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If you’re already started looking, you’ll have discovered that it’s hard to find American made watches. Many brands produce in other countries and what at first may seem American made – isn’t. Despite that, there are some great still brands worth shopping from out there.
If you’re looking for a new timepiece, you want one that’s going to last.
Most of these brands use traditional methods, designing and assembling their watches in the USA. You’ll find that most combine American and Swiss parts, to create timeless, accurate, and impressive watches.
In this guide, we’ve collected some of the very best American watch brands on the market. From vintage to modern, you’re covered. We’ll even take a dive into the history of American watch making – so let’s jump in.
Our Favorite American Made Watches
Based in: Detroit, Michigan
Pricing: From $395
Styles: Chronographs, sport, minimalist
Shinola’s watches are designed and assembled by artisans in Detroit.
Every watch that comes out of Shinola’s Detroit factory is crafted by skilled artisans, using the highest quality Swiss and other imported parts.
The team behind the brand are so confident in the quality that they offer a limited lifetime warranty on all of their core watch styles.
The leather straps are also cut, sewn and painted in their Detroit factory.
Based in: Nashville, Tennessee
Pricing: From $1,450
Weiss Watch Company is a family-owned business, with a team of detail-obsessed watch makers behind them.
They have Swiss-trained and certified American watchmakers overseeing every watch, combining traditional techniques with new technology.
Every movement in the watches are reviewed, jeweled, and finished by hand in Weiss’ studio, designed to last for generations.
Based in: Austin, Texas
Pricing: From $499
Styles: Vintage, Diving, Modern styles
DuFrane is an American watch brand based in Austin, Texas. Every watch is named after landmarks and historical figures, with each one featuring a hand wound Bergstrom.
The watches have genuine Swiss movements, and are assembled in Texas.
You’ll find a selection of styles, including Diving watches, tool watches, and pilot watches.
Based in: Detroit, Michigan
Pricing: From $998
The Detroit Watch Company has been creating and assembling timeless, high-quality watches, in their Michigan-based studio since 2013.
Every component in the watches are designed based on the specific movement and components, and the watches are carefully assembled by hand.
Based in: Pennsylvania
Pricing: From $3,650
Styles: Classic, Diver, Tactical
Founded in 1998 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as part of an entrepreneurship class at Carnegie Mellon University.
In 2006, the brand released their Spirit of America watch, which was the first serially U.S.-assembled mechanical watch in a generation.
By 2014, Kobold were making all of their watch cases in Merry Oaks Farm, near Pittsburgh. They finish every watch case by hand.
Kobold also produce some of their watch cases are also produced in factories in other countries, including Italy and Switzerland.
No matter where their watches are made, you can find every last bit of information about the watch you buy on their website or by talking to their team.
Based in: Detroit, Michigan
Pricing: From $1,499
Styles: Classic, Modern
Since 2016 Pelton has been making luxury Made in the USA watches from their Detroit-based headquarters.
The brand’s philosophy is simple: create timeless, high-quality watches that their customers can keep for generations.
Pelton watch cases start as a block of metal, and are carefully crafted into the final piece. They also produce the only Made in the USA metal watch bracelets on the market.
Based in: Fort Collins, Colorado
Vortic Watch Company is a Northern Colorado based small batch and custom watchmaker. They also restore vintage pocket watches, giving them a new lease of life, turning them into wearable, classically designed watches.
They’re on a mission to preserve American-watch-making manufacturing traditions, that began to fade out in the mid-1900s.
Vortic creates watches in a variety of styles. But, what runs through each piece is a feeling of timelessness and durability. Vortic often sells out, but you can get on their waiting list on their website to be notified when they release new watches.
What are the main types of watch?
While shopping around for American-made watches, you may have noticed that there’s lots of different styles of watches out there.
When choosing a watch, pick a style that suits your personality and style. We’ve included the most famous watch styles below:
- Diving Watch – A dive watch is a classic watch specifically designed for underwater diving. It usually has a waterproof rating of at least 100 meters, a rotating bezel to track your elapsed dive time, and a luminous dial to read the time in low-light conditions quickly. Dive watches aren’t just popular with divers; they’ve become popular in recent years.
- Aviation Watch – Originally designed for pilots, an Aviator watch usually features a larger face with a 24-hour dial, two time zones, and a specially calibrated rotating bezel to measure longitude and latitude. It may also feature a chronograph and an altimeter.
- Chronograph Watch – If you’ve ever wondered what those extra timers are on a watch, it was probably a chronograph watch. A chronograph watch has a stopwatch feature that allows you to measure time. It usually has three dials, one to measure elapsed time, a second dial to measure minutes, and an hour dial.
- Dress Watch – A dress watch features a simple, elegant design and is designed to be worn with dressier attire like a black tie event. Dress watches are typically thinner and less bulky than other types of watches.
Why support American-made watch brands?
American watchmaking dates back to the early 1800’s, when many of the major watch brands we know today first began. Before the 1800s, most watches were produced by Switzerland or Britain, controlling the global pocket watch market.
The first mass-produced American watch was produced in Waterbury, Connecticut, in 1853, and the classic pocket watch industry boomed within the USA.
In 1914, with the rise of war in Europe, wristwatches overtook pocket watches in popularity, and unfortunately, American watchmakers couldn’t keep up with demand. The decline in American-made watches sadly continued when in the 1940s, factories used to make watch parts were required to produce components to support the war effort. Since the 1940s, the USA-made watch market hasn’t recovered to pre-war levels.
However, in recent years the demand for high-quality American-made watches has grown, and many watchmakers are bringing the craft back to US soil.
Global brands like Timex have recognized the demand for made-in-the-USA watches and released an American-made collection.
By supporting watches made in the USA, you are helping to support the American watch market and keep the heritage and legacy of American watchmaking alive.
Recap: American Made Watches
Hopefully you’ve found your perfect American made timepiece. Each watch is an heirloom you can cherish for generations.
If you’re looking to discover more great American made brands, we recommend checking this post, which features over twenty amazing made in the USA brands.