Building a Watch Company - The End of an Era (The Sign Era)

Building a Watch Company - The End of an Era (The Sign Era)

How do you celebrate milestones in your life?

Many choose to celebrate with friends or family and look back on the hard work that led them to this new stage of life. The hard work is over (for now), and you can look forward to all the good fortune that is to come.

Much like a good novel, life can be divided into chapters separating events and milestones as time passes. Similarly, the stages of progression for a business can be divided into chapters, celebrating the beginning of new things and bidding farewell to what came before. As is the case with so many things, however, much of the required work is easier said than done. At Vortic, we’re saying goodbye to our “moving” chapter as we place the finishing touches on our new facility and answer a few questions from our listeners. 

If you’re a returning listener, you know this whole moving chapter has been strenuous for our whole team, but we’re excited to begin our next one! Join us as we provide an update on Vortic Watch Company and an idea of what’s next for us! 

vortic moving day

“How’s the Sign Going?”

Among the biggest of our hurdles to overcome during this previous chapter was getting the clearance from the Fort Collins zoning commission to hang our sign on our new building. We thought this would be a simple step in the whole process, but as fate would have it, it ended up being one of our biggest headaches. 

Despite some additional meetings and paperwork to fill out, once the commission actually came out to our facility, we had the sign up and hanging in no time. 

“They came out, they took some pictures of the building, and they showed an overhead view of the building. They clearly had read the application where we said the sign is 50 feet back from the sidewalk. We explained we felt it needed to be bigger because a four-foot diameter sign on a huge building that far away with traffic moving that fast is just not gonna do the trick. When you follow the process and you just do what they say, sometimes it works.” - R.T. Custer

Though it worked out, it was somewhat of a hectic morning on the day we got approved. R.T. was sitting on the floor of an airport with his laptop when he joined in the Zoom call with the Fort Collins zoning commission. He didn’t even have a pair of headphones to use. Just imagine sitting on the floor of an airport, having an important business meeting on speaker phone! 

Though we were relieved and immensely thankful upon the acceptance of our sign proposal, we had hoped the zoning commission would hear us and understand our mission and reasons for hanging such a big and beautiful sign. 

“The first thing that got said after we presented was: ‘This seems like a very reasonable request.’ So before they voted we could already tell that they were probably gonna get it. And so it was fairly anti-climactic because we had waited like 45 days between application and that meeting, but it was super exciting hanging the sign yesterday.” - R.T. Custer

Physically hanging the sign proved to be a task in itself, however — that thing was heavy! Being almost 7 feet in diameter and consisting of entirely welded-together, solid stainless steel, it took five of us just to lift it. But after a few hours of preparation, we got it on the building! 

new vortic sign

“It has been a saga for several episodes, and now it's over. Now we have a sign, and we're gonna schedule a grand opening party now that we have proper signage for photos. That'll be coming up here in a couple of weeks, but after the grand opening, we’ll be updating the website with a really cool way to book an appointment and schedule a tour.” - R.T. Custer

Just like in life, sometimes rounding the corner on a chapter can teach you a lot and set you up for success down the road. Now that we’ve been through the process of putting a sign on the building, we have an idea of what to expect should we do it again. So, of course, we’re already talking about putting another sign up on the front of the building. Hopefully, we won’t be joining approval meetings from the floor of an airport next time!

How Are the Tiny Moving Parts Assembled?

The sign saga isn’t the only thing our audience is asking about. We received a question from one of our listeners asking for a video detailing how all the tiny movement parts on the watches are assembled, and to answer that question, we need to introduce Fine Timepiece Solutions or FTS.

up close shot of watch movement

“FTS is a relatively young company. They haven't been around for a long time, and the leadership there is relatively young too. They share a lot of ethos with us in terms of manufacturing in the USA, specifically involving watches. So that was kind of their first project: getting parts for courts, watches, court movements, and assembling those as well as assembling watches for other brands.” - Tyler Wolfe

FTS is the first industrial watch movement supplier based in the U.S. in over 50 years. All of their Ameriquartz movements are assembled, tested, and regulated at their facility in Fountain Hills, Arizona and are made from domestic and imported components. Their goal is to be an industry leader and power the next generation of watches made in the U.S. and around the world.

“They've got some really sharp people, and it's their own caliber. They're getting the parts manufactured around the world, so not all the parts are manufactured in the US, but assembly is being done in Fountain Hills at their facility. A lot of people may not know how difficult it is to assemble a watch movement. That is a lot of work. They sit there and they make sure each part fits and make sure it's oiled. They have specific tools and presses to get all the jewels in the right spots and make sure everything's functioning properly. We're really looking forward to working with them.” - Tyler Wolfe

We love sharing behind-the-scenes stuff from the manufacturing side of things, but a lot of what FTS does is sensitive, proprietary knowledge. Therefore, we’re not entirely sure we’ll be able to provide a video in detail showing how these movements are assembled by FTS. Just know we’ll show whatever we get the clearance to show.

Bring on the Military Editions!

Aside from the closure of our never-ending sign saga and answering a few questions from audience members, you don’t want to miss the release of our 2022 military edition watches! This year on Veteran’s Day, November 11, we will be releasing a 50-piece set for the fourth year. These are the Hamilton 4992B’s with the black dial containing the original movements. It takes us all year to source all these components, but we now have a consistent supply. 

 military edition 2022 teaser

“We’re not gonna tell you much about it. Just know this one is very cool — probably the coolest. We call it the fourth edition, and there'll be 50 of them for sale on that day. Typically it's the only day you can buy them because they've previously sold out in roughly 24 hours. In 2020, they sold out in six minutes. It was crazy. We all thought, we've never charged this much for a watch before, what's gonna happen? Six minutes— gone.” - R.T. Custer

We’re going to have someone ready to refresh the page at noon mountain time on the dot to prep these beauties for sale, so set your alarms now! However, this year, you’re in luck because we’re adding even more to this already-enticing offer.

“This year, we're going to do another 15-piece special edition separately from the fifties. So it'll be 65 total watches available on November 11th. It's taken us almost six years to gather enough movements to find these 15 movements. They're that rare. It's insane. If you're interested in the military edition, the best way to learn more is to go here and sign up for what we call the waiting list.” - R.T. Custer

Not only are these special edition watches a sight to behold, but they’re incredibly rare, and they go fast! Don’t miss out on taking home one of these beautiful pieces of history this year, and sign up for the waitlist!

Keeping Our Noses to the Grindstone at Vortic Watch Company

Things change fast, and with change comes new chapters and new experiences. We’ve been blessed to come as far as we have, and we’re so excited to continue our journey with you following along.  At Vortic Watch Company, we don’t just make watches, we restore pieces of history. Vortic takes timeless, antique pocket watches and reimagines them as incredible, one-of-a-kind wristwatches. Check out our Instagram to see our featured watch of the day, and make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to get email notifications. Our watches don’t stick around for long! 

Subscribing to Custer & Wolfe's YouTube channel will keep you informed on all things Vortic. There, we'll share everything that's happening with us, including our warehouse growth, production process, and ideas for creating an impactful business!

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