Vortic introduces Americana to watchmaking

April 2016

The start-up is trying to put something “Made in America” on the wrists of watch lovers by re-purposing and customizing old pocket watches.

Donald Trump is trying to “make America great again,” and Vortic is, too!

The new American start-up company is focused on accessorizing your wrist with some good ol’ American products. For one, they are selling handmade leather goods, starting with a classic, custom engraved leather bracelet on Kickstarter.

Vortic introduces Americana to watchmaking

But what really got our attention was the teams’ entry into the world of watchmaking. Their new project is called the American Artisan Series, and it combines both vintage and modern American ingenuity.

Admittedly, the company is honest that they didn’t know much about watches, particularly American ones, to begin with. And they also assume their consumer based doesn’t know much about them either. On the company’s Kickstarter page they even have a section describing “What is a watch movement?” – hardly necessary for anyone knowing a little bit about timepieces.

Vortic introduces Americana to watchmaking

But what caught their curiosity and inspired them to enter the industry was their discovery of the number of pocket watch movements being sold at auctions without their cases. They soon learned that people were removing the movements and scrapping the pocket watch cases for their gold and silver value.

As a result, Vortic partnered with professional watchmakers to polish and tune movements of old American pocket watches. Then, they developed a unique patent pending case for the serviced movement, to ensure they will be ticking as good as new.

Vortic introduces Americana to watchmaking

To their credit, they also managed to creatively overcome the problem of different movement sizes and shapes by 3D printing their cases. They use an innovative two piece case and insert system, which means each watch can have its own custom housing. The cases also have crystals on both the front and back, which allows the wearer to appreciate both the elegant porcelain faces of the watches and also the polished “Made in America” movements.

While it seems that the brand is not really targeting contemporary watch experts, they can certainly find a market among new consumers entering the world of watches, as well as vintage watch lovers. By using pocket watch movements, they also produce wristwatches they wear large on the wrist – which is sometimes a drawback with vintage models - meaning size-wise they are on trend.

Vortic introduces Americana to watchmaking

It’s true that Switzerland is the mechanical watch manufacturing Mecca, but America also has a rich history in the art of watchmaking. Elgin, Waltham, and Hamilton all come to mind – brands that have been around for decades in one form or another.

To what extent Vortic will succeed to put more “Made in America” on the wrists of watch lovers is still up in the air. But their project to re-purpose old movements and also to promote American manufacturing is definitely admirable.