The Rehabilitation of the American Watchmaking Industry

In the most unlikely of places, the American watch industry was born. Built to keep train conductors, engineers and travelers abreast of the changing of times (which was conceived from the need to keep cross-country trains from crashing head-on while traveling), Americans began making watches to keep up with the country’s drastically changing landscape. More than 124 watch companies existed in the US between 1809 and 1968, including Bulova, Elgin, Hamilton, and Waltham.

While over the years the American watch river has run dry, there are still a devoted few who believe that the “Made in the USA” label is just as valuable as it ever was, if not more. Of the once-booming 124 companies, only few have stayed afloat, with most manufactured overseas.

In a passionate essay for Gear Patrol, Ed Estlow proposes the revitalization of the American watchmaking business. With a few carefully placed dials (which he believes can be sources less expensively than Swiss dials and on par with Asian dials), the industry could see a blossoming do-over. So much so, in fact, that Estlow believes “Made in America” may just see a return to power sooner than expected.

The Network
Whale Global