The American watch brands to know now

From Autodromo to JN Shapiro, American watch brands are having a moment

Timex watch: from our pick of American watch brands
Timex x The James Brand Automatic GMT 41mm Titanium Bracelet Watch
(Image credit: Courtesy of the brand)

There was a time – a century and a half ago – when the USA produced more watches than any other country. The advances in mass production pioneered by the likes of Hamilton, Waltham and Timex were envied and replicated by the Swiss. Today, some American watch brands still enjoy household-name status, but very little end-to-end watchmaking takes place in the United States. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a thriving array of US-based brands, however. The last few decades have seen a number of successful start-ups emerge, and now American watchmaking spans a wide range from affordable kickstarter alumnni to low-volume haute horlogerie craftsmen. These are our favourite American watch brands.

American watch brands to know



Autodromo Group B Series Automatic, £885 at

(Image credit: Courtesy of the brand)

Designer Bradley Price makes no attempt to disguise his all-consuming passion for the automotive world, and his brand – founded in 2011 – has made a name for itself as a provider of genuinely credible motoring-themed watches in a world of often-underwhelming corporate partnerships. Price’s boyish enthusiasm for the genre seeps into everything Autodromo creates, as he carefully references motor racing and car culture from the 1950s to the 1980s. The Group B series, a run of 39mm titanium-and-steel bracelet watches running Japanese Miyota automatic calibres, is his homage to the steroidal, boxy, turbocharged monsters of the same name that raced between 1982 and 1986.

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Brew Watches

Combining a love of coffee with a fondness for watches can come across as something of a scattergun association, but Brew Watches, founded by New Yorker Jonathan Ferrer in 2015, has succeeded regardless. The quirky, asymmetric dial design that has become its signature blend, if you will, plays a part, but so have the company’s attention to detail and ability to iterate on its two main styles. The most recent spin on the Metric is a case in point; not everyone’s cup of, er, coffee, perhaps, but a strikingly different aesthetic. Remarkably, the forged carbon found in its 36mm case was the preserve of only the most expensive watchmakers when Ferrer started out; now it’s available in a meca-quartz hybrid chronograph for less than £400.

Cornell Watch Company


Cornell Watch Company 1870 CE watch, $10, 750, from

(Image credit: Courtesy of the brand)

Aiming to evoke something of that golden era of American watchmaking, Cornell Watch Company brought out its first watch in 2024, the 1870 CE. It’s a direct homage to the pocket watches of the railroad age; the original Cornell was founded in 1870 in Chicago but saw its operations curtailed almost immediately by the great fire of 1871. Today’s revival is also based in Chicago, but founder John Warren has partnered with RGM Watches of Pennsylvania (one of America’s better-established firms, with substantial manufacturing capabilities) to build the case, regulate the movement and assemble the finished watch. The movement itself comes from respected Swiss independent watch brand Schwarz Etienne, adjusted and tested by RGM in Pennsylvania. Perhaps the 1870 CE’s trump card is its grand feu enamel dial, an elegant finish that contrasts with the thermally blued steel hands.

JN Shapiro

Unveiled in 2023, the Resurgence is the crowning achievement to date of young artisan brand JN Shapiro, which first attracted the attention of serious collectors with its ‘infinity weave’ engine-turned dials in 2018. A commitment to this traditional, time-consuming and expert decorative art pervades the hand-wound, 38mm Resurgence – even its caseband is fully decorated with a mesmerising barleycorn texture – but the company has come a long way in a very short time. It now makes the entire movement for the Resurgence, except jewels and springs, in its California workshop, a truly remarkable achievement. The calibre is offered in three configurations according to taste, each of which can be paired with one of six dial and case combinations; regardless of which you choose, the hand-finishing is a rival for any Swiss equivalent.

Resurgence, from $70,000 to $85,000, from

Oak & Oscar

Another Chicago-based brand, Oak & Oscar, majors in sensible, stylish tool watches like the Olmsted, a 38mm field watch, and the Humboldt, a clean, contemporary take on a classic GMT. Its latest creation is the Atwood, a hand-wound flyback chronograph in stainless steel with a top-grade Sellita movement. At a glance, the styling takes its cues from 1960s and 1970s sports watches, with the sub-dial sectors picked out in orange and classic ‘panda’ configuration – but on closer examination the brand’s contemporary sans serif typography and unusual (for a chronograph) sandwich dial construction (where one layer sits beneath the dial, with stencil cutouts to reveal the numerals) show a personality that sets it aside from the average offering.

The Atwood, from £1,960 to £2,120, from

Timex x The James Brand


Timex x The James Brand Automatic GMT 41mm Titanium Bracelet Watch, $749, currently sold out at and

(Image credit: Courtesy of the brand)

While names such as Elgin and Waltham are the stuff of history books, Timex is the US watchmaker that has, in fact, kept on ticking. It’s still the brand you go to for affordable watches with a distinctly American feel, and while for decades now its bread-and-butter has been quartz-powered watches, it retains a small selection of automatics for customers who want that cult-classic name, no-frills appearance and nostalgic sensibility, but aren’t prepared to wear something that doesn’t whirr with tiny springs and wheels. Watch geeks, in other words. The latest offering, a titanium automatic with a GMT function, is a collaboration with outdoor gear specialists The James Brand. Flashes of acid yellow stand out against a matte dial and monochrome 24-hour bezel to give it a modern, metropolitan feel.

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Limited Edition 42mm Standard Issue Dive Watch: Agave Dial, £2,123, from

(Image credit: Courtesy of the brand)

Founded in south California – which influenced Weiss’ desire to make a simple, functional, distinctly American dive watch alongside other staples – Weiss is now based in Nashville, Tennessee. It focuses on those horological archetypes – dive watches, field watches – while trying to bring something of its own to the genre, be it a fiery orange dial described as ‘Tennessee tangerine’ or this ‘Agave’-dialled diver, the first designed in the company’s current location. With a no-nonsense steel case, 300m water-resistance and a rotating bezel, it’s a well-worn format, but elevated by the eggshell-finish green dial and retro numerals. Thankfully, the move inland hasn’t harmed the brand’s knack for making a solid diver.

Chris Hall is a freelance watch journalist with 13 years' experience writing for the biggest titles in the UK. He is also the founder of The Fourth Wheel, a weekly newsletter offering an independent perspective on the industry