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American watch brands you should get to know by Extropian

American watch
Made in the USA
American brands
Mid-watch market
Indy brands
Micro brands
Weiss Watches
Visitor
Vero
Vaer
Tsao Baltimore
Traska
Swiss Watch Company (SWC)
Stella Watch Co
Seals
Seaborne
Raven
Orion
Oak & Oscar
NTH
Nodus
Monta Watch
Lorier
Hemel
Haim Watch Co
Goodspeed
Dufrane
Dryden
Detroit Watch Co
Dan Henry
Cincinnati Watch Co
Brew Watches
Autodromo
Astor & Banks
American watch brands you should get to know by Extropian

At Extropian we love to introduce our gorgeous community to the best indy and micro brands out there. And right now, we’d really love to tell you all about the amazing watches being made by American brands! However, there are so many that we can only feature a selection! 

A whole host of awesomely innovative microbrands have launched in the past decade, from New York to California and Michigan to Tennessee. They’re all dedicated to making great watches at affordable prices. Which makes them our kind of people!  

The manufacture of individual watch components in the USA is very limited at the moment, although this situation is gradually changing. In the meantime, most of these companies get around that little problem by having parts made in Europe and Asia and shipped to the US, where the final product can be assembled. 

Astor+Banks

Founded in 2012 by self-confessed watch nerd Andrew Perez, Astor+Banks produces precision timepieces using mechanical and Swiss quartz movements. All their watches are assembled in their Chicago workshop, including sport casual models such as the Fortitude Lite and their “field diver” the Sea Ranger with its 12-hour bezel.

Astor Banks Fortitude All Mint Green C434

Astor Banks - Fortitude

Autodromo

Industrial designer Bradley Price took his love of the Golden Age of motoring and channeled it into Autodromo, which he founded in 2011 in Brooklyn, New York. Combining a modern minimalist aesthetic with vintage touches, each watch is inspired by a specific car or an aspect of motorsport history, a great example being the Prototipo Chronograph with its cool tonneau case and retro 60s chic. Continuing the motoring theme, Autodromo also does a neat line in rally straps and driving gloves!

Autodromo Group B Series 2 Automatic Orange A0c7

Autodromo - Group B Series 2 Automatic

 

Brew Watch Co.

When Jordan Ferrer launched Brew in New York City in 2015 he wanted to combine his two major passions – coffee and watches! As a result, Brew’s timepieces come with a unique twist; every model is inspired by the design of industrial espresso machines. Their super stylish retro-modern chronographs (such as the Metro or Retrograph) come with coffee-related design quirks such as markers which highlight the optimal time for an espresso shot! Perfect for all you caffeine fiends out there! 

Brew Watches Retrograph All Technicolor Bo R 634a

 

Brew Watches - Retrograph

Cincinnati Watch Co.

Originally founded by Rick Bell and Mark Stegman as a unique “Build Your Own Watch” enterprise, the Cincinnati Watch Co. truly came into its own in 2020 when expert watchmaker Jordan Ficklin joined the team. Featuring classic retro stylings, and using high quality Swiss and Japanese movements, all their watches are designed and assembled in-house by Ficklin. One of the company’s guiding principles is to put something back into the local community, donating a portion of all sales to local non-profit organizations such as museums and food banks. Great watches, great people! 

Cincinnati Watch Co P40 M Automatic Honey Gold Dial With Black Hands and Markers 31ba

Cincinnati Watch Co - P40M Automatic

Dan Henry

Dan Henry has turned his lifelong passion for collecting vintage watches into a thriving microbrand. Since 2016 his firm has been producing accessible (and affordable) vintage-inspired timepieces based on some of the incredibly rare pieces in his collection. Models such as the 1939 Military Chronograph or 1975 Skin Diver take inspiration from classic watches from a specific era and give a modern twist combined with ultra-reliable Seiko or Miyota movements.

Dan Henry 1937 Dress Chronograph Gilt 26c7

Dan Henry - 1937 Dress Chronograph

Detroit Watch Company

The brainchild of automotive designer Patrick Ayoub and his wife Amy, the Detroit Watch Company was founded in the Motor City in 2013. Although relying on high-quality Swiss automatic movements, every watch is designed and assembled in-house to the highest standards. With a classic, vintage-inspired aesthetic, models such as the Aviator Power Reserve or M-1 Woodward Chronograph have a timeless elegance that deliberately reflects the early French heritage of the city of Detroit.

Detroit Watch Co City Code Collection 42mm   Exhibition Back Rotary Phone Dial B4d9

Detroit Watch Co - City Code Collection 42mm

 

Dryden

Based in Kansas City since 2019, Dryden puts an emphasis on classic styling and small batch manufacturing to produce high quality quartz and mechanical watches at an affordable price. Using Seiko mechaquartz or Miyota automatic movements and Swiss Superluminova, every watch is hand-assembled in their Kansas workshop. Their flagship model, the Chrono Diver, has a bold, vintage-inspired design and is available in a range of colors and bezel options.

Dryden Pathfinder Automatic Diver Arctic Silver (tropic Rubber) 1626

Dryden - Pathfinder Automatic Diver

DuFrane

Steven Lee’s lifelong passion for the timeless elegance of mechanical watches (a passion we imagine you share!) led him to found DuFrane in 2016. Based in Austin, Texas, his designs feature a striking blend of minimalist design, vintage aesthetics, and modern technology. Lee shows his appreciation for the local area by naming every watch after a local landmark. Something like the Travis is packed with handy features such as DLC coating, an easy-to-use spring bar release system, and micro-adjustment clasp. What’s not to love?

Dufrane Aviator Watch the Bergstrom Premium   Horizon   Matte Steel   Black 0e54

Dufrane - Aviator Watch The Bergstrom-Premium

 

Goodspeed

A relative newcomer to the scene, Goodspeed was founded in 2019 by Jeremy Burlingame in Sacramento, California. Although taking their design cues from past decades, they bring things up to date with a sleek modern twist. Producing affordable chronographs with both automatic and mechanical movements, Goodspeed is making its mark with models such as the Sonoma, with its retro 60s/70s aesthetic, minimalist dial, and sporty rally strap.

Goodspeed Scout Automatic Green 6ed0

Goodspeed - Scout Automatic

Haim Watch Co

Based in Chicago, Haim was founded by M Zakir Miah, who brings his love of watches to every aspect of production and design. With a classic vintage style, their watches blend a timeless style with modern aesthetics and high-end dial finishes. Check out the Haim Descent which blends classic dress style with a rugged sports build. It also features an intriguing “duo-bezel” which combines the functions of a dive watch and a GMT.

Haim Watch Co Legacy Chronograph Sky Panda 8491

Haim Watch Co - Legacy Chronograph

 

Hemel

Founded by Marvin Menke in 2012, New York -based Hemel produces iconic-looking military watches for a new generation of civilian watch lovers. Taking design cues from vintage cockpit dials, 1970s era British pilot watches, and other similar sources, models such the Hemel Airfoil refashion classic military watches with a thoroughly modern sensibility, with narrow bezels, slender straps, and polished finishes.

Hemel Air League Chronograph Special Edition the League of Microbrands 2172

Hemel - Air League Chronograph Special Edition

 

Lorier

Husband and wife team Lorenzo and Lauren Ortega launched New York-based Lorier in 2018. Since then, they've established a solid reputation for creating versatile timepieces with a classic vintage-inspired aesthetic. The Hyperion is an iconic-looking GMT watch straight out of the Jet Age with its two-tone bezel and brushed flat-link bracelet, while the Zephyr recalls the art deco elegance of early 20th Century dress watches. These are watches for people who like a blend of classic style and the best of modern engineering as they’re powered by Miyota automatic movements.

 White D9dd

Lorier - Neptune

Monta

Based in St Louis, Missouri, Monta was founded in 2016 by Michael DiMartino and David Barnes, who previously owned a company called Everest which made rubber straps for Rolex. Inspired by classic tool, military, and dive watches of the 1950s and 60s, models such as the Atlas, Skyquest, and Triumph combine iconic style with the best in modern engineering. Although designed and quality-checked in-house, Monta’s watches are actually made in Switzerland using their own signature movement, the Monta Caliber M-22. They also come with a very cool signature bracelet made of 316L stainless steel, with fully articulating links and a flip-lock clasp.

Monta Watch Skyquest 24 Hour With Date Black Dial With Ceramic Bezel 59e9

 

Monta Watch - Skyquest 24 Hour with Date

Nodus

Based in Los Angeles since 2016, Nodus describes itself as a “watch research and design company” with an emphasis on producing highly durable and efficient timepieces, often with vintage-inspired motifs. One of their main designs, the Sector, comes in various iterations, from a field watch to a diver or GMT, all of which combine the best of modern styling and engineering.

Nodus Retrospect Iii Flare Orange Ec44

Nodus - Retrospect III

NTH

Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania since 2016, NTH was founded by Chris Vail, a longtime member of the WatchUSeek community, and clearly a guy who knows his stuff! With an emphasis on classic design and excellent quality each of their watches puts a new spin on an iconic vintage design. Models such as the Swiftsure or Barracuda are tributes to the military dive watches of the 60s and 70s, combining rugged looks with contemporary flair and great engineering. All of which makes sense of the company’s name, which can either stand for “Nod To History” or the algebraic term for “an unknown value of infinite possibilities”!

Nth Tropics V2   Antilles   No Date Rosé 5885(1)

NTH - Tropics V2 Antilles No Date

 

Oak & Oscar

Another Chicago-based brand, Oak & Oscar was founded by Chase Fancher in 2015 and named after his dog Oscar, who’s still a regular fixture at the company’s HQ, greeting any visitors who pass through the door! Working in collaboration with Swiss production team Xantia, they produce classic-looking designs with a distinctively modern, minimalist sensibility. The Olmsted is a contemporary take on an iconic field watch, while the Humboldt is a GMT with a bi-directional bezel and smart brushed steel finish.

 Horween Leather Strap 0639

Orion

Nick Harris certainly doesn’t waste any time. He’d already founded Orion watches in 2015, before he even graduated from watchmaking school! His ultimate goal is to establish a complete production infrastructure which will allow him to make every component of his watches in the USA – even the movements! With a well-established reputation for quality, Harris is much more than simply a designer – he’s a fully-fledged watchmaker who oversees every aspect of production himself. A watch like the Tesseract features a striking ultra-minimalist dial which is made and hand-finished in the US – the first fruits of his efforts to build a true community of American watchmakers.

Orion Calamity (ii) Azure (steel Bezel) 5ae1

Orion - Calamity (II)

Raven

A watch collector since he was 10 years old, Steve Laughlin turned his youthful passion into a business when he founded Raven in Overland Park, Kansas. Drawing on his love of travel, adventure, and photography, watches such as the Trekker and the Airfield are solid, vintage-inspired tool watches with classic looks, designed to meet any challenge which comes their way.

Raven Trekker 39mm   V4 Yellow (ceramic Bezel) 3f88

Raven - Trekker 39mm V4

 

Seaborne

As the name suggests, Seaborne watches are designed for people with a love of nautical adventures and oceanside living!  Based in Duxbury, Massachusetts, right on the shore of Cape Cod Bay, it was founded by Brian Costello in 2016. Combining durability, functionality, and distinctive looks, Seaborne watches blend vintage aesthetics with bold colors to make striking timepieces which are sure to stand out from the crowd, such as the Osprey Chronograph or Sea Venture automatic diver. What’s more, a portion of all their profits goes to support coastal communities and the waters they call home!

Seaborne Sea Venture Automatic All Sunrise Orange 1c7e

Seaborne - Sea Venture Automatic

 

Seals

Founded in 2014 in Sacramento, California, Seals strives to make watches combining robustness and elegance, featuring bold, well-fitting proportions and unique designs which really stand out from the crowd. Watches such as the Model A and the Model C Field Explorer take their design inspiration from 1940s battle tanks. With a super sturdy bezel these are the watches that will really allow you to make a statement with your wrist! 

Seals Sea Storm Date Sea Foam Bezel Storm Gray Dial 3bca

Seals - Sea Storm Date Sea Foam Bezel

 

Stella Watch Co

Based in New York City, Stella was founded in 2019 by co-owners Marcella and Stephen, both long term veterans of the watch industry. Although manufactured in Switzerland, Stella watches are designed in the US, and all feature a distinctive (and very cool) 50s-inspired retro aesthetic. What’s more, models such as the Felix and Breslin come in a range of colors and finishes all inspired by some aspect of life in the Big Apple, from the glimmering sun reflecting off skyscrapers to the specific red found on brick of buildings in downtown Manhattan or the color of the 3 train in Brooklyn.

Stella Watch Co Ellis Gmt Ice Blue 7084

Stella Watch Co - Ellis GMT

 

Swiss Watch Co (SWC)

Swiss-born Stephen Roemer earned his watch-making stripes by working for the Swatch group and making watches for the US armed forces, before  launching SWC’s first watch in 2018.  Working with his three sons, Jeremy, Jacob, and Josh, Roemer draws on his many years of experience and connections within the Swiss watch industry to produce high quality timepieces at an affordable price. Although based in Nevada, all their watches are made in Switzerland, including classic-looking field watches such as the Bunker and ARK, or the hyper-modern looking Sport.

Grey D4d3

Traska

After accidentally ruining his favorite vintage watch during an ill-advised dip in the ocean, Jon Mack began to formulate the idea of a company devoted to producing timepieces inspired by the classic aesthetics and function of vintage sport watches, but in a robust modern package that could handle whatever you decided to throw at them. The result was Traska, founded in 2018 and based in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. As you might expect with names like the Venturer, Seafarer, Summiteer, and Freediver, Traska makes rugged sports and tool watches combining retro looks with a modern twist.

Traska Venturer All Steel Blue 1566

Traska - Venturer

 

Tsao Baltimore

Alan Tsao founded his company in Baltimore, Maryland, in 2017, and all his designs pay tribute to the city and people he loves. The Constellation is a mechaquartz chronograph named after a famous battleship moored in the local harbor, while the Legacy’s stylish tonneau case hides an automatic movement which was actually sourced from a local provider – the Maryland Watch Works.

Tsao Baltimore Recon Balt Pilot Dark Emerald U1 Nj(1)

Tsao Baltimore - Recon Balt

 

Vaer

Based in Venice, California since 2015, Vaer is the brainchild of Ryan Torres and Reagan Cook, who aim to produce affordable everyday watches blending tasteful design with durability and functionality. Although originally focussing on quartz movements, in 2019 they launched their first mechanical watch, which proved an instant success. Inspired by the iconic field watches of WWII, a model like the S5 Calendar Field has a timeless, minimalist look with dive-level water resistance and the best modern engineering. And all for less than $200!

Vaer D4 Arctic Usa Solar Diver (black) B9b5

Vaer - D4 Arctic USA Solar Diver

Vero

Founded in 2015 and based in Portland, Oregon, Vero makes sturdy dive, field, and sports watches for those who like a little adventure in their lives. Or simply for those who like super stylish watches! With a strikingly modern, minimalist aesthetic, watches such as the Workhorse Chrono or Open Water Automatic come in a range of bold colors which will definitely stand out from the crowd.

Vero Open Water All Ridge Trail Bb21(1)

Vero - Open Water

 

Visitor

With an emphasis on the unexpected, Visitor aims to produce offbeat mechanical watches which instantly stand out from the crowd. Based in Greenwood, Indiana, Visitor was founded by Phil Rodenbeck in 2013, and has been turning out memorable timepieces ever since. Their signature watch, the Duneshore, has a distinctive sculpted, mirror-polished case (inspired by the sand dunes Rodenbeck visited as a child), sandwich dial, and quirky hands that look like pen nibs. It’s available with a range of dial colors, all with a polished enamel finish resembling wet ink. So, mission accomplished – this is certainly a watch you won’t forget in a hurry!

Visitor Duneshore Shallows Tangerine Fission Cd12(1)

Visitor - Duneshore Shallows

 

Weiss

Cameron Weiss worked for luxury watchmakers Vacherin Constantin and Audermars Piguet before launching his own company in 2013 so he really knows his stuff! In fact, Weiss is one of the few American watch companies that uses in house movements made by the founder himself! Impressive huh? Weiss is dedicated to merging old-school techniques with modern technological advances and produces classic automatic watches with a timeless aesthetic, such as the Standard Issue Field Watch and, more recently, the Standard Issue Dive Watch

Weiss Watches Standard Issue Field Watch 38mm  Latte Abd5

Weiss Watches - Standard Issue Field Watch 38mm

 

We haven't forgotten other greats brands will talk in a future edition such as: 

  • Dumoreau
  • Foliot
  • Heisili New York
  • Heitis
  • Ocean Crawler
  • Sangamon
  • Relio
  • Tockr
  • Trafford

 

Conclusion

We think you’ll agree there’s some seriously great creativity going on in the U.S. And a lot of the watches made by these companies are created in very limited editions so you could end up with a really unique item on your wrist! Other watches are available in several different versions, and popular models are often updated or released in new editions, so there is plenty to get excited about. We know we are!

 

Created the 2023-03-28

Modified the 2024-01-19

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