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.
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?
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
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
We’ve covered Devon watches thoroughly on aBlogtoWatch, so let’s just leave it at this: This is American watchmaking at its most bizarre. And we love it. The Tread Watch is a marvel of a timekeeper and utilizes mechanical and electrical components in harmony to provide a method of timekeeping devoid of a dial or hands. These timepieces are ingeniously engineered, high fashion wrist-wear, based in Los Angeles. Naturally. $10,000+ devonworks.com
Kobold is a brand that needs no introduction. At the forefront of the “Internet Watch Craze” that gave birth to any number of great timepieces (and A Blog of Note), Kobold Watches have firmly implanted themselves in the hearts of American watch enthusiasts. Manufactured in Pennsylvania, their line now includes over two-dozen models, including a number of dressier styles to complement their original no-nonsense tool watch designs. Kobold’s business model continues to inspire startup watch brands worldwide, but nowhere is that pride as strongly felt as here on the home front. $2,150-$16,500 koboldwatch.com
LÜM-TEC lit up the scene (see what we did there?) of affordable, American-designed sports watches when they hit the market back in 2008. From the beginning, their designs have all been about enhanced visibility in low-light conditions. All LÜM-Tec timepieces incorporate their proprietary MDV (Maximum Darkness Visibility) luminescent material, which is about three times brighter than Super-Luminova. In keeping with their low price-points, most components are manufactured overseas, but the brand, design and ingenuity is 100% American homegrown. $435-$1,295 lum-tec.com
Weiss Watch Company
A newcomer on the scene, Weiss Watch Company is the brainchild of Cameron Weiss, a WOSTEP Certified Watchmaker who has worked for a number of Switzerland’s most prestigious manufactures. Assembled in Los Angeles, Weiss’ first timepieces are modeled after World War II field watches, and follow a less-is-more philosophy that is easy to appreciate. They utilize a modified ETA/Unitas Caliber 6497 manual winding movement, sapphire crystal, and a black dial with Super-Luminova numerals. The case is 316L steel, and the strap is olive drab canvas – both are manufactured here in the United States. $795 weisswatchcompany.com