This article was contributed by avid watch collector and travel writer Charlotte McCulloch, who writes for TravelSupermarket.com. Since living in Singapore as a child and travelling to countries such as Thailand, Borneo and Australia, she has always had a keen interest in travel. More recent holidays include trips to Paris, New York and the islands around Spain.
The USA is known for many things, iconic skylines, extravagant living, gargantuan food portions, baseball, watchmaking. Watchmaking? That’s right. In fact if it were not for World War II we may have been looking to the USA for all the latest watch novelties rather than neutral Switzerland who stole the lead during the war years.
It was America that perfected the art of the mass produced pocketwatch. By 1900, the stringent timekeeping demands of the railroads were shaping the characteristics of the American railroad watch, and the largest firms were producing hundreds of thousands of watches annually. Elgin and Waltham produced a million watches per year in their heyday! Today the USA are still the makers of some of the most popular and most expensive watches in the world.
If you were to undertake a watch tour of the USA to view or indeed purchase some of these watches here is a rundown of some of the brands and destinations that should not be missed.
Timex is one of the most well-known watch brands in the world, and despite having a reputation for producing low cost affordable watches, many of their collections are clever and innovative. Timex Intelligent Quartz being a typical example.
Not only are the watches produced by Timex of great quality they also have a great history. If you find yourself in Connecticut, head to the Timexpo, a museum which tells the story of Timex dating back to when the company originally opened in 1854. Relive the making of one of Timex’s most popular watches, the Mickey Mouse watch, originally produced in the 1930s and then walk through the ‘Time Tunnel’ which allows visitors to travel back in time to the ancient world.
Hamilton Watches are known as ‘The American Brand since 1892’ and although they are now headquartered in Switzerland and part of the mighty Swatch Group, the company originated in Pennsylvania back in 1892. Hamilton watches are much loved by Americans and have been worn by some of its most famous names, Elvis Presley wore the Ventura model in the film Blue Hawaii and for more modern day movie lovers it also featured in Pulp Fiction as the watch belonging to the character Butch.
If you do visit Pennsylvania there are plenty of fun attractions for you to enjoy, including learning about another great product that made its name here, Hershey’s chocolate, The Hershey Story, takes its visitors on a fun packed tour showcasing the history of the great chocolate company, its founder and the town that shares his name.
A more modern niche name in the world of watches now, again based in Pennsylvania, this time Pittsburgh. In our Watch Tour of Europe we featured Bremont watches. Michael Kobold is kind of the Bremont of America. He has been producing superb chronograph watches for the past 13 years. Each Kobold watch is personally designed by its founder, sometimes in close association with Navy SEALs, famous racing drivers and globetrotting adventurers, so each watch has unmistakeable quality and authenticity.
If you do visit this area it’s known for its great food. No visit here would be complete without lunch at a Primanti Brothers sandwich shop – its signature dish, is a sandwich with grilled meat, coleslaw and French fries all inside the bread.
If Pennsylvania isn’t for you then why not take inspiration from the Kobold ‘Spirit of America, Lady Liberty’ watch and head to the statue of Liberty in New York. Originally produced on Independence Day 2008, the watch depicts the head of the Statue of Liberty designed by Pittsburgh pop artist Burton Morris.
New York based Ralph Lauren is one of the most instantly recognisable fashion brands in the world and its watches are as desirable as the clothes they produce. In 2010, Ralph Lauren in association with Richemont, released the Sporting Watch, based on the dashboard of his rare Bugatti roadster. Check out the Ralph Lauren Sporting Collection or the stylish Stirrup collection.
Tiffany & Co
Also in New York, a name synonymous with luxury jewellery,Tiffany & Co. also produces some of the most exquisite jewel encrusted watches in the world and has been doing so for the last 150 years.
Famously based in Manhattan, Tiffany’s headquarters is based on shopping haven 5th Avenue and is a great place to visit if travelling as a couple, as looking at the watches here can be very romantic in the surroundings made iconic in the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
To complete your romantic break in The Big Apple, after your shopping trip, take your loved one for a horse drawn carriage ride through Central Park while admiring your beautiful new purchases.
Of course America is so large that we will have to visit it again to explore more watch brands in the near future.
Wherever you chose to holiday in the USA you can get a great deal at TravelSupermarket.com. From cheap flights to New York to great deals on car hire in the USA, TravelSupermarket can help you get the most for your money on all aspects of your holiday.