Many readers will be familiar with Vortic’s primary product: an antique American pocket watch movement and dial, housed in a 3-D printed case with dimensions appropriate for wear on the wrist. The result is a watch that is incredibly distinctive, with a crown at 12:00 and a commanding case that is anything but classic and reserved. And then you have the dial, likely patinated and definitely of a time not our own. It’s a unique combination, and nobody else pays respect to America’s unique watchmaking history in quite the way Vortic does, by making use of watchmaking materials that would otherwise be discarded, and combining them with new manufacturing technology. The latest offering from Vortic puts a new spin on this formula. The old pocket watch movements, of course, remain, but the case is a different beast altogether.
What we have here is a case made from milled titanium with a black DLC coating. It’s 46mm, which is a big wristwatch by any standard, but the large diameter is necessary to accommodate the size of the antique pocket watch movement. The watch cases are milled at the Vortic facility in Colorado, and final assembly takes place on site as well.
The DLC coating helps to give the watch a more modern look. Compared to previous Vortic editions with darkened cases, this new DLC coating gives the watch a highly polished appearance. When coupled with a dial dating to the 1920s, the impact is truly striking. It gives the impression of something truly bespoke. Indeed, Vortic encourages their clients to use their Watch Builder tool, which allows for much customization, including dial/movement choice, crown style, and engraving.
Vortic appeals on multiple fronts. They are bringing attention to historic American watchmaking, and also have a clear plan for bringing this centuries old craft into the future. They place a real emphasis on manufacturing; it’s notable that they, as a brand, want their customers to know precisely how their cases are made. And, through their pocket watch conversion service, they’re offering a valuable option to anyone who has had that all too common experience of finding on old family heirloom and wondering what, if anything, could be done to preserve it for future generations.
At a time when American manufacturing and history seem to be either totally forgotten about or just ideas that are co-opted by large corporations, Vortic’s commitment to educating their customers and providing new and interesting products based on the idea of a shared watchmaking heritage is something worth paying attention to.
For a behind-the-scenes look at Vortic, check out our coverage here.