$79,774
pledged of $50,000 goal
65
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Aug 20 2016
$79,774
pledged of $50,000 goal
65
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Aug 20 2016

About

 

 

 

Visit the Journeyman Series Watch Builder HERE

From the makers of a truly American made watch (the American Artisan Series) comes a journey to revitalize modern American watch manufacturing.

The Journeyman Series by the Vortic Watch Company is an entirely new, customizable, American made watch that draws inspiration from the United States’ original great watch manufacturers. This refreshingly classic, yet innovative new line of 3D printed titanium watches is Vortic’s first foray into the world of modern watch manufacturing. The name, “Journeyman,” represents Vortic’s apprenticeship to the craft of watchmaking as well as the literal journey to bring watch manufacturing back to the United States. 

 

 

The entire Vortic team has spent the last two years restoring antique pocket watch movements, and they have had the chance to study a huge sample of products made by the great American watch manufacturers like Waltham, Hamilton, Elgin, Illinois, Howard, etc. These companies built exceptionally beautiful timepieces, all in the United States, without access to modern computer controlled equipment. Why can't we do it again now? 

 

Transparent Manufacturing

Vortic prides itself on quality American manufacturing and the founders strongly believe in full transparency of manufacturing practices. They know that the more a customer knows about a quality product the more they will believe in it. Each piece of the Journeyman Series is designed and will be assembled, by hand, in Vortic’s Northern Colorado shop. Every component of the watch can be tracked to its original location of manufacture in the United States (excluding the Eterna movements from Switzerland).

 The “Manual Wind” and “Automatic” models are powered by Eterna Movement’s Caliber 39 made in Grenchen, Switzerland. Eterna has a long heritage of high-end watchmaking, and their products live up to the Swiss expectation of superior quality.

Vortic is proud to say that the “Power Reserve” model is one of the first fully U.S. made production watches to be built since the 1960’s. It is also the first watch to feature the all new, United States made, caliber 1003 movement made by Pinion Precision Technology in Los Angeles with a power reserve indicator. 

Click HERE to learn more about Cameron Weiss and the Caliber 1003

American Made

As a business, we’ve learned that manufacturing is not as simple as giving your designs to someone and asking them to make it. Going from concept to final product is a long process of working with suppliers on design, revisions, prototypes, etc. Assuming that everyone has access to similar machinery, why is it that some facilities perform better than others? The answer is that the individuals who run those machines are the most important factor in creating a quality product

Nick Horween of Horween Leather in Chicago
Nick Horween of Horween Leather in Chicago

 

Setting up a build plate of cases at Imperial in New Jersey
Setting up a build plate of cases at Imperial in New Jersey

 

Machining cases in Loveland, Colorado
Machining cases in Loveland, Colorado

We build everything we can in the United States in order to maintain working relationships with our suppliers in a meaningful way. We have confidence in the people behind each of our components, and we want to share that confidence with you. As we continuously work to build our in-house capabilities, our belief in transparent manufacturing practices paired with the desire to tell people exactly what they’re buying will govern our marketing. We truly believe that the more you know about our product the more you will want it.

RailRoad Era Ties

The Journeyman Series follows the pristine example of craftsmanship set forth by RailRoad-Era American pocket watch manufacturers. Vortic is working to revive virtually extinct watchmaking practices that helped to create beautiful, authentic, quality pieces 100+ years ago. The most prominent features are the classically inspired enamel dials and beautifully decorated movements.

The Journeyman Series features a variety of custom, made-to-order options. Individuals have the ability to design a unique timepiece and see a multitude of options rendered instantly to the computer screen using Vortic’s watch builder web app. Customers can choose from multiple dial options, styles of hands, case finishes, hardware styles/finishes, leather color/style, movement manufacturer/finish/function and more.

Click HERE to design your own Journeyman Series watch

Handcrafted Quality

Assembling an American Artisan Series watch
Assembling an American Artisan Series watch

Each watch is assembled by hand, in Vortic’s Northern Colorado workshop. From the dial to the strap to the movement to the case; every component is meticulously inspected and rigorously tested before making its way to a customer. At Vortic, quality is paramount. 

Common Journeyman Series Features: 

Features common to every model in the Journeyman Series available for customization on the watch builder.

Case

  • Material: 3d printed Titanium body
  • Case Back: Exhibition, 316 Stainless Steel
  • Finishes: Raw Titanium, Blackened Titanium
  • Water Resistance: >20m (TBD, goal of 100m+) 
  • Location of Manufacture: 3D Printing = New Jersey, USA, Post Processing & Machining = Colorado, USA, Design, Assembly, & Finishing = Colorado, USA 

 

 

 Dial

  • Material: Grand Feu, Kiln-Fired Enamel 
  • Design: Small 6 O’clock seconds, available “Double-Sunk” dial upgrade
  • Style Options: Four unique, vintage inspired numeral styles 
  • Hands: Three blued steel and luminescent options 
  • Location of Manufacture: Colorado, USA 

Crown

  • Location: 12 O’clock 
  • Finishes: Gold Plated, Nickel Plated 
  • Style Options: Round, Knurled 
  • Location of Manufacture: Colorado, USA 

Screws, Internal Hardware, Band Fasteners

  • Finishes: Gold Plated, Nickel Plated 
  • Location of Manufacture: Colorado, USA 

 Crystals

  • Material: Corning Gorilla Glass 
  • Design: Press-Fit, Flat-Round 
  • Location of Manufacture: California, USA

 Strap

  • Materials: Stylecraft leather (standard), Horween Shell Cordovan leather (upgrade) 
  • Colors: Stylecraft = Black, Natural, Cognac, Tan, Navy. Cordovan = Black, Oxblood 
  • Buckle: Hand Forged in Detroit from Bronze and Nickel 
  • Location of Manufacture: Leather = Florida, USA, Buckles = Michigan, USA

 Packaging

  • Box: Hand-Crafted Walnut 
  • Presentation: Signature Vortic Craft Paper, Twine, and Wax Seal wrapping

Watch Builder

The “Watch Builder” is a web application that allows you to design your own Journeyman Series timepiece. 

As you select design options the watch instantly materializes on your screen, and you are able to quickly and easily visualize alternate designs. Design options include, but are not limited to; dials, hands, case size/finish, hardware style/finish, strap color/material, movement engraving/grade options, and more.

When finished designing your ideal watch, the builder outputs a backing option suggestion. The backing option suggested by the watch builder indicates which backing level to choose in order to get the exact watch on your screen. 

Backers will submit their final design options through a separate watch builder following the completion of the campaign. The Kickstarter Journeyman Series watch builder is simply to illustrate design options and direct backers to the correct option on Kickstarter. Please message us with any questions.

About Us

The Vortic Watch Company is a luxury wristwatch engineering and manufacturing company based in Fort Collins, Colorado. Their inspiration lies in reviving classic watchmaking techniques and traditions.

Founders Tyler Wolfe and R.T. Custer
Founders Tyler Wolfe and R.T. Custer

As young men, the founders had a passion for timepieces. They revered what we now consider the simple task of accurately recording time and the elegance with which it was accomplished.

After finding that their metal 3D printed prototypes for a university design project had a uniquely vintage look, the pair decided to combine the cutting edge technology of metal 3D printing with gorgeous, antique, American-made pocket watch movements to create bespoke wristwatch

Recognizing that many of these antique pocket watch movements were being orphaned from their original precious metal cases, they found vigor in restoring and preserving these beautiful pieces in a functional way. By reverse-engineering vintage parts, they were able to create a wrist watch case that housed the pocket watch movements in the same way as the original pocket watch case. They continued to develop this process, and thus, the American Artisan Series was born.

A fully disassembled watch movement
A fully disassembled watch movement

Since then, the company has been applying its product-focused attitude, unique aesthetics, and fresh ideas to modern, high quality, custom, American Made watches to expand their product line.

Meet the team

Why Kickstarter

We love restoring vintage watches and we love building custom watches, but we want to build something that is all our own. That is why we are asking the Kickstarter Community to help us launch our new Journeyman Series line.

The money we earn on Kickstarter will go towards the downpayment on a small business loan to help us expand our facility, bring more processes in-house, as well as purchase the components and manpower necessary to build and assemble the Journeyman Series.

Vortic got its start on Kickstarter in 2014 and we were incredibly grateful for all of the support. The first Kickstarter got us a 200sqft office and one employee, so we can't wait to see where we go from here!

Stretch Goals

We have created non-traditional stretch goals that support the industry of American manufacturing as well as improve the product and customer experience. As the makers of the only 100% U.S. Made watch (the American Artisan Series), we are extremely invested in protecting the future of American manufacturing. So, at each milestone, we will be creating jobs in the United States and increasing our own in-house capabilities.

$100,000 - (1) American Job & Expedited Production

If we double our goal, we will hire an additional associate to help assemble and ship Journeyman Series watches. This will decrease the time between when we receive components from suppliers and when backers receive watches.

$175,000 - (1) American Jobs & In-House Hand Production

If we raise 3.5x our goal, we will hire an additional associate to help assemble and ship Journeyman Series watches as well as purchase the equipment necessary to produce watch hands in-house. The hands are currently slated to be manufactured in Switzerland, but with more funding we can move this process stateside.

$250,000 - (2) American Jobs & Dial Stamp Negative Creation

If we raise 5x our goal, we will hire two additional associates to help assemble and ship Journeyman Series watches as well as purchase the equipment necessary to fabricate the negatives for dial stamps in-house. This will allow us to process the dials faster and give greater ability to add additional styles and colors to our lineup (more customization for customers).

$400,000 - (3) American Jobs & Case Machining

If we raise 8x our goal, we will hire three additional associates to help assemble and ship Journeyman Series watches as well as purchase the equipment necessary to post process the titanium cases and fabricate the steel case backs in-house. This will allow us to produce these components much faster and increase our ability to closely monitor quality.

Components and Manufacturer Details

Case

 All Journeyman Series water-resistant cases are 3d printed from titanium by Imperial Machine and Tool in New Jersey. The company specializes in advanced machining practices for the aerospace and military industries and added metal 3d printers to their arsenal in order to expand their capabilities.  

Christian Joest explaining his metal 3D printer
Christian Joest explaining his metal 3D printer

  

Layers of titanium being fused together to create a Journeyman case inside the 3D printer
Layers of titanium being fused together to create a Journeyman case inside the 3D printer

 

Removing titanium powder after printing
Removing titanium powder after printing

 

Cleaning freshly printed Vortic prototype cases
Cleaning freshly printed Vortic prototype cases

After printing is finished, the cases are sent to Colorado for post processing. M.A.D. Machining in Loveland takes over from here to machine the inside of each case as well as the Stainless Steel backs for water resistance. 

 

Jeff talks about machining Journeyman cases
Jeff talks about machining Journeyman cases

 

A case back on the lathe
A case back on the lathe

 

A case back ready for the mill
A case back ready for the mill

 

CNC Mill that machines Vortic's cases
CNC Mill that machines Vortic's cases

 

Kevin - Vortic's design consultant
Kevin - Vortic's design consultant

Finally, the cases make the 20-minute ride up to Fort Collins, where Vortic is located, to be polished, finished, and the backs engraved.

Strap

 All of the 20mm and 22mm Journeyman Series straps are hand-crafted from American cowhide by Hadley Roma's Stylecraft division in Florida. Hadley Roma has become the largest producer of handcrafted watch straps in the United States through many years of delivering quality products. 

Vortic’s standard watch bands are made from Stylecraft leather with an optional upgrade to premium, Famous Horween Shell Cordovan leather from Chicago. 

 

 

Journeyman Prototype at the Horween factory
Journeyman Prototype at the Horween factory

 

Working with leather
Working with leather

 

Nick Horween with R.T.
Nick Horween with R.T.

 

Finishing leather at Horween
Finishing leather at Horween

 

Finishing leather
Finishing leather

Each buckle is hand-forged from brass and nickel by Smith Shop in Detroit. Smith Shop is a relatively young operation, but the company prides itself in offering authentic products with uncompromising quality and attention to detail.

Movements

Automatic & Manual Wind - 

 The movement of a watch is the mechanism that drives and regulates the hands. All Journeyman Series models use a mechanical movement that is powered by a complex assembly of gears and springs. 

There are not many American made mechanical movements being produced today. In fact, Pinion Precision Technology is currently the only company manufacturing a production scale watch movement that qualifies for the "U.S. Made" label. In order to offer multiple watch functions, we traveled to Switzerland to find a quality movement manufacturer for the "Manual Wind" and "Automatic" models. The Swiss have a long tradition of craftsmanship and high-end watchmaking, and we found Eterna Movement in the small town of Grenchen, Switzerland.

Manual Wind Caliber 39
Manual Wind Caliber 39

 

Manual Wind Caliber 39, 3D rendering
Manual Wind Caliber 39, 3D rendering

 

Eterna Movement's Machine Shop
Eterna Movement's Machine Shop

 

Machining brass bridges and plates for Caliber 39
Machining brass bridges and plates for Caliber 39

 

Machined bridges and plates
Machined bridges and plates

 

Cutting out machined bridges and plates
Cutting out machined bridges and plates

  

Assembling a movement
Assembling a movement

 

Assembling a movement
Assembling a movement

 

Time testing Eterna movements
Time testing Eterna movements

We were immediately impressed by their operation and found out that Eterna has a long heritage of quality movement design. The company values our own principles of form and function, and, like us, they are proud of their manufacturing process. CEO and COO of Eterna Movement, Samir and Martin, took the time to tell us more about their movement manufacturing company in a video.

Power Reserve - 

Vortic is proud to say that the “Power Reserve” model is one of the first fully American made production watches to be built since the 1960’s, and is the first watch to feature the all new United States made caliber 1003 with a power reserve indicator made by Pinion Precision Technology in Los Angeles. Every component of the movements is made in the United States excluding the balance spring and jewels. 

Click HERE to learn more about Cameron Weiss and the Caliber 1003

This is the first time that a production scale movement has been able to meet the requirements for the “Made in USA” label in 50 years, and Pinion Precision Technology is the only company in existence that can meet those requirements today. Founder and Master Watchmaker Cameron Weiss based his flagship movement on a classic piece with a straightforward design and one simple goal; consistent, reliable, precision timekeeping. The power reserve indicator helps users to visualize the amount of wind left on their watch, and it is also a feature of the highest end railroad watches made in the early 1900's. This movement is a true example of outstanding manufacturing achievement in the modern day United States, and Vortic is proud to be one of the first American companies to adopt the movement and create Beautiful, fully U.S. Made, mechanical timepieces for an achievable price.

Hardware

 

The crowns, screws, and other internal parts are masterfully swiss-turned by Rick at Swiss-O-Matic. Running a swiss turning machine takes a great deal of specialized skill, and we are lucky to have one of the top facilities in the United States right here in Colorado.

Cam driven Swiss turning machine floor
Cam driven Swiss turning machine floor

  

Modifying parts at Swiss-O-Matic
Modifying parts at Swiss-O-Matic

 

A crown being turned
A crown being turned

 

A knurled crown hot off the press
A knurled crown hot off the press

 

Rick, the machinist responsible for Vortic's high precision, Swiss turned parts
Rick, the machinist responsible for Vortic's high precision, Swiss turned parts

Dials 

Vortic is resurrecting the practice of manufacturing grand feu enamel dials. The designs are inspired by RailRoad watches from the great American watch companies, and every dial will be produced in-house by Vortic using the same techniques. Enamel powder is made of pulverized glass that fuses to a copper substrate at extremely high temperatures. Kiln firing enamel creates a dial that takes in the light and throws it back with a permanent, stunning white color that lasts forever. The art of painting, beveling, polishing, and “sinking” enamel gives the pieces a refined texture and dimension.

 

 

 

 Crystals

The dual Journeyman Series crystals are made from Corning Gorilla Glass and precision cut by Abrisa in California. Gorilla Glass is known for its use on smartphones and is used to encase Vortic’s watches for its superior clarity, resistance to shattering, and scratch resistance. The outer surfaces of the crystals have an oleophobic (oil-resistant) coating to reduce smudging and make cleaning a breeze.

Gorilla Glass vs Sapphire video

Gorilla Glass explained video

 

 Image & Video Credits:

"Illinois Watch Company" video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTQT6PwgJTA

"What Makes a Fine Watch Fine" video - Public domain film from the Library of Congress Prelinger Archive.

"Eterna Movement" video" - Cleared for use by Eterna Movement management

Watch Advertisement images - https://pocketwatchdatabase.com/

"I'm Here" music - purchased from www.Pond5.com

Risks and challenges

Vortic has spent a year in research and design for this product, and has worked hard to develop relationships with suppliers prior to the launch of this campaign. These measures along with the established nature of Vortic's business will significantly decrease the possibility of unexpected obstacles.

However, obstacles for the Journeyman Series project may include incidents such as late delivery from a supplier, slight adjustments to style for functional purposes, and/or delays due to newly instituted production protocols.

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    Pledge $795 or more About $795

    #1) The "Manual Wind"

    MSRP = $995

    The 41mm Journeyman Series watch with a manually wound Swiss-made Eterna Caliber 39 movement.

    Upgrades available for additional cost (see Watch Builder App).

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    Pledge $795 or more About $795

    #1) The "Manual Wind"

    MSRP = $995

    The 41mm Journeyman Series watch with a manually wound Swiss-made Eterna Caliber 39 movement.

    Upgrades available for additional cost (see Watch Builder App).

    FREE Shipping to the United States
    $100 International Shipping

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    #2) The "Automatic"

    MSRP = $1,795

    The 41mm Journeyman Series watch with an automatically wound Swiss-made Eterna Caliber 39 movement.

    Upgrades available for additional cost (see Watch Builder App).

    FREE Shipping to the United States
    $100 International Shipping

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    #3) The "Power Reserve"

    MSRP = $1,995

    The 45mm Journeyman Series watch with a manually wound, U.S. made, Caliber 1003 movement with power reserve indicator.

    One of the first fully U.S. made production watches since the 1960's. First watch to use power reserve function of the Caliber 1003.

    Upgrades available for additional cost (see Watch Builder App).

    FREE Shipping to the United States
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    #4) The "Manual Wind" - First Batch

    (1) of the first seven "Manual Wind" Journeyman Series watches sold to the public. Be the first to receive the pieces serial numbered "0003" to "0009" respectively. The first few off the line are reserved for the founders and their partners.

    ALL upgrades available in the Watch Builder are included free of charge.

    Estimated Delivery of February, 2017
    (One month before the others!)

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    Pledge $2,495 or more About $2,495

    #5) The "Automatic" - First Batch

    (1) of the first seven "Automatic" Journeyman Series watches sold to the public. Be the first to receive the pieces serial numbered "0003" to "0009" respectively. The first few off the line are reserved for the founders and their partners.

    ALL upgrades available in the Watch Builder are included FREE of charge.

    Estimated Delivery of February, 2017
    (One month before the others!)

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    Pledge $2,995 or more About $2,995

    #6) The "Power Reserve" - First Batch

    (1) of the first seven "Power Reserve" Journeyman Series watches sold to the public. Be the first to receive the first watch using the power reserve function of the Caliber 1003 movement, and one of the first fully U.S. made watches built since the 1960's.

    Serial numbered "0003" to "0009" respectively. The first few off the line are reserved for the founders and their partners.

    ALL upgrades available in the Watch Builder are included FREE of charge.

    Estimated Delivery of April, 2017
    (One month before the others!)

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,995 or more About $2,995

    #6) The "Power Reserve" - First Batch

    (1) of the first seven "Power Reserve" Journeyman Series watches sold to the public. Be the first to receive the first watch using the power reserve function of the Caliber 1003 movement, and one of the first fully U.S. made watches built since the 1960's.

    Serial numbered "0003" to "0009" respectively. The first few off the line are reserved for the founders and their partners.

    ALL upgrades available in the Watch Builder are included FREE of charge.

    Estimated Delivery of April, 2017
    (One month before the others!)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

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Funding period

- (60 days)