How To Find The Right American Made Watch

Finding an American made watch that’s right for your wrist is a challenge. Over the past few years, the watch industry has seen significant changes. From the effects of smartphones/watches on watch purchasing habits to the flood of affordable imported models, the vintage luxury watch boom to the revival of American watch companies, the industry has evolved a lot.

If you want to purchase from an American watch company, you have a good selection of options to choose from. You’ll want to consider the following things to help find ideal watch:

  • Style

  • Budget

  • Features

  • Intended Use

Next we’ll break down each item to help you figure out which American watch brands will work for you.

What’s style watch are you looking for?

Before you start looking for a watch you need to figure out what style of watch you’re interested in. A great place to start is to determine what situations you’ll be wearing the watch, and if those tend to be on the more casual or more dress side of the spectrum

Casual watches tend to rest higher off the wrist and are often larger overall watches, though that’s not always the case with some casual watch brands. Typically these watches are worn for occasions outside of an office or formal dress occasions, and can have features that are useful for casual settings. 

Dress watches tend to be slimmer which allows them to fit under shirt, blouse and jacket sleeves easily. While many of these slimmer watches feature subdued styling, some brands offer bold color options, material choices or features. A dress watch is often smaller than casual watches and work best in office or formal dress occasions.

While these are generalizations of casual and dress style watches, they provide a good summary to use as a starting point. Within each of these styles there are additional categories that can have an affect on the cost.

What’s your budget?

Once you know the general style of watch you’d like to buy, the next step is to figure out your budget. 

Within each of the styles explained above you’ll find a few groups that will affect the pricing: budget, fashion, entry-level luxury and luxury.

Budget watches are those built with cheaper materials and components so that can be sold at lower price points. They often lack features of more expensive watches and are more susceptible to damage from everyday use due to the type of materials used.

Fashion watches are the watches branded by companies who are not known for their watchmaking and sole focus is on other areas of the fashion world, such as apparel, shoes and accessories. The price and quality of these watches can range.

Entry-level luxury watches are those that feature luxury components and materials but lack some of the features of more exclusive luxury brands. These often provide the biggest bang-for-your-buck in terms of features.

Luxury watches are those built by luxury watch brands. Typically they build all of their components in-house exclusively for their watch models. These are typically the most expensive watches.

Which features are important to you?

Modern watch brands offer many different features to satisfy customer’s wants and needs. It’s important for you to determine what features are important to you and which ones you are flexible on.

Complications - any function in addition to telling time - are an area that can make a watch especially useful but also affect price substantially. 

  • Calendar features help you keep track of the date. A date display is a fairly common feature and a less common variation is day/date.

  • Chronograph is a stopwatch feature to enable precise activity timekeeping. 

  • GMT or dual-timezone watch is a category that allows you to keep track of time in more than one timezone at a time.

  • Moonphase keeps track of the phase of the moon based on the calendar and provides a visual display.

  • Day and night visually indicates whether it is daytime or nighttime.

The materials used in watches is another thing to consider. 

  • Case material can range depending on the style of watch you choose. Common types include zinc alloy on the low end, and stainless steel and precious metals on the high end. Choose a material that aligns with your budget, style and intended use.

  • Crystals are usually made from acrylic, mineral glass, gorrilla glass (or other similar materials), or sapphire crystal. These each have different features which can affect price and longevity of your watch. 

  • Strap material options have grown significantly over the years. You can now get leather, vegan leather substitutes, woven fabric, and silicone to name a few. While you can change your watch strap, the cost is built in to the watch’s purchase price and its smart to choose a strap you will enjoy.

How will you use the watch?

Similar to the style question, you should consider how you will use the watch. Will you be wearing this watch for certain activities, like diving or flying, where you might find certain features valuable. Or will you be exposing the watch to more elements, such as water, and need better water resistance ratings. 

There are many uses for a watch, but you need to spend some time to figure out how you will want to use your watch. With that information you’ll confirm what features you want and need, and can start looking at options that fit your budget.

American watch brands offer a lot of options, ranging in price, quality, features and styles. Using the 4 steps above, you should be able to determine the right type of watch for your wrist.

Learn more about watch features and terminology here.

American Watch Brands: Why should you choose Lonegrade’s HDR140?

We’re proud to be an American watch company. Our decision to produce our watches in the USA was made intentionally so we could be fully immersed in the process. Being surrounded by the entire process allowed us to build the HDR140, our take on the every day watch, in the way we always wanted. The end result is a watch designed to last multiple lifetimes without taking one to buy. 

We design, assemble, test, pack and ship our watches from the US. Learn more about the HDR140 here