Watches are some of the best accessories you can buy. Sure, they don’t serve the functional purpose that they used to, but that doesn’t mean they’re out of style.
A good watch can tie an outfit together. They provide a level of class and sophistication, no matter what the occasion.
America has some of the best watchmakers in the world, and these watches deserve special recognition. In this guide, we’ll take a look at the top seven American made watches of all time.
Choosing The Best Watch For You
Before we get into our top seven best American made watches, here are a couple of considerations you need to make while shopping for a watch.
Your Stylistic Preferences
We cover a lot of different styles in this list, and some of them won’t be for everyone. The sleek, classic look has mass appeal, but some people will want something a bit busier.
The section below our rankings will dive a bit deeper into the different types of watches, but we wanted to make a note about stylistic differences here.
Most of the watch brands we included provide several different styles. We picked our favorites, but that doesn’t mean our tastes will be the same as yours. Take a look at the company websites before deciding one of these American made watches isn’t the one for you.
“Unlike diamonds, watches were practical. They were for people on the run, people with appointments to keep and schedules to meet.” – Jeannette Walls (The Glass Castle)
One of the biggest things you’ll need to consider is how much you have to spend. Most of these watches will cost you hundreds of dollars, but some of the more expensive options will be closer to (or over) the $1,000 mark.
You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get a good American made watch, however. $200 or $300 is enough to get you a quality watch that has the same features and style as watches that cost $1,000 or $2,000.
How much you’re willing to spend is up to you. Watches are one of the ways people can flaunt their disposable income. A nice watch is a status symbol of sorts, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fool people into thinking an affordable watch is worth thousands of dollars.
Only a trained eye will be able to tell the difference between a quality, affordable watch and a high-end option. Those who are looking to spruce-up their outfit on a budget shouldn’t be scared away by some of the higher priced American made watches.
7 Best American Made Watches
Here is our list of the seven best American made watches you can currently purchase.
Mercer is a small watch company out of Princeton, New Jersey. They currently have eight different watch styles, including our top pick: The Mercer Lexington.
This chronograph-style watch comes in three different styles and costs just over $500. Most of the Mercer catalog is around this price, so they’re not intimidating to those who are shopping for an American made watch on a budget.
While we preferred the style of the Lexington, Mercer makes dress, dive, and other styles of watches as well. You’re sure to find a watch you like for a reasonable price within the limited Mercer catalog.
Weiss is one of the better American watch companies out there. They began the watch-making journey in 2013, based out of Los Angeles, California.
The company puts supreme care in crafting their classic timepieces. The designs are simple and elegant and go with nearly every outfit you have in your closet.
Out favorite watch in the Weiss line is the 38mm Standard Issue Field Watch. It comes in five different face and strap styles to offer some degree of customization.
This watch is considerably more expensive than the first option on our list. Some of the styles break the $1,000 mark, but their field watches are some of the best we’ve reviewed.
Devon is another reputable company that specializes in American made watches. Unlike some of the others on this list, Devon timepieces give a glimpse at the complex inner-workings of the mechanical wonder on your wrist.
The Devon Tread 1 is truly a modern watch. The style isn’t for everyone, but a lot of people will love the look of the complex face. You can choose several different belts and metals that best fits the bulk of your outfits.
Devon watches provide some of the most accurate timepieces on the market. Those that enjoy this busy, complex watch design will enjoy what the Tread 1 has to offer.
Throne Watches is another American company that makes sleek, fashionable watches. Their dress watches perform well and look even better.
Most people don’t go searching for a dress watch because of how well it can tell time. The modern designs of these watches often don’t include numbers and require more than a glance.
Still, Throne Watches offer some of the better-functioning dress watches we’ve seen. We liked the Brooklyn design for the all-black. It fits with most outfits and is something you can build an outfit around.
There are a couple of other options as well, including Los Angeles and Boston styles. Both look great, but we prefer the wide appeal of the Brooklyn version.
Shinola is one of the leading names in American Made watches. The company is based out of Detroit, Michigan and provides some of the biggest catalogs of watches in the country.
The prestige that once came along with a Shinola watch has drifted a bit in recent years, but the company still provides solid, practical, and stylish watch designs that will fit the needs of most consumers.
The 40 MM Canfield Sport is our favorite in the collection. It comes in several different styles - some more lavish than others. These watches near the $1,000 mark, but they aren’t as expensive as some of the other brands we’ve covered.
If the Canfield Sport isn’t for you, we’re sure you’ll find another watch within Shinola’s long list of options.
Vortic prides itself on keeping American watchmaking at a high level, and have championed their American roots with each watch the company creates.
They always seem to take their watches back to the classic styles, and Railroad Edition is no exception. The watch is made out of refurbished metal from some of America’s storied railroad companies.
As you can expect, the old-school style of these watches means they’re quite large. The numbers are big and easy to read, giving some additional practicality to this watch style.
The look of this watch isn’t going to be for everyone, but there are quite a few people who will be interested in the throwback design and American-made roots.
One of the reasons we didn’t include this watch a bit earlier was because of the price tag. This is one of the more expensive watches on our list, even if it doesn’t necessarily look the part. A Vortic Railroad Edition watch is going to cost over $2,000.
We’ll get a bit more into the different watch types below, but GMT watches are designed for people who are on the go. You need to be able to keep track of time zones, and GMT watches can help you do just that.
One of our favorite American made GMT watch is the GMT Traveler from Hager. Hager is another American company with deep roots in making stylish, practical watches.
There isn’t as much style versatility with the GMT Traveler as there is with some of the other watches we’ve reviewed, but the bezel does come in several different styles.
Unfortunately, you will have to join the waitlist to receive one of these watches. You won’t be able to order it and receive it within a week or so, which is why this watch rounds off our list.
Which Watch Should You Buy?
Those who are new to the watch game probably don’t know much about the different styles that are available.
Most of the watches we included in our list come from companies that sell all different kinds of watches. We picked our favorites, but that doesn’t mean you won’t prefer another version that better fits your style.
The watch industry changes a great deal over time as stylistic preferences shift. New brands come up with new ideas and become popular, as classic styles continue to set the standard.
There is a fair bit of blending in the watch industry as well. Brands will incorporate some of the elements of one watch style into another. Still, some general guidelines give you a better understanding of watch styles as a whole.
Ahead, we’ll cover some of the more popular styles of watches so you can get a better idea of your preferences.
The Field Watch is truly an original. This was one of the first wristwatches that came into existence, and the style remains a top choice to this day.
The field watch came about as the First World War was raging. Wristwatches were relegated to niche markets, appearing only on some women’s bracelets. Pilots also used them while flying, but they weren’t a mainstream timekeeping option.
At the time, most people relied on pocket watches to tell the time. The war made using a pocket watch difficult, though, which lead to soldiers strapping the watch to their wrist, so it was always handy.
The new style came home with the soldiers and led to watchmakers developing the field watch for mass production. By World War II, soldiers were receiving a wristwatch as part of their field uniform.
As you can probably guess, field watches are the simplest of all watch types. They won’t do much more than tell you what time it is. Field watches are usually quite small, durable, and easy to read.
The dive watch got its name from its application. It was developed to work underwater and allow divers to tell the time while they swam. Divers need to be able to see how long they’ve been in the depths, or else their body will acclimate to the pressure and make rising incredibly dangerous.
Dive watches are now close to the standard for many watch enthusiasts. They’ve moved far past their diving origins into the mainstream, but still, keep a firm grasp of their roots.
These watches are characterized by many of the applications that true divers need. The second, hour and minute hand are all distinct and easy to tell apart - a misreading while diving can be a deadly mistake.
Most of the modern dive watches can withstand pressure from thousands of feet underwater. They are also easy to adjust and come with a clamped strap that you can still remove while wearing diving gloves.
As the name suggests, dress watches are all about style. Practicality and function are secondary to how the watch looks. These watches are usually sleek and moderately sized.
Some dress watches are more conservative than others. Some will want to flaunt their status with their watch while others will prefer to be a bit more subtle.
These watches might not immediately appear as though they’re expensive, but anyone who knows something about watches will immediately recognize the design.
As we’ve said, a dress watch doesn’t prioritize functionality. These watches usually don’t even have a second hand, with the minute and hour hands that are often difficult to differentiate. The face of many of these are difficult to read - but damn do they look good.
Luxury watches were once the most expensive style of timepieces that money could buy. We’ve made substantial technological advancements since then, though, and you can now find one for a reasonable price.
These watches are undoubtedly the busiest of any watch style. Many of them allow you to see all of the inner-workings of the watch, with mechanical parts and dressed-up dials taking center stage.
This watch style isn’t for everyone, but it will certainly turn some heads. As we said, many of the luxury watches are now affordable and look far more expensive than they are.
Luxury watches also tend to be some of the most accurate watches you can find. They have so many dials and mechanical parts that they’ll be chugging along for generations into the future.
The GMT watch is another watch that was created for a practical application before making its way into the mainstream market. Rolex was the first company to bring this style to consumers, and it helped solve a problem that pilots were having as they began to travel internationally.
As pilots traveled longer and longer distances, it became more difficult to keep track of the time zones they entered and left. A clock set to local time on the West Coast of the US wouldn’t do you much good on a trip to Japan.
GMT watches have an extra hand that counts through a 24-hour clock. The bezel on the face of the watch shows the 24 hours of the day. You will set this hand to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), and rotate the bezel whenever you’re traveling abroad.
These watches have practical applications and are ideal for those who do a lot of traveling. They come in several different styles, although the classic look is similar to a dive watch and is the most popular version.
We didn’t include any smartwatches on our list, but they’re still worth mentioning here. These are the most modern watches on the market, and some speculate that they’re the future of the industry.
We disagree with this sentiment. Smart watches have all kinds of applications. They can track your heart rate and sleep efficiency along with allowing you to receive text messages on your wrist.
As futuristic as some of these watches appear, we don’t think they’ll replace the standard watch style. Many people think that they don’t provide the same level of prestige as classic watches, and won’t last nearly as long.
Swatches are the last style of watch we’ll cover, and one that we couldn’t include in our list of best American made watches. “Swatch” stands for “second watch,” and it was birthed from the death of the Swiss watch market.
Instead of focusing on expensive watches that serve as a status symbol, swatches are inexpensive timepieces that serve more as a fashion statement.
You can pick up one of these watches for under $50, allowing you to keep a drawer full of them to match every outfit. These watches don’t cater to the same audience as the watches we’ve covered, but they still have their niche in the watch industry.