Top All-American Watch Makers

Top All-American Watch Makers

Top All American Watch Makers   ablogtowatch editor top lists

This 4th of July, we’d like to make note of a few exceptional watch brands not only based in the USA, but who also produce things here. As we’ve mentioned before, America was once home to some of the greatest manufacturers in the world. Unfortunately, our golden age in the industry has long since passed, and very few brands remain truly American. These selections – whether they manufacture everything domestically or use mostly foreign parts with just a few elements made in the US, are the cornerstone of the new American watch industry. The driving force behind them is a passion for timekeeping fueled by American ingenuity. As either proud Americans or unmitigated watch enthusiasts, we salute our American watchmakers.

Top All American Watch Makers   ablogtowatch editor top lists

RGM

An instantly recognizable brand name to those in the know, RGM manufactures high-quality American timepieces in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County. RGM’s commitment to excellence in design is apparent across their whole range – from their basic three-hand models to their epic tourbillons. Most cases and components are manufactured in the United States, and are hand assembled. RGM just announced their third entirely in-house movement, Caliber 20, to celebrate their first twenty years of American Watchmaking. $2200-$100,000+ rgmwatches.com

[Update: July 8, 2014 - While we value the quality of their product, in light of recent events, aBlogtoWatch will no longer cover RGM products and cannot endorse RGM as a company. - Ed. ] What’s This?


Top All American Watch Makers   ablogtowatch editor top lists

Shinola

We’ve recently written about Shinola’s awesome new operation based out of Detroit. From all outward appearances, it looks like they are catching on like wildfire, as all of their timepieces have been sold out for months. This is an exciting time for a revival in modern American watchmaking, and Shinola has the production capacity to be a national leader. In addition to releasing additional wristwatch models over the coming months, they are also opening two boutiques this summer – in Detroit and New York City. We look forward to what this brand has in store for us down the line, and can’t wait to see them move towards in-house manufacturing on a large scale. $550-$600 shinola.com


Top All American Watch Makers   ablogtowatch editor top lists

Keaton Myrick

Based in Oregon, Keaton Myrick got his start in the watch industry working for renowned custom wristwatch company MKII, before attending Lilitz Watch Technicum and moving on to work in one of Rolex’s Service Centers. From there he returned to the Pacific Northwest and opened up his own workshop. There he provides services for high-end timepiece repair and restoration, as well as producing a small and exclusive run of handmade timepieces. Myrick makes his own main plates, bridges, hands, dials, and even most of the screws from scratch. His pieces are made one at a time, and there is a waiting list. Get on it. $18,000 kmindependent.com

15 comments
annaluke2
annaluke2

'But I have a watch it  has no name on it on the back it has two sets of engraved numbers, so I look and on the out side ring where the plate snaps into there more numbers? I just hope it not military and some family's lost it.


                                                                                                                                                         Thank You

                                                                                                                              M.Mullin                                                                

J8Pax
J8Pax

No MKII? Ridiculous.

danielcifuentes
danielcifuentes

What about Hamilton? Or since it's owned by Swatch it doesn't count?

aleximd2000
aleximd2000

Please people make the LumTec in bronze with eta movt. and I will the first on the waiting list   alex

PriyadarshanGajbhiye
PriyadarshanGajbhiye

I second the suggestion to add Xetum to the list. But not really sure if they are truly all American

Neil C
Neil C

Nice article James. I'm going to have to get that 50th Anniversary Shinola Mustang.  I myself am a 1964.5.   My wife might notice an actual new car in the driveway.

ZL
ZL

Let's hear it for PA! Only now that I'm based in Shanghai China do I learn that the watchmaking fulcrum of the US was right in the backyard (Lancaster) of my home town (Philadelphia). Someday I will go back there and explore watch country. Although Hamilton is now owned by Swatch Group, I think it deserves mention as another homegrown (originally) PA company. I love the still very American feel of my 2012 Hamilton.

MID
MID

I'm pulling for Shinola, but the watch shown commits a design error.  It has a tachymeter bezel -- and it looks like a rotating one -- on a watch that's not a chronograph.

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

Is it really "American" watch-making when many of the parts and talent are foreign?  It's like when an American university makes some new scientific discovery and nine times out of ten it's an imported professor and his team of Asian students who have actually made the break-through.  I don't actually have a problem with that, but claiming it as some sort of patriotic victory is daft.  Someone in an earlier post about Shinola claimed to have discovered that very little of their product has a truly American origin.  Is country of origin only about who pays the most to get the job done?  How about I win the lottery and decide to become, say, the best... Guatemalan watch maker in history.  I'll hire in a bunch of clever Swiss, German and French engineers, an Italian to design the whole thing and a Chinese factory to knock it all together.  Oh, the pride I would feel every time I heard that Guatemalan anthem *sobs*. 

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@Ulysses31 I understand your point. But I'd rather have a British watch by a UK owned company who designed the watch rather than something like (and I'm not picking on them with any malice) Graham which is Swiss owned, designed, etc. and only has an English name these days. RGM started off using Swiss movements (still does on some pieces) but has moved to their own  movements as time has gone on. Good on them.

I would agree with you when a brand only sticks their name on the dial and otherwise uses OEM cases,  industrial movements, stock hands, etc. and brings nothing new or unique to the table. But there are lots of American (and other non-Swiss brands) that offer diversity to the watch buying public. Would you be happier if the 3 or 4 big Swiss watch groups were the only ones offering mechanical watches? With the huge investment it takes to produce industrialized (as opposed to very low volume hand made) movements, there is little option for new brands except to use movements from outside suppliers. How 'much' American, British, German, French, etc. a brand is varies widely by the brand. In some cases, I'd say you are spot on. Other cases, I beg to differ. Cheers.

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

@MarkCarson @Ulysses31 Of course there are exceptions.  I understand that economic and industrial pressures mean that options for sourcing parts has become very limited, and arguably several watch component makers are monopolists.  This would make it very difficult to produce a watch from parts sourced 100% in one country.  Just as we question how "Swiss" a Swiss watch really is, we should question similar claims from other manufacturers who are essentially trying to exploit their historical origins for profit just as the Swiss are.  I'm glad there are other manufacturers popping up that are based in non-traditional locations and I think they should be supported by our custom but I wouldn't be able to shake that feeling in the back of my mind as to whether or not the crucial parts of the watch were genuinely from the country in which the firm was founded.  I like several of the watches shown here, but I wouldn't mind there being more openness.

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@AlbertoPerez Hard to say. They do use Swiss (Rhonda quartz) and Japanese (SII) movements but as everyone know making  movements is a big deal and outside of RGM, I'm not aware of anyone else making movements in the U.S. The new company Shinola (in Detroit) uses Rhonda quartz tech in a joint venture with them. I seem to recall from an interview with Roland Murphy (the RGM in RGM Watches) that he has used gears and other parts from the Orient when making his in-house RGM movements. The Swiss do this too. 

I've seen the position put forth that you should not call a watch made in the U.S. unless it has  51% or more U.S. content. Like the  Swiss regulations. But then what happens when the components come from all over the world and no single country has produced 50%+ of the content of a watch. I guess then it has no country of origin accordingly. Like autos, the country of final assembly gets to call it 'made in xxx'. The only alternative is "Made on Earth".