Some things are iconically, unmistakably American. Menswear staples like jeans, the MA-1 bomber jacket and the Woolrich flannel shirt all have their roots in the land of the free. But watches? The Swiss clinched that one, right?
Well, yes and no. While most watch enthusiasts will point you towards the Matterhorn when asked for their recommendations on the most haute in horology (and they’re not wrong), the US can still fight its corner.
Prior to World War II, America was actually considered a world leader in watchmaking, producing timepieces just as finely finished and functional as their British and Swiss counterparts, but at a much higher yield and for a fraction of the cost. And today, although it’s been some time since the home of the brave had anything homegrown worth flying its flag for, stateside watchmakers are putting it right back on the map.
These are the names to know:
Founded in 1992 by US watchmaker Roland G. Murphy, Lancaster, PA-based RGM Watch Company produced the first in-house American-made movement for four decades – the RGM Caliber 801 – in 2008.
Riding on the success of that breakthrough, the company has continued to roll out new models – each new timepiece featuring the extraordinarily deft Guilloché (engine-turning) work that not only ranks RGM top of the class at home in the states, but also sees it hold its own among Swiss competitors, too.
Key Piece: The Pennsylvania Tourbillon
Also known as the first serially produced tourbillon made in North America, this watch lets you fully appreciate RGM’s in-house signature movement and the guilloché that’s made its name in watchmaking.
$95,000 in stainless steel, rgmwatches.com