It’s okay to own a piece of EDC gear that isn’t tactical. Really, it is. Sure there are some items that don’t have a substitute, but when it comes to a watch I found a company that focuses on bringing a piece of American history back to life in such a way that it fits right into my EDC despite a lack of “tactical” qualities. Vortic Watch Company is a high-end watch engineering and manufacturing company based in Fort Collins, Colorado. Every part of their watches is manufactured in the USA.
They draw inspiration from the glory days of American watchmaking in the mid-1900’s when millions of quality timepieces were produced. Over the years, those timepieces have often been handed down from generation to generation as functioning heirlooms, while others have been neglected and are in need of repair. With Vortic’s American Artisan series, they take those timepieces and repair them as needed via reverse engineering, beautifully manufacture new cases and straps, and allow customers to customize one of a kind wristwatches using their incredible online watch builder. Not only was the process easy, but it was a lot of fun. With so many customizable options from case diameter and color, to crown and watch face, it is unlike any other watch-buying experience I’ve had. Below are some photos of Vortic manufacturing and building my watch.
I selected their Chicago model, which is powered by a 1921 Elgin 17 jewel mechanical pocket watch movement. They calibrated the movement to within +/- 14 seconds per day. Not bad for something almost 100 years old. The shipped in a beautifully packaged and crafted wooden box that included a watch certificate and a great informational booklet. The in-house manufactured titanium case was 46mm (12s) with a bronzed finish. Although new, the case has a great patina that matches the aged 1921 original watch face with sweeping second-hand subdial at the 6 o’clock position. I would generally prefer a sapphire crystal, but Vortic did an amazing job to ensure a great fit for the corning gorilla glass crystal that protects the face. In wearing the watch regularly for several weeks, I feel it held up well and will last a long time. The stainless steel back also features a corning gorilla glass crystal that exposes the beautifully restored Elgin movement.
I selected a raw copper knurled crown at the 12 o’clock position instead of the optional 3 o’clock position because I wanted to ensure the crown didn’t dig into the back of my hand. I generally wear watches from 40-43mm in diameter and I wasn’t sure if this 46mm watch would be an issue. While I’m happy with my selection, I don’t feel as if the crown would have bothered me at 3 o’clock. This watch is sized very nicely.
The leather strap is arguably the highest quality strap I’ve owned on any of my watches. All of their straps are manufactured in Largo, Florida and feature band bars instead of the traditional spring bars. It is a subtle feature that adds a lot to the watch. As I stated at the beginning of this article, I am okay with this watch not being tactical because I appreciate the historical value it provides. However, at 1 ATM water resistance, I do wish it was rated at a bit higher. This won’t be a watch I’d take camping or fishing, but for general everyday wear, it is a great addition to my collection. At an average price of $1,195 (varies depending on customization options) this watch is definitely on the higher end for an everyday piece of kit but I value the history, craftsmanship, and style so that it is worth owning.
Vortic has indicated they are working on several additional watch series’, so be on the lookout for those. For you military history lovers there may be something coming your way eventually.