Did you hear the great news?!
Episode #9 of Custer & Wolfe, Building a Watch Company: Vortic’s $250,000 Manufacturing Grant = More US Jobs! In the midst of unexpected delays moving into the new shop, we received the greatest news. We acquired the $250,000 Advanced Manufacturing grant from the State of Colorado to continue supplying incredible jobs for American Machinists and further improve our watch quality! In this episode of Custer & Wolfe, we dive into the specifics of how this grant will shape Vortic’s future, and we end with a sneak peek of the new building.
Every couple of weeks you can expect a new episode on our Custer & Wolfe YouTube channel so make sure you are subscribed! Now that we're officially moved into our new building, look out for new and different episodes coming your way soon!
For those in the market to buy one of these Watch of the Day watches, we're thinking of doing a "Watches of the Week" video where we highlight this week's watches, get some up close video of them, and let you know our team's favorites. If you want to see that, reply to this email and let us know!
Here's your Weekly Roundup!
Every Tuesday we send this Weekly Roundup of our most recent Watch of the Day watches. Most watches sell within minutes or hours, so be sure to check the website each day at noon Mountain Time or follow us on social media to get more frequent updates!
Click the images of the watches to learn more about them. Make sure to check the website at 12 PM Mountain Time for the Watch of the Day!
Today, we’re delighted to showcase this unique, antique piece originally manufactured by the Elgin National Watch Company in 1908 — the Chicago 011. The Chicago features a pristine white dial with transparent hour numerals and detailed red minute numerals, and the front of the timepiece also includes a helpful subdial and blue-tinted hands. We paired this one-a-kind pocket watch with our stunning and robust Bronzed Titanium case, drawing further attention to the piece’s remarkable dial, and we paired it with a nickel-plated crown.
Our Bronzed Titanium case features a clear back, enabling you to view this historic watch’s marvelous inner workings, including a 340-grade open-face movement with a Breguet hairspring and Moseley regulator. The gorgeous movement also features 17 screw-set jewels throughout its 3-finger bridge plate and boasts sumptuous gold-plated gears. To top the piece off, we matched it with our hand-crafted Merlot leather watch strap, making this highly original watch even more unique and eye-catching.
The Elgin National Watch Company initially produced the Chicago 011’s pocket watch in Elgin, Illinois, in 1908 — the same year Harvard University created the first ever Master of Business Administration program. The program was established by faculty members within Harvard’s Humanities department. They wanted to model the new program after Ecole des Sciences Politiques (Paris Institute of Political Studies), focusing on government service and diplomacy. When developing the program, Harvard faculty members decided to focus on particular business areas, and they implemented the case method style of teaching, a highly innovative approach at the time.
"My personal watch is very similar to this and I just love these clean elegant dials." - Tyler
We are very excited to once again release our highly anticipated 16-size watches, in our brand new Version III machined titanium case. It has been a little over two years since we put production on hold for our 16-size watches and we can proudly announce that they are back! We decided that it was important to rethink our design and re-engineer our cases completely for a better system of building watches. This watch comes in at 49mm, as opposed to the 46mm 12-size watches that we have primarily been releasing.
The main changes that we made to the case is the way that the watch sits inside, with each and every case specifically manufactured to fit that exact movement perfectly without using any inserts or extra parts that require manipulation and fine-tuning. This watch represents the classic styling of Elgin, with this incredibly bright and clean enamel dial, nice bold numerals, and small red minute indicators around the outside. The spade hands have been blued to stand out, completing this beautiful design. Our brand new crown style sits on top, with nickel-plated hardware to match and a dark black leather strap.
As we peer inside the open-back case to take a closer look at the movement, right away we can see a slightly different look that was used on this larger model. The three-finger bridge design stands out and we love the visual balance of this bridge that allows for a better view of the gold-plated gears beneath. 17 screw set jewels are placed carefully and secured with stainless steel hardware that pairs well with the reflective patterns that have been machined into the different bridge plates.
This watch was originally produced by the Elgin National Watch Company in Elgin, Illinois in 1917, a bitter year for both America and the world. Due to the resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare by the Germans and the discovery of the Zimmerman Telegram, the United States of America was drawn fully into the European conflict, making it truly a world war. However, there were some benefits of joining the conflict, with wages nearly doubling, stimulating the American economy. Before the great war, America had been a debtor country, and the economic capital of the world was London. After 1918, it shifted to New York, and the United States emerged from the war a net creditor.
We’re excited to feature this breathtaking, original piece from the Ball Watch Company, initially produced in 1926 — the Cleveland 043. Ball Watch Company had the majority of its watches produced in Springfield Illinois by the Illinois Watch Company. The Cleveland boasts a highly unique and sophisticated gray center design and matching subdial that looks stunning against the dial’s white background. The dial also features gold-colored numerals and blue-tinted square spade hands.
We encased this remarkable pocket watch within our Gunmetal case and equipped it with a gold-plated crown, matching the dial’s luxurious-looking numerals. Our Gunmetal case features a transparent back, enabling watch enthusiasts to view the piece’s intricate inner workings. The pocket watch has a Commercial Standard grade movement with an open-face configuration, ¾ plate, and a circular finish pattern. The back of the watch also showcases robust gold-plated gears powered by 19 jewels with raised gold settings. Finally, we made this magnificent watch even better with our artisan-designed Rye leather watch strap, adding to the piece’s sumptuous, one-of-a-kind style.
The Illinois Watch Company originally manufactured the pocket watch in Springfield, Illinois, in 1926 — the same year that publisher Kurt Wolff released Franz Kafka’s final novel, The Castle. Kafka was known for his surreal storytelling, leading to the development of the term “Kafkaesque,” which people use to describe situations and literary works that are bizarre or evoke a sense of existential dread. Although The Castle is one of Franz Kafka’s most famous works, the author didn’t want to release it. He passed away two years before its publication, and he instructed his friend and executor of his will Max Brod to destroy his unfinished writing, including his novels The Castle, The Trial, and Amerika. Brod ignored Kafka’s request and published the works.
We’re thrilled to showcase this breathtaking antique watch initially produced by the Illinois Watch Company — the Springfield 517. The watch boasts a highly sophisticated dial with thin, stylish black numerals and a gleaming subdial. The front of the watch also features blue-tinted diamond kite hands that display pleasingly against its grayish-cream background.
We paired the original pocket watch with our eye-catching and scratch-resistant Machined Titanium case as well as a matching nickel-plated crown, drawing further attention to the piece’s unique dial. On the back of the watch, you can view the timepiece’s 405-grade open-face movement with a nickel finish and pendant setting. The movement also features stunning bronze-plated gears powered by 17 luxurious jewels throughout its center bridge plate. Finally, we matched this one-of-a-kind piece with our comfortable, artisan-designed coal leather watch strap, complementing the watch’s elegant style.
The Illinois Watch Company originally manufactured the Springfield 517’s pocket watch in Springfield, Illinois, in 1927 — the same year the musical Show Boat premiered on Broadway. Show Boat was based on a novel with the same name about the performers and workers on a Mississippi River show boat. The musical was an important landmark in the history of musical theater because it broke away from the format and style that dominated Broadway in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Broadway musicals at that time were light and unrealistic, while Show Boat introduced a more serious tone, laying the groundwork for future productions.
The Chicago 374 (SOLD)
We are incredibly excited to present this absolutely breathtaking watch from the Elgin National Watch Company. This watch is special in so many ways, but the first thing that jumped out to us was this incredible dial on this movement that hails from 1899. We get a lot of requests for pre-1900 watches and are usually only able to release around 10 or so per year based on scarcity.
The gold-colored accents on the dial immediately pull you in to investigate all of the small details and work perfectly with this solid bronze case. We love working with bronze because of how the look and feel of the material will change over time to give the watch a lovely aged appearance. Bronze changes and darkens when exposed to oxygen, oils from our skin, and other natural elements over time. This particular case has already started to age slowly even since the time we finished building it. We love the look and wanted to emphasize the uniqueness of this look, which will eventually darken even more over time just from wearing the watch.
Our moss strap pairs well with the tone of the case and we topped it off with our nickel-plated crown and hardware. As if the age alone isn't enough to get you excited about this movement, the 23 jewels and incredible design work will definitely pique your interest. The gears that turn beneath the build plate have been plated with rose gold, adding to the precious metals that make up this gorgeous watch. One of the signature design elements that we are happy to see as well is the intricate floral patterns that decorate this Moseley regulator.
This watch was originally manufactured by the Elgin National Watch Company in Elgin, Illinois in 1899 over 123 years ago. This was also a big year for the up-and-coming automobile industry, with the very first known use of the word "automobile" in an article in the New York Times. This was also the year that German manufacturer "Opel" completed its very first vehicle. Originally started in 1862 as a sewing machine company, and later as a bicycle company, eventually they completely shifted and settled on automobiles. They remain the 3rd oldest automobile manufacturer in the world, still in production to this day.
We are very excited to bring you this incredible timepiece from the Waltham Watch Company, our Boston 457. We love the different character that each watch displays, making each and every watch that we make a one-of-a-kind unique work of art. This watch displays an amazing amount of detail in the center of this double-sunk dial, with this carefully machined dial that shows off the craftsmanship that they were capable of over 100 years ago.
We love the combination of these copper-toned numerals and how they work so well with these full moon hands. A copper crown and hardware complete the look, with our classic black American-made strap. This watch boasts 23 incredible jewels inside, and we would expect nothing less than this top-of-the-line Riverside Maximus movement. The build plates have been meticulously machined with this very intricate pattern that carries throughout. Gold-plated gears and a brass balance wheel shine through beneath, bringing even more attention to the fine details of this watch.
This particular movement was part of a very small run of only 1000 other watches like it, originally produced back in 1919 in Waltham, Massachusetts. This year presents the beginning of a complicated era for the United States of America, as the 18th amendment is ratified in January. This marked the start of prohibition for all 50 states, which was upheld until it was eventually abolished in 1933.