Best American Made Watch Reviews

Updated November 29, 2020

In a market which can seem dominated by European watchmakers, it may come as a surprise that American watchmaking has a longer history than you might realise.

There’s no doubt, however, that the last few years has seen a boom in US made watches, with American watchmakers such as Shinola now found in department stores and jewelry stores across the country.

Chances are that your criteria for an American made watch are no different to a watch made anywhere else – you’ve just decided to refine your selection to focus on watches made in the USA.

To help you in your search, we’ve looked at a selection of timepieces from American watch manufacturers. They cover a range of styles, features and price points, so there’s something for all tastes.

We’ll also round up some of the questions you might have about choosing your USA made watch.

Top Watches Made In USA

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1 Bulova - Men's Crystal - 98C126 Bulova 98C126 American Watch
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2
Best For Higher Budgets
2Devon Tread1 American Watch
Devon - Tread1 E Men's Time Belt Microstep Motor Watch
Best For Higher Budgets
Devon Tread1 American Watch
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3 Shinola - Detroit Men's The Canfield 43mm
Best Overall
Shinola Detroit The Canfield American Watch
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4 Hamilton H64455533 Khaki King Series American Watch
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5 Timex - Weekender Timex Weekender American Watch
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6
Best For Low Budgets
6Martenero Kerrison American Watch
Martenero - Kerrison Automatic Black
Best For Low Budgets
Martenero Kerrison American Watch
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1. Bulova 98C126 American Watch

Highlights
  • Embedded with 308 Swarovski crystals (on bezel, strap and dial)
  • Two-tone stainless steel bracelet with double push-button closure
  • Eye-catching design
  • Gold tone stainless steel face

If you’re looking for a dressy watch that’s a definite attention-grabber, look no further!

This Bulova model has a gold-tone stainless steel case and strap and features no fewer than 308 Swarovski crystals.

There are 170 of these dazzling crystals set on the bezel and pavé dial, which features gold-tone hour markings and hour, minute and second hands.

Also on the analog face are three subdials. A further 136 crystals are placed on the bracelet, which is fixed by a deployment clasp. Although this doesn’t look like a watch you’d want to get wet, it is actually water resistant to 30m.

Shy and retiring this watch is not, but if you want to turn heads and start conversations, this is the timepiece for you.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel
Size:
Case Thickness 9.8 mm
Movement:
Quartz
Case Diameter:
41.5 mm
Watch Strap:
22 mm

Pros

  • Water resistant to 30m
  • Analog-quartz movement
  • 3-year global warranty
  • Three subdials

Cons

  • The glare of the crystals can make it hard to see the hands
  • You’ll need to take some care not to knock out the crystals

2. Devon Tread1 American Watch

Highlights
  • Inventive and innovative design
  • Exposed movement displays the hours, minutes and seconds on separate ‘conveyor belts’
  • Includes a ‘quiet mode’ when you want the watch to be silent
  • Accurate to within one half-second per day
Best For Higher Budgets
Devon - Tread1 E Men's Time Belt Microstep Motor Watch

The Devon Tread1 is a luxury watch with a price to match. The design is unlike anything you may have seen or expected from a timepiece, with neither a recognisable analog or digital display.

Instead, the clear case reveals a series of moving ‘conveyor belts’, controlled by a microprocessor, which move in seamless synchronicity to display the time through a series of small windows.

These windows are framed in steel, adding to the industrial feel of the watch. This is a chunky design, likely to cover much of the width of your wrist, with a square case, oversized crown, and wide black rubber strap.

The watch makes an equally attention-grabbing noise, but you can put it into silent mode if you wish.

The internal workings will continue, but the display won’t show the correct time until you deactivate silent mode.

The rechargeable lithium battery will last about 2 weeks, and is recharged by placing it on top of a magnetic induction charger.

This is not a watch for traditionalists, or those looking for features such as an illuminated face or additional movements, but if you have the budget to spend on an investment piece, this could be it.

Specifications

Material:
316L Stainless Steel
Size:
53.3 x 47 x 19 mm
Watch Strap:
30 mm, Rubber
Battery Life:
Up to two weeks (rechargeable)

Pros

  • Includes a ‘quiet mode’ when you want the watch to be silent
  • Rechargeable lithium battery
  • Case is made from durable 316L surgical grade stainless steel
  • Scratch resistant face

Cons

  • The price of this watch makes it a serious investment
  • Large design may not suit all

3. Shinola Detroit The Canfield American Watch

Highlights
  • Attractive midnight blue dial with two subdials
  • Classic design with analog display
  • Date display at 6 o’clock position
  • Stainless steel case with coin edge bezel
Best Overall
Shinola - Detroit Men's The Canfield 43mm

The classic design of this Shinola Canfield timepiece is sophisticated enough to wear as a dress watch, but with the sporty edge that means it’s suitable for everyday wear.

The dial is an unusual midnight blue, which complements the cognac-coloured leather strap and makes for a classy colour combination. Luminous silver-tone hands mark the time, with simple hour markers, plus minute markers around the very edge of the face.

There is a compact date display at the 6 o’clock position, two subdials, and there’s also a stopwatch function.

We like the lasting, quiet appeal of this watch, with a simple design and robust stainless steel case that combine form and function. This is a great choice if you want a classic style with a little twist.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel
Size:
Case Thickness 13 mm
Movement:
Chronograph
Case Diameter:
43 mm
Watch Strap:
20 mm, Leather

Pros

  • Quality leather strap with buckle closure
  • Water resistant to 50m
  • Precision Quartz movement
  • Stopwatch function

Cons

  • Although made in Detroit, many components are imported
  • Relatively expensive for a quartz watch

4. Hamilton H64455533 Khaki King Series American Watch

Highlights

This timepiece is not just gorgeous and eye-catching; it also comes with a series of impressive features! First, the design has a strong classic vibe due to the leather band and large stainless steel case with an analog dial. In addition, the mechanism is protected by an anti-reflective sapphire dial window, and the back is transparent, offering a peek inside.

Like most Hamilton automatic watches for men, this model is Swiss-made and has a self-winding mechanism. Also, the analog round, black dial features day/date display, a 24-hour timer, and sword-shape hands. Moreover, the hour markers and hands are lumed, so they are visible in low light conditions.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel, Anti-Reflective Sapphire, Leather
Size:
40mm
Weight:
2.56 Ounces

Pros

  • Classy design with large stainless steel case
  • Analog dial with Day & Date feature
  • Water-resistant for up to 50m
  • Self-winding, Swiss-made mechanism
  • Lumed hour markers and hands for low-light conditions

Cons

  • Some slight accuracy issues
  • The date is a bit difficult to read

5. Timex Weekender American Watch

Highlights

Timex is a popular watch brand, and this version has a somewhat casual look, making Weekender an appropriate name. It’s billed as a unisex watch appropriate for men and women.

It has a brass case with a brown leather strap. The watch face is a deep blue color, and there is a date display at 4 o’clock. 

The watch strap is adjustable and can also be easily changed with Timex’s interchangeable slip-thru straps, available in fabric and leather straps.

It has Arabic numerals and secondary 24-hour military time in a slightly smaller size than the main numbers. There are 3 chronograph markers, 30 minutes down to 1/20th of a second.The entire dial can be illuminated with Timex’s electroluminescent technology known as INDIGLO.

It’s water resistant to 100 feet (30 meters), so it’s ok to splash it but you should not wear it in the shower or to swim.

Specifications

Material:
Brass Case, Brown Leather Band
Size:
1.57 inches in diameter x 0.35 inches thick
Weight:
2.24 ounces

Pros

  • Some extra functionality with the chronograph displays.
  • The watch strap can be changed easily with the interchangeable bands available from Timex.
  • Backlit with the Timex INDIGLO technology.
  • Billed as a unisex watch.

Cons

  • The busy watch face may be too much for some.
  • A more casual watch that may not be dressy enough for some consumers.

6. Martenero Kerrison American Watch

Highlights
  • Clean, simple design
  • Water resistant to 50m
  • Exhibition case back allows you to view the movement
  • Unisex appeal
Best For Low Budgets
Martenero - Kerrison Automatic Black

Design aficionados will be drawn to the balanced and minimal lines of this Kerrison watch, by relatively new watchmaking brand Martenero.

The brand began with crowdfunding investment and they quickly gained fans for their classic and stylish timepieces.

This model has a simple face, with silver-toned tapered hour and minute hands, and sleek hour and minute markers.

There’s also a date display. The case is made in high-quality 316L stainless steel and sits on a quality black leather band.

There’s nothing flashy or embellished here, just a sophisticated design which has unisex appeal. A great choice for anyone who prefers understated, but considered, style.

This watch would look equally good paired with casualwear at the weekend or at the office with a suit, making it a versatile choice.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel
Size:
Case Thickness 10.8 mm
Movement:
Miyota 9015 mechanical movement
Case Diameter:
42 mm
Watch Strap:
20 mm, Leather
Battery Life:
42 hour power reserve

Pros

  • Elegant, tapered hour and minute hands
  • Clear hour markers and dots signifying minute intervals
  • Date display at 6 o’clock position
  • Screw-down crown

Cons

  • No option for a solid caseback

American Made Watch Buying Guide

American Watch Brands

Whilst many people may initially think of European brands if they’re asked to name some famous watchmakers, America has long had a history of watch production. 

However, back in the 1940s the industry slowed when factories had to turn their production lines to items needed during World War II. 

It took a long time for the industry to regain its footing, but now there’s something of a renaissance going on.

If you want to choose a watch from an American watch company, you’re spoilt for choice. 

At the top end of the market are luxury makers such as Devon, in Los Angeles, but there are as many makers at an affordable price point. 

Take Detroit-based Shinola, for example, who have a broad collection and cater to a range of tastes and budgets. 

Movement

Movement is a term you’ll often see in watch articles and reviews, but what exactly does it mean? Well, the simplest answer is that the movement is the engine that keeps a watch working. 

It moves the hour, minute and second hands (or digital display) to keep accurate track of the time. 

The two main types of movement are mechanical, and quartz. 

Quartz movements are powered by a battery. The battery sends a small current through a crystal, electrifying it so that it vibrates, in turn powering the movement to turn the watch hands.

American Mechanical Watch

Watches with mechanical movements contain a number of components which work in harmony to keep the watch working. 

These tiny components require great attention to detail, so mechanical watches tend to be more expensive. 

They get their power either by being manually wound up by the wearer, or they have an ‘automatic’ movement, as we’ll explain.

American Automatic Watch

If your watch has a mechanical movement which is described as ‘automatic’ or ‘self-winding’, this means that it harnesses energy from the wearer. 

This may sound a little strange, but this process happens without the wearer being aware of it. Every time they move their arm, a rotor inside the watch spins, winding up the spring that you’d otherwise manually wind. 

Design

Many people wear a watch every single day, making it a functional part of your wardrobe that can reveal as much or more about your style as your clothing. 

Whether you’re a traditionalist who prefers a classic design to be peeking out from your shirt sleeve, or someone who wants your watch to make a bold and eye-catching conversation-starter, the choices are endless.

Luxury

American made watches cater to all tastes, including those looking for a luxury, investment piece. 

One maker of American luxury watches is Devon, whose unusual models can set you back a cool $15,000 or more. 

What makes a luxury timepiece is partly defined by the wearer, but you can expect to see use of the most refined materials, excellent craftsmanship and, often, a limited production run.

Modern

Whilst traditional watches still have their fans, there are many more modern options available to you if that’s your preference. 

Modern designs can be minimal, with clean lines and little decoration on the face. Equally, some modern watches are highly decorative, with embellishment and multiple features. 

Whatever your style, you’re certain to find a watch to suit.

Materials

There are many different materials that can be used to make both the case and the strap of a watch, and the best one for you will depend on both the way you’ll use the watch and your design preferences.

For example, if you’re a very sporty, active person, you’ll want a watch that is rugged enough to deal with the knocks and bumps of everyday use, and it might also be important to you that the watch can handle getting wet. 

For those reasons, durable materials such as silicone and resin are often used in sports watches. These options are comfortable but won’t show marks and scratches, and are available in a variety of colors.

A material which is very popular for both everyday and dress watches is stainless steel, which can be used for both the case and the strap. It’s a robust material that is tough, and yet has a classic and timeless look. 

Stainless steel doesn’t corrode in water, and rarely causes any skin irritation. 

It’s not just the strap and the case of the watch which can suffer wear and tear – the face is also prone to damage. 

A large scratch across the face of your watch can ruin the visual appeal and also make it harder to read the display. 

Sapphire crystal is an option which can sustain scratches very well, so it’s often the preferred choice for watchmakers. Sapphire crystal watches are among the more luxurious and expensive watches, but we have managed to find a good deal of watches at affordable prices in our guide on the topic. 

It’s a synthetic material, made at very high temperatures and then polished, giving the appearance of glass, but tougher.

Pricing Range

Whilst there may be fewer options at the very lowest end of the price range, it’s still very possible to find affordable American made watches. 

Depending on your preferred style and materials, brands such as Throne or Shinola can offer models beginning around US$300 or even less. 

If you have a more generous budget, your options increase when you search around the US$1,000 mark. 

Or, if the sky’s the limit and money really is no object, you’ll find brands such as Devon will cater to your luxury needs, with prices from around US$15,000 and up.

Our Verdict

We were impressed by the style, quality and breadth of choice on display from American watchmakers.

The watches we’ve reviewed here are just the tip of the iceberg and it was hard to narrow it down to this selection, let alone try to identify a worthy winner.

Our ‘Best for Low Budgets’ choice here is the Shinola Detroit The Canfield. It’s a classic design with a little extra flair thanks to the midnight blue dial.

It’s our budget choice because although it’s not the cheapest here, it does have the benefit of a limited lifetime guarantee (you should check the exceptions to see what is covered, for example wear to the strap).

This gives great peace of mind.

The ‘Top of the Range’ title simply had to go to Devon’s Tread1 for innovative design that is hard to beat. That leaves our ‘Best Overall’ prize, which we award to the Martenero Kerrison watch.

It offers simple, clean and timeless design at its best.

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