My Car Quest

September 22, 2018

This Watch Was 100% Made In The USA

by Mike –

Most of the finest mechanical watches are made in Switzerland today. At one time some of the best watches were made in England, Germany, Switzerland and yes the USA. Today fine mechanical watches are collectors items for those who love old fashioned mechanical devices.

During most of its history the watch was mechanical powered by winding a mainspring, and kept time using an oscillating balance wheel.

The electronic quartz watch was invented in the 1960s, and is powered by a battery and keeps time using a vibrating quartz crystal.

By the 1980s the quartz watch had taken over most of the market from the mechanical watch. However, lovers of mechanical things, like cars, also seem to love mechanical watches, even though quartz watches are more accurate, more reliable and cheaper.

I have recently discovered the Vortic Watch Company, located in Colorado, which sells watches that are 100% made in the USA, including the mechanical movement!

Vortic Watch Company

This company has an interesting business model – they restore old (originally made in the early 20th or late 19th century) American made pocket watches and fit them into wrist watch form. They surround the original movement and dial in a new titanium case with new leather straps and buckle. The result is a fine mechanical wrist watch with components all made in the USA. And with history too.

Vortic Watch Company

In their own words – from the Vortic web site,

The American Artisan Series is the only truly American made watch built today. Each one-of-a-kind piece is fabricated using antique, U.S. made pocket watch mechanisms and a wide array of custom options.

I recently acquired the watch shown here which is an Illinois brand made in the early 20th century in Springfield, Illinois. The mechanical movement is an original antique and has been refurbished by Vortic. It runs for more than 40 hours and keeps perfect time (I tested it). It has 21 jewels and a 46 mm diameter case that allows the numbers to be large enough for me to read without my glasses, which is nice.

Vortic Watch Company

Vortic typically names their models after the city where, or near where, the watch was originally made such as “Boston” for Waltham watches, “Springfield” for the Illinois brand and “Chicago” for the Elgin brand.

They have finished watches available for sale or they will make one to your specifications using movements they have in stock. They will even take your own pocket watch and turn it into a wrist watch. Prices start at $995 USD and go up to a few thousand dollars which is very reasonable for something so unique.

Vortic Watch Company

How cool is that? Could this business model work with old cars?

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

 

 

Vortic Watch Company

When searching around the Vortic Watch Company web site I found photos of my very watch used as a model for explaining basic watch components. Here they are.

Vortic Watch Company

Vortic Watch Company

Vortic Watch Company

Vortic Watch Company

Vortic Watch Company

Summary
This Watch Was 100% Made In The USA
Article Name
This Watch Was 100% Made In The USA
Description
Here is a mechanical wrist watch that is all made in the USA. The movements are around 100 years old and have been refurbished by the Vortic Watch Company.
Author

Comments

  1. Philip Sarris says:

    How cool is that? Could this business model work with old cars?

    Yes, the restomod world of modifying classic cars with new drivetrains and modern systems is alive and well. I just completed my second classic car restomod project, a 1971 Aston Martin DBS V8. It was already missing it’s original engine when I purchased it so it now has an LS3 making it more powerful, highly reliable, and will attain modern mpg standards. No modifications to the exterior ond only very minor interior modifications leaves the car looking as original.

    • Phillip,

      I agree restomod cars are very similar to Vortics business model. The big difference is Vortic takes old parts and in a factory setting they make new watches which have been repurposed from pocket watches to wrist watches. And they do it in volume not just one or two.

  2. Bill Cooper says:

    Very interesting, Mike.

    There is another 100% American mechanical watch which you may also find interesting, the RGM Watch Company of Mount Joy, PA. They currently make mechanical watches from scratch, including a Tourbillon, entirely in Mount Joy. Only their chronograph uses an outside sourced mechanism, the Swiss Valjoux 7750, modified by RGM, and used by many other Swiss firms including Breitling, Omega, Baum & Mercier, Chronoswiss, Panerai, Tag Hueur & others.

    Their website link: http://www.rgmwatches.com/watches/

    • Bill,

      Thank you for this information. I have heard of RGM but was not aware that they make the complete movement in the USA. I just spent a little time on their web site and plan to spend more time their today. Their watches look beautiful and well made.

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