The Rise of the American Timepiece

Watch brands with roots in North America

The Rise of the American Timepiece

Postby koimaster » December 14th 2015, 4:55pm

Decades (and decades) ago, American watchmakers were the equal of any in the world.

Yes, including the Swiss.

With railroads needing to run on time to avoid those nasty head-on collisions, the ability to accurately tell the time was a matter of life and death. More importantly, it was a matter of good commerce, to say nothing of keeping insurance premiums in check.

And so two things were needed. A novel concept called time zones was one (before time zones were implemented, each town across the land typically kept its own time, which may or may not have resembled the time in the next town over).

The second was accurate watches. They were called “railroad grade” and the United States watchmaking industry (think Hamilton, Waltham, Elgin, Hampden, and the like) excelled at making them.


But time went on, the world turned and American Industry began to apply its skill to making other things. And then the quartz revolution hit in the late 1970s and 1980s, and that was that.

Some brands just folded their tents while others, like Bulova and Hamilton, were sold off to foreign interests and American watches were toast.


Or were they?

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