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Early 1900s American manufactured pocket watch movements preserved in stainless steel cases, crafted from US-made components.
Early 1900s American manufactured pocket watch movements preserved in stainless steel cases, crafted from US-made components.
Early 1900s American manufactured pocket watch movements preserved in stainless steel cases, crafted from US-made components.
113 backers pledged $41,035 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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The American Artisan Series - Custom Watches made in the USA

$41,035

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The American Artisan Series

  • Vintage pocket watch movements made in Chicago, IL, Boston, MA or Lancaster, PA.
  • Patent-pending stainless steel cases 3D printed in Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Corning Gorilla Glass crystals made in the USA.
  • Genuine American leather bands handcrafted in Fort Collins, CO.
  • Custom made, one at a time, just for you.

Please visit www.vorticwatches.com following the completion of this campaign to learn more about the company or to purchase one of our products.

Who are we?

Vortic is an innovative start-up company focused in the wrist-wear industry. Our idea evolved from the research we were doing for another project. We could not pass up the chance to build a watch that is an elegant composition of both vintage and modern American ingenuity. The American Artisan Series by Vortic Watches is a product that completely embodies our brand.

What do we stand for?

In the past few years the United States has seen massive momentum behind the American Manufacturing Movement. “Made in America” and “U.S.-made” are written everywhere on products, shelves, and advertisements, and companies are spending billions of dollars to bring their production stateside. Unfortunately, there is a problem facing the future of manufacturing in the states. The number of Millennials willing and able to fill these positions is smaller than the number of Baby Boomers about to retire.

The America Makes Foundation is determined to solve this problem. Created by a new American made watch company, Vortic Watches, this foundation is sponsoring scholarships for Millennials who are passionate about “making.” The scholarships, worth $1,000 to $5,000 for either technical school or college, also come with $500 to $1,000 in cash investment in the winners’ idea and unlimited access to Vortic’s network of manufacturers, investors, and rapid prototyping machines. Any high school or college student may enter to win the scholarship by submitting a video to www.americamakesfoundation.org.

 To raise money for the foundation, Vortic is selling handmade leather goods starting with a classic, custom engraved leather bracelet on their Kickstarter campaign. The funds raised on Kickstarter will go towards equipment needed for future production, and funds raised afterwards will directly benefit the scholarship awards. Bracelets are engraved with the America Makes tagline: Amer{Custom}ican Made where the word “custom” can be personalized to you.

Go to www.americamakesfoundation.org to learn more, submit your application for the scholarship, or to get more involved. Bracelets are also offered wholesale for retailers looking to support the cause and add another American made product to their lineup.

Important Note:

Funds raised on Kickstarter will go towards purchasing equipment and materials to support the creation of our company. Funds raised by selling these bands starting Jan 1st, 2015 will directly support the new Foundation. Thank you for your support!

What is a watch movement?

The movement is exactly what it sounds like, the part of the watch that moves. It is the motor that drives the hands of the watch and keeps time. Most modern watches use a battery powered quartz movement, which keeps time perfectly well, but when the battery runs out so does your luck. The movements we are using here (known as mechanical movements) have been running inside of a pocket watch for around 100 years, and all they need to keep going is a few twists of the crown (the button or small pin on the side or top of the watch face) every 24 to 48hrs. While Switzerland is often regarded as the watch manufacturing capital of the world, many people do not know that America has a rich history in the art of watch making.



   
   

Watch Making and the United States

The late 1800s and early 1900s were a time of progress and expansion for the United States, and much of this can be attributed to the transcontinental railroad. But the railroad had a problem. They often found themselves significantly off schedule for a reason that we take for granted today; they did not have a consistent way of keeping time. And, as we all know, timing is crucial when it comes to a complex system, especially when that system is the size of the United States. This is when three American companies took the initiative and started manufacturing high quality, precision time pieces for our railroad's engineers. They were:

  • The Elgin National Watch Company from just outside of Chicago, Illinois
  • The Waltham or American Watch Company of Boston, Massachusetts
  • The Hamilton Watch Company of Lancaster, Pennsylvania (our home state, and R.T.'s home town!)

Why pocket watch movements?

Before this project we were not well versed in the United States watch making industry, but the more of these beautiful pieces of American history we saw the more we were confused by the amount of these movements being auctioned off without their cases. We found out that people were removing the movement, and scrapping the pocket watch cases for their gold and silver value. Then, people offered the oftentimes damaged movements to be used for things such as steam punk jewelry.
   
  
  
   
    
While we think the jewelry created from the various gears, springs and levers of these mechanical movements is really cool, we could not help but see a greater potential. This is when the American Artisan Series was born. We have partnered with professional watch makers to polish and tune these timepieces for daily use. They are made using extremely durable steel and jewels as hard as diamonds, so with a little tlc and the protection of our patent pending case they are and will be humming like the day they were built for many years to come.


The patent-pending Case

We had to get creative with the case. Each brand and model of movement has a slightly different size and shape so we designed a two piece case and insert system that allows us to build a custom housing for each watch. This case has crystals on both the front and back, allowing the wearer to see not only the elegant porcelain face, but also the mesmerizing polished steel movement.

Because we are crafting a limited quantity of watches, the cases will be produced one at a time using a new technology... metal 3D printing. Powdered stainless steel is sintered one layer at a time, a standard 3D printing method, until a full piece is fused together. Those pieces are slightly porous, so they are infiltrated with bronze in a process similar to jewelry casting. The result is a solid piece of art forged in Pittsburgh, PA, and finished by polishing, drilling, and tapping in our Northern Colorado workshop.

Powdered metal being sintered
Powdered metal being sintered
Bronze infiltration to the 3d printed part
Bronze infiltration to the 3d printed part

The Band

After testing dozens of leather samples, we decided to use American cow hides from the LeatherWorks Company in Doral, Florida for our bands. Our craftsmen will hand cut and stitch your band, and you will choose your buckle style, buckle finish, stitching type, and leather color. We will custom make it to fit your watch and your wrist. All of our bands will be 22 millimeters wide at the case except for the small version which will allow for either a 22mm or a 16mm band size.

We expect you will love the quality of these bands so we added backing options that allow you purchase multiple band styles with your watch. Even if you do not buy a watch, you are more than welcome to purchase one of our bands. They should make the perfect addition to your favorite timepiece.

The Box

We wanted our watch to be more than just a product, we wanted it to be an experience. We put as much thought into our packaging as we did our product. Our watches will arrive in a beautiful handcrafted wooden box made from salvaged American walnut by a local Fort Collins carpenter. This box is then finished with hand cut leather and rustic bronze hardware in our own workshop. So, when you remove our hand folded, tied and wax sealed wrapping, you'll experience the same emotions we did when seeing our fully assembled watch for the first time.
   
      

Holiday Options

We prepared a special gift for our Early Bird backers. The chance to buy one of our watches at an extremely discounted price, and to give our watch as a Christmas gift this year. Whether you decide to give the American Artisan Series watch to a member of your family, a friend, or even to yourself, you'll be glad you purchased a Vortic watch.




If you choose any Holiday backing option, you'll receive one of our handmade watch boxes by Christmas. The box will be wrapped, just like in our video, and will contain one of our personalized Holiday Decision Guides. The lucky person who receives this gift will use their personalized selection card to choose each of the options they would like built into the watch.


 


After they experience our box, Decision Guide, and mail their pre-addressed selection card back to us, we will build their one-of-a-kind American Artisan Series watch. As an added bonus for our Early Birds, we will ship these Holiday options either to you or directly to your special person, and we will include any custom message you would like. Last but not least, these options will be built and fulfilled right away so our Early Birds will be the first backers to experience our watches in person.


The Watch Decision Guide

Since each watch will be a custom piece, you'll use this decision guide to choose each option. If you purchase a Holiday gift option, you'll receive a personalized version of the following decision guide with your watch box by Christmas. If you choose a regular option, you'll get an online version approximately two weeks after the campaign has been funded.


Backing Options

Timeline

We have an aggressive timeline for producing these backing options. Please note that each option will be produced one at a time starting with our first backers. They will be produced in the order in which they were received. Our Early Bird backers will receive their watches towards the beginning of the delivery window, and later orders will be filled as soon as possible.

Warranty

Since these pocket watch movements are around 100 yeas old, we cannot guarantee their performance and accuracy. We can tell you that they've been professionally serviced and will be keeping great time when sent to you. 
We will warranty our case, crystals, and leather bands for a period of 1 year. If any damage occurs due to a failure of one of these parts, send us your watch and we will repair it free of charge. Each backer will receive our personal contact information with your watch, and we welcome your feedback, comments, and of course are ready to support you in any way we can.

Credits

Most campaign images taken by Andrew Bickford
Video shot on a Go Pro Hero 3+ Black Edition
Other Images-
Four Seasons: http://goo.gl/fvKGJL
Railroad Engineers: http://goo.gl/b9H3jR
Railroad Schedule: http://goo.gl/nm1Q5r
Hamilton Watch Company: http://goo.gl/aVrJQV, http://goo.gl/uotXXm
Hamilton Pocket Watch: http://goo.gl/05pfaL, http://goo.gl/m7nVEH
Elgin Watch Company: http://goo.gl/4n0edW, http://goo.gl/fvFEUZ
Elgin Pocket Watch: http://goo.gl/66VNIs, http://goo.gl/eiqS75
Waltham Watch Company: http://goo.gl/1fJ5v8, http://goo.gl/HGOe94
Waltham Pocket Watch: http://goo.gl/ugXHIF, http://goo.gl/Qb6j36

Risks and challenges

The watches shown here are prototypes, but only minor revisions are needed before production. We are not mass producing these watches since they are limited editions, which will allow us to handle each one of the backing options separately. We should have no problem assembling each watch and delivering them by the expected delivery date, as long as the movements requested are readily available.

There is a chance that the brand-size-style combination of antique movement that you choose may be extremely rare. In that case, we will do the best we can to give you exactly what you ordered. However, in the event that we cannot, we will contact you and talk through the available options.

Our mission is to provide the best watch buying experience you've ever had. We put our heart and soul into these watches, and we want to share that passion with you. If you are not satisfied in every way, please reach out to us and we will make it right. That is our guarantee.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $2 or more About $2.00

    [1] THANK YOU -
    Show your support for us by choosing any dollar amount you'd like to provide. You'll get your name on our backer list on the website, newsletters and updates on how we are doing, and a personalized thank you letter from us!

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    [2] EXTRA THANK YOU -
    Same as the Thank You option, but you'll also receive a surprise 3D printed gift!

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    Pledge $17 or more About $17

    [3] VORTIC T-SHIRT -
    Our American Artisan Series inspired logo t-shirt. Our designer Andrew created this shirt. We love it, and can't wait to see our friends and backers sporting them around town!

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    [3.5] AMERICA MAKES BRACELET - This is a genuine, handcrafted, American leather bracelet engraved with our Amer{____}ican Made logo. We will engrave any city, state, or word inside the brackets for you!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    [4] ARTISAN WATCH BOX (Early Bird) -
    The hand made, salvaged walnut watch box as seen in our video. They are custom made for us here in Fort Collins by a local carpenter, and we finish them by hand with with leather and bronze hardware in our own workshop. Any watch looks great in this box wrapped around our linen pillow.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    [5] ARTISAN WATCH BOX -
    The hand made, salvaged walnut watch box as seen in our video. They are custom made for us here in Fort Collins by a local carpenter, and we finish them by hand with with leather and bronze hardware in our own workshop. Any watch looks great in this box wrapped around our linen pillow.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    [6] ARTISAN LEATHER BAND -
    One genuine American leather watch band handcrafted just for you in our Northern Colorado workshop. It will be the perfect wristband for your favorite watch, and will be custom designed and sized for your wrist. You choose one of our beautiful colors of leather, your favorite style of stitching and buckle, and the pin size that will fit your watch.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    [7] ARTISAN LEATHER BAND (2)-
    TWO genuine American leather watch bands handcrafted just for you in our Northern Colorado workshop. They will be the perfect wristband for your favorite watch, and will be custom designed and sized for your wrist. You choose one of our beautiful colors of leather, your favorite style of stitching and buckle, and the pin size that will fit your watch.

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    Pledge $475 or more About $475

    [8] CHRISTMAS IN CHICAGO (Early Bird) -
    The perfect gift for any watch lover! By Christmas, you'll receive our handmade watch box gift wrapped for your special person. Inside, they'll find our personalized Holiday Decision Guide, which they will use to select their components and build their one-of-a-kind watch. After they experience our decision guide, they'll send us their pre-addressed selection card and we will build their watch. The final delivery of this option (in March) will come with a vintage Elgin pocket watch movement. The recipient will have all the case and band choices as laid out in the Decision Guide.

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    Pledge $575 or more About $575

    [9] CHRISTMAS IN BOSTON (Early Bird) -
    The perfect gift for any watch lover! By Christmas, you'll receive our handmade watch box gift wrapped for your special person. Inside, they'll find our personalized Holiday Decision Guide, which they will use to select their components and build their one-of-a-kind watch. After they experience our decision guide, they'll send us their pre-addressed selection card and we will build their watch. The final delivery of this option (in March) will come with a vintage Waltham pocket watch movement. The recipient will have all the case and band choices as laid out in the Decision Guide.

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    Pledge $675 or more About $675

    [10] CHRISTMAS IN LANCASTER (Early Bird) - The perfect gift for any watch lover! By Christmas, you'll receive our handmade watch box gift wrapped for your special person. Inside, they'll find our personalized Holiday Decision Guide, which they will use to select their components and build their one-of-a-kind watch. After they experience our decision guide, they'll send us their pre-addressed selection card and we will build their watch. The final delivery of this option (in March) will come with a vintage Hamilton pocket watch movement. The recipient will have all the case and band choices as laid out in the Decision Guide.

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $700 or more About $700

    [11] THE CHICAGO -
    This is our flagship watch containing a vintage Elgin pocket watch movement. Starting their lives around 100 years ago as pocket watches, these movements are being preserved inside our patent-pending stainless steel case and showcased by our specially made oleophobic Gorilla Glass crystals. You will have all the case and band choices as laid out in the Decision Guide. You'll also receive the Artisan Watch Box and the Artisan Series T-shirt!

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $800 or more About $800

    [12] THE BOSTON -
    This is our flagship watch containing a vintage Waltham pocket watch movement. Starting their lives around 100 years ago as pocket watches, these movements are being preserved inside our patent-pending stainless steel case and showcased by our specially made oleophobic Gorilla Glass crystals. You will have all the case and band choices as laid out in the Decision Guide. You'll also receive the Artisan Watch Box and the Artisan Series T-shirt!

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    Pledge $900 or more About $900

    [13] THE LANCASTER -
    This is our flagship watch containing a vintage Hamilton pocket watch movement. Starting their lives around 100 years ago as pocket watches, these movements are being preserved inside our patent-pending stainless steel case and showcased by our specially made oleophobic Gorilla Glass crystals. You will have all the case and band choices as laid out in the Decision Guide. You'll also receive the Artisan Watch Box and the Artisan Series T-shirt!

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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    [14] THE MAIL ORDER CUSTOM -
    Send us any mechanical watch movement, whether it is your grandfather's old pocket watch, your favorite wristwatch, or even something you found at a local shop, and we'll use it to build you a one-of-a-kind wristwatch. It will be protected by a custom resin insert and showcased by 2 oleophobic Gorilla Glass crystals. You will have all the case and band choices as laid out in the Decision Guide. You'll also receive the Artisan Watch Box and the Artisan Series T-shirt!

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    [15] CHRISTMAS IN AMERICA (Early Bird)-
    The perfect gift for any watch lover(s)! This option will be three of our Holiday Early Bird options. (See the Christmas in Chicago/Boston/Lancaster options above). For each watch, you will have all the case and band choices as laid out in the Decision Guide.

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    Pledge $2,250 or more About $2,250

    [15.5] THE ALL AMERICAN SET - Includes one of each of our standard backing options, i.e. one "The Chicago," one "The Boston," and one "The Lancaster." Each watch will come with a box and T-Shirt, and can be shipped separately if required.

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    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000

    [16] THE AMERICAN ARTISAN SERIES SET -
    You will own the three exact watches shown in our Kickstarter video. These are serial numbers 000, 001, and 002. They are our babies and it will be difficult to part with them, but they can be yours. You'll also get three watch boxes and three T-shirts!

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Funding period

- (30 days)