.
Weiss manufactures buckles, cases, and crowns all from a single block of stainless steel so that their watches are as authentically American as possible. Because of this, the watch is able to resist some sorts of corrosion. The dials are made out of solid brass to ensure that there are very few areas of weakness anywhere on the device. The case’s back, and the front is both made of sapphire crystal, which is a very durable material.
The majority of American-made timepieces have a Swiss or Japanese mechanism inside. But not Weiss. Weiss used a movement with the designation Caliber 1003, which was developed solely in the United States. In a workshop located in Los Angeles, the Caliber movement is being organized. This action is done by hand and does not require any assistance from modern technology.
The assembly of a Weiss watch typically takes roughly 35 hours, but the timepiece itself is designed to last for a great deal longer. Even generations, provided it is cared for appropriately.
Detroit Watch Company
The Detroit Watch Company, founded by designers Patrick and Amy Ayoub, was founded with the founders’ prior experience in design as the primary resource. They made the decision to locate in the city of Motor City.
The Detroit Watch Company pays homage to the rich history of the city while also creating timepieces that are reflective of many eras. The City Collection 313 and the M1-Woodward are only two instances of such examples.
The watches produced by Detroit Watch Company are accessible to a wide variety of people, including those with an interest in history and collectors who adore timeless designs.
Devon Devon is the first American brand to be considered for the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. The competition takes place in Geneva, Switzerland. Their wristwatches are genuinely one of a kind because they are crafted and assembled in the United States. Devon watches are unique in that they provide the wearer with the time in a manner that is not offered by any other brand. This is accomplished through the use of an eye-catching display that consists of interlocking time belts.
The United States is the only location outside of this country where Devon designs and manufactures its watches. They are one of the best in the group, and it would be an understatement to say that they are well worth their value.
Oak and Oscar
Oak and Oscar is a lone-wolf watchmaking company that produces mechanical timepieces. Oak and Oscar’s watches are frequently motivated by significant life events that call for the purchase of a memento to serve as a reminder of the occasion. Examples include weddings and the tradition of a father giving his watch to his son. The finest leather and the highest grade stainless steel are frequently used in the construction of timepieces. They take great satisfaction in producing timepieces that are the result of careful consideration.
The watch was only partially assembled and tested in Switzerland; the remaining components were made in the United States.
One of the beautiful things about this Company is that a portion of the profits gained from each sale is contributed to a canine rescue organization located in the Chicago area.
Brew & Co
There are not a lot of watches on the market that are comparable to the Brew Retromatic, and there are even fewer that are priced at the same level. You are going to have a difficult time locating a watch that is not round if that is what you are looking for.
The Retromatic, which serves as the Company’s flagship model, features an ingenious design and can be purchased for less than $500 despite including a Swiss automatic movement. The most appealing aspect of this timepiece is the fact that, despite its approachable attitude and affordable price, it possesses a mechanical movement and a level of detail that are popular among watch lovers.
It’s not a new concept, but Autodromo watches are inspired by autos. However, designer Bradley Price has breathed new life into the old cliche in the United States. He did this by merging a unified design language shared by both vehicles and watch enthusiasts with high-quality finishes and reasonable prices. (due to Hong Kong manufacture).
It’s been a winning formula for purchasers, and it’s surfaced in a variety of various forms in the automotive industry over the years. Those forms include: The flagship Intereuropa was designed to seem like classic Italian automobiles from the years 1949 to 1964, and it achieves this look by employing vivid colors and curvaceous lines. It has a thickness of just a hair under a millimeter and a width of 39 millimeters across the lugs; additionally, it costs 1,250 dollars.
The history of American pocket watches serves as a source of inspiration for Vortic. They are intended for collectors who value symbolism more than the actual content. They assemble vintage pocket watches along with more contemporary bands from their base in the state of Colorado.
The procedure is carried out in this manner. A pawn store is where the watch was sold. The proprietor of the store removes the movement from the case but keeps it for later resale. After that, Vortic steps in and recreates older pieces for those movements using their expertise in reverse engineering.
Therefore, the watch faces, bands, and cases are all up to date, but the movement that powers the watch is the same one that powers a vintage timepiece. A tiny piece of history that you can wear on your wrist! One that you might also one day hand down to a loved one or someone else who is important to you.
Kobold was initially conceived in the year 1998 in the city of Pittsburgh as an assignment for an entrepreneurship course offered by the University of Carnegie Mellon. Even in the modern-day, they maintain their autonomy and remain family-owned.
In addition to being the first Company to sell watches online, Kobold also introduced the first watches to be serially assembled in the United States in almost a decade. Additionally, the Company continues to produce its watch cases at Merry Oaks Farm, which is located in the Amish Country of Northwestern Pennsylvania.
Kobold was also responsible for the development of the Seal watch, which was inspired by an idea conceived by a man named James Gandolfini, who, in the past, worked in the acting industry. After more than a decade of being manufactured, the Seal continues to be an influential model for new watch designs.