Before the Swiss dominated the watch scene, American-made watches reigned supreme. And while I am not opposed to Swiss-made watches I always feel good when I buy something made in America (usually partly made in America). Oh well… what else can you expect with globalization. As of late, more and more watch manufacturers are popping up in the good ol’ USA. Many can be found on crowd-sourcing funding sites such as Kickstarter. For this post I will focus only on brands that are up and running. Not all of these watch companies make their watches from only American parts, but each is a genuine American watch brand.
Shinola was founded in Detroit, a smart move for a company that wants to be known for American manufacturing. The Runwell is their classic watch. I especially like the Runwell with the orange leather band. At $575, the watch is a steal considering it comes with a sapphire crystal and a Detroit-built quartz movement. The Runwell is available in 41mm or 47mm. Oh yeah, there is also a chronograph version for around $750.
Devon is headquartered in Los Angeles, and led by Creative Director, Designer, and Conceptual Artist Scott Devon. The company produces the famous Tread Watch. If you have the cash for this mechanical wonder, your wrist will get more attention than Hue Hefner at a Playboy mansion party.
One of Kobold’s watches I particularly like is the Lynx USA at $2150. The Lynx sports a retro-sized 36mm case. I don’t like the large watch cases that are trendy at the moment. A nice watch is like a nice suit, it’s going to last a long time so you’d better get one that will still look good in 5 years. Worn by the late James Gandolfini, Kobold watches have been worn by movie stars, singers, and explorers. And in case some hoodlum tries to snatch your Kobold right off your wrist, they make knives too.
At $595, the M55 is a great looking watch for the price, not to mention there are only 200 made. What makes Lum-Tec unique is their proprietary luminescence technology which keeps the watch readable deep into the night. What makes them even more unique is the limited availability of their watches. Limited runs means you get a watch no-one else on your block is likely to have. From green to blue to orange, many luminescent color options are available on these watches.
Weiss Watch Company
Founded by Swiss trained watchmaker, Cameron Weiss, Weiss watch company strives to put American watches back on the map. Their current lineup consists of field watches in either a black or white dial. These really are classic looking military-style watches. You don’t have to enlist to wear one though, all you have to do is fork out $795.
Jorg Gray Watches
Founded in 1998, Jorg Gray offers beautiful watches at affordable prices. What makes Jorg Gray so damn cool is that “President Obama received his original JG6500 in 2007 as a birthday gift from his secret service detail and has been wearing it ever since.” You can get your own JG6500 for only $395. It’s the closest you’ll ever get to being President of the United States.
Designed in California and made in Switzerland, Xetum makes some kick-ass watches. The PVD black dial Tyndall is my favorite Xetum watch, however they are all nice-looking. The white hands on an otherwise all black watch are what makes the black Tyndall stand out for me, overall a great casual watch.
Founded in 1992 by American watchmaker Roland G. Murphy. Famous for their flagship watch, the Pennsylvania Tourbillon, which is the only tourbillon watch made in the USA. With an asking price of $95,000 (stainless steel) this watch is for serious horological enthusiasts only. RGM is the king of America watch companies and if I could afford one, I’d much rather have an RGM on my wrist than anything made in Switzerland. I could go on and on about the amazing detail of an RGM but I’ll let you check them out for yourself.
More affordable than the Tourbillon, the PS 801 E – starts at $9,700 in stainless steel and is one hell of a watch.
My favorite horological blog is wornandwound.com. If you’re looking for some American made accessories for your growing watch collection then I recommend checking out their shop. Here’s a quick overview of what they have to offer.
W&W Watch Roll
Made in NYC, this is a great case for watch aficianados on the move. The case also features a pocket designed to fit their spring bar tool. I’ve carried one of these with me on travels all over the world and it’s never failed me. The end of the tool has caps to keep from stabbing holes in all of your belongings.
Once again made in New York City, the collection of watch straps may be small, however, the quality is big. Only the very best leathers are used for these watch straps so you can be sure they will last a very long time.
Stay true to yourself. Be kind to others. Define your own style.