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A variety of women's watches in a storage box.
Olga Yakovleva/istockphoto

The Best American-Made Watches

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Two countries come to mind when people think of watches: Switzerland and Japan. But the United States has a notable watchmaking history, too, with early companies like the Waltham Watch Co. and the Elgin National Watch Co. selling hundreds of thousands of timepieces in the late 19th century. Though that golden age of American-made watches is over, smaller watch companies have revived the art of watchmaking and manufacturing in this country.


Prices and availability are subject to change.


DuFrane

Manufacturing: Assembled with Swiss movement in Austin, Texas

Price: $299 and up 

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The WaterlooPhoto credit: DuFrane


If you want American-made quality without having to drop a couple grand, check out DuFrane. Using Swiss movement, the Austin-based company assembles tasteful timepieces, many of which have received rave reviews from consumers and experts. And depending on your price point, DuFrane has both mechanical and quartz offerings.



Cincinnati Watch Co.

Manufacturing: Assembled with Swiss and Japanese movements in Cincinnati

Price: $325 and up

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It may be small, but the Cincinnati Watch Co. punches above its weight. It has its own in-house watchmaker, who assembles each timepiece with Swiss and Japanese movements. And though that may sound expensive, its priciest watch is under $600. Plus, the Ohio-based watchmaker shares some of its profits with local institutions, such as the Cincinnati Museum Center.



Weiss
Weiss WatchPhoto credit: Weiss

Manufacturing: Assembled with American movement in Nashville, Tennessee

Price: $2,000 and up

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After studying under master watchmakers in the U.S. and Switzerland, Cameron Weiss toiled for hundreds of hours in a walk-in closet to hand finish and assemble his first 10 timepieces. Today, Weiss has scaled up the company’s process, moving to a facility in Tennessee from his apartment — without sacrificing American-made quality. At $2,000 and up, Weiss timepieces aren’t cheap, but it’s one of the few companies that furnishes its own American-made movements.



Vortic

Manufacturing: Assembled with American movement in Fort Collins, Colorado

Price: $2,495 and up

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Vortic harkens back to the golden age of domestic watchmaking by taking antique American-made movements and placing them in new 3D-printed cases. The result? A marriage of old and new, a fully American-made watch. Like most of our picks, that quality and attention to detail will cost you thousands, but the watches should last a lifetime.



Pelton

Manufacturing: Assembled with Swiss movement in Detroit

Price: $1,499 and up

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Founded in 2016, this watchmaking newcomer claims it’s the only company to produce its metal watch bracelets in the U.S. But with just a pair of models, your choices are limited to two rather expensive timepieces: $1,499 for the Sector, and $2,999 for the Perseus.




42mm M1-24hr Daytona coupe Legends Chrono ExhibitionPhoto credit: Detroit Watch Company
Detroit Watch Co.

Manufacturing: Assembled with Swiss movement in Detroit

Price: $1,075 and up

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Designers Patrick and Amy Ayoub established the Detroit Watch Co. less than a decade ago, and they already offer a bevy of city- and auto-inspired designs. Their most affordable timepiece will make Motor City fans proud, as the watch face and hands are embellished with the iconic Detroit D.



Kobold

Manufacturing: Assembled with Swiss and Japanese movements in the United States, Germany, and Nepal

Price: $250 and up (though most watches are $5,000-plus)

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Popularized in part by “The Sopranos” star James Gandolfini, Kobold’s luxury watches can cost as much as a new car (or more), and none of its products come close to being as fully American-made as Vortic’s timepieces. That said, if you’re in the market for a U.S.-built watch that’ll turn heads, you can’t go wrong with Kobold. Its watches also come with a generous 10-year warranty.


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