Right out of the gate, we have to address something.
Three weeks ago, we aired an episode on the Custer & Wolfe YouTube channel all about the history of our Military Edition watch titled “The Watch That Won The War,” and we received some important feedback we’d like to discuss.
One of our listeners responded to the episode and let us know that the Hamilton 4992B antique pocket watch was, in fact, not the only watch that “won the war.” In fact, we’ll go as far as to say that no watch was responsible for winning anything, and that it was the brave soldiers who fought for our freedom who won the war.
To clarify this point, there were many watches used by the military during WWII that greatly aided our soldiers and helped us achieve victory. Specifically, we were referring to the watches that our pilots used in WWII and how these watches were modified to avoid detection in the skies. There were a great many other watches used by infantry on the ground rather than in the sky that could hold the mantle of “the watch that won the war.”
The Hamilton 4992B was, however, the only pocket watch that we know of that Hamilton made specifically for the military during WWII.
This kind of feedback is welcomed and provides us with an important opportunity to reassess our words and educate ourselves further, so we appreciate our listener who sent in that comment.
Now that we’ve addressed the hardest question first, we can move on to the meat and potatoes of today’s article, which centers around another question sent in by an audience member. That question is: How can I try on a Vortic watch in person? We get this question all the time, so we thought we’d take some time to address it in an episode. Let’s get into it!
How to Try On a Vortic Watch
So you’ve been following us for a while, and you can’t wait to get your hands on one of these watches? We don’t blame you! Our fourth annual Military Edition watch releases on November 11th at noon Mountain Time, and it is something special. However, with a purchase like this, it’s understandable that you would want to ensure a proper fit before committing, so how can you try one on? Well, you’ll have to come see us!
“A lot of people ask, How do I see your watches in person? A lot of people think, Okay, these are bigger watches, larger than usual. They want to put it on, they want to check it out, they want to hold it. There's only so much we can do with video and photo, and we do not have retailers. We don't have retail stores. We don't have a physical presence except right here in Fort Collins, Colorado. And so we do a ton of shows.” - R.T. Custer
A lack of retail presence has its benefits and drawbacks, of course, but one of our favorite benefits is getting to travel around the country and attend various art and trade shows.
R.T. is constantly traveling around and going to various trade shows, with the most recent being the WindupWatch Fair in New York City. These shows provide your average consumer the opportunity to see our watches in person and see what they look like on their own wrist.
“The answer to the question is: We do shows. They're either trade shows, open-air markets, art fairs, or anywhere high-end art is displayed is what we typically look at. Then obviously, the rich wristwatch industry — things like the WindupWatch Fair, which, this recent one in New York City is, now, I think, the largest watch trade show in the world.” - R.T. Custer
photo cred 📸 @wornandwound
If you’re thinking attending one of these shows sounds awesome, it is! However, if you’re apprehensive about going because you don’t want to drop thousands of dollars just to attend, that’s totally understandable, but you’re in luck! You don’t need to make a huge financial commitment to attend one of these shows!
“There's a good range of prices too. It's not like you have to be able to spend $5,000 to attend that fair. You can spend a lot less than that and get a good quality piece from an interesting watch brand and also browse a bunch of other ones. It's a pretty cool opportunity, and there's not much out there like this that you can attend. I've talked to a couple of customers who are flying in for it or driving a long distance for it because it's so cool.” - R.T. Custer
If you’ve been wanting to make a trip to the Big Apple anyways, now you have the perfect excuse to take that trip and come see us at WindupWatch Fair!
Shows, Shows, and More Shows!
WindupWatch Fair may be the biggest watch show you can attend, but it’s certainly not the only way you can see our watches and many others in person. You’re also not totally out of luck if you don’t live in New York. There’s more going on all around the country!
“They're going to do more in the future, but New York's a big one. Then we do other things like MicroLUX, which is a smaller version of MicroLUXAustin. That's November 5th and 6th in downtown Austin, Texas. We always do the Fountain Hills Festival of the Arts, and that's more of a high-end art festival. So there are sculptures and paintings, all kinds of awesome stuff. However, we're typically the only watch company there.” - R.T. Custer
All of our listeners in the South are reading this and thinking, That sounds great, but I’m not in Arizona or Texas! Don’t worry! Even though these shows are some of the biggest and best, you still have one more opportunity to see us in person, and this location may just be a bit closer to home for you.
“After that, there's One of a Kind Chicago, which is December 1st through 4th. This show is at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, and it's exactly what it sounds like. It's one-of-a-kind stuff. We're typically one of one or two watch companies there. So again, it's mostly art and other interesting things. If you're interested in seeing us at one of those shows, I just started putting a list of upcoming events at the bottom of our weekly email. Besides coming here to Colorado, that’s really one of the only ways to see our watches in person.” - R.T. Custer
Quick caveat — we do tours! If you’re in Colorado and want to check out the facility, there’s a link on our website where you can schedule a tour and see how we make these watches in person. Alternatively, you can just shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll set up a tour!
An Update from Tyler
When you plan to release something new and exciting every three months like we are, you need to standardize as much of the process as possible and make things that are simple and easily repeatable. Since moving to the new facility, that has been the company’s main focus — using all these new machines to make things that we never have to redo or make differently.
“The big picture is we are transitioning to this new style of case, and there's a lot of benefits to it. However, we need to continue producing the old style of case. So, we continue releasing watches through this time because, as we've said before, this is the only way we make money. So, if we don't build watches, we don't make money, and none of this exists. So that's a dilemma. It's coming out with the new stuff as we're keeping up with current stuff.” - Tyler Wolfe
On paper, this sounds pretty standard, but when you’re a young, growing company that’s putting out new products on a consistent basis, things can get pretty hectic! More specifically, new machines have allowed us to speed up the entire process and devote more time to other areas of production.
“The idea is that we're going to take the current version of the 12 size, make some tweaks to it, and transfer it from the VM to the five-axis, which we have capacity on. That machine's just for prototyping. So we are going in between prototyping because I can't be prototyping all day. I need to go and do stuff on my computer.” - Tyler Wolfe
As much as we would love to clone Tyler and have two of him running around the building, we specialize in restoring antique timepieces, not genetics.
“I need to design and program. In between prototyping, there is spare time. So during that time, we can make the 12-size case, and there are so many benefits from using the five-axis’ reduced amount of operations. Reduced human interaction lets us go faster and should help us get more in stock with the 12 size faster with machine time that we're currently not using. So, it'll allow us to focus more, put more of our focus on those V3 products instead of having our focus kind of in two spots — on the current product and the new product.” - Tyler Wolfe
Trial and error is an essential aspect of building a company. Sometimes you have to make mistakes in order to learn from them and improve. And sometimes, you just need new machines for production!
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We appreciate every person who has given feedback on our episodes, especially when it provides us with an opportunity to educate ourselves and remain historically accurate. We hope to improve with each episode and give our listeners the best experience possible when tuning in to our podcast.
If you’ve been eager to check out our watches in person and see what they look like on your own wrist, come see us! You can find our schedule of which shows we’ll be at and where on our website, so head over there now if you want to learn more about that.
Don’t forget about the upcoming release of our fourth annual Military Edition watch! Mark your calendars for 12 o’clock noon Mountain Time on November 11th, and celebrate American history with us by taking home this beautiful watch. Click here for all things Military Edition. We’ll see you next time!