No doubt, if you’re reading this site, you’re like us. You like watches, specifically mechanical watches, and you love hearing about watches and movements being given new life. Well, Vortic has been doing that for some time, and now they’re teaming up with the Veterans Watchmakers Initiative to train up more watchmakers to keep those old watches ticking.
From their press release:
The Veteran Watchmaker Initiative (VWI) is the only technical school in the United States dedicated to disabled veterans. The small school, started in 2009,Â teaches war veterans the highly skilled art of watchmaking.Â The school is modeled after the Bulova Watch Co. program, which trained disabled veterans for decades after World War II but was shut down in the 1980s when electronic watches became popular.Â However,Â the increasing demand for vintage wrist watches and resurgence of American-made products has led to a skills gap in the trade of watchmaking.Â
Â â€œWhy do we need watchmakers? Watches from the 60s, 70s, and 80s are in demand right now but there are not enough trained watchmakers to fix them,â€ says R.T. Custer, founder of Vortic Watch Company. â€œWe need more people in America with the skills to restore these watches. The Veterans Watchmaker Initiative is teaching these skills and providingÂ a new purpose for our nationâ€™s heroes.â€
To help get attention (and funds) into the VWI program – as well as put its graduates to work – Vortic has created specific Miltary Edition watches. These are created from the “Navigator’s Watch” pocket watches commissioned by what we now call the Air Force in WWII. These watches feature movements restored by watchmakers from the VWI, and straps ade from vintage military canvas bags, black leather, or bomber jacket material.
It’s a great initiative, and I like that Vortic is putting their focus on helping not just the old watches, but helping the men and women who served to pick up new skills and set out on a new and different path in life. For more on the watches and VWI, be sure to check out vorticwatches.com and veteranswatchmakerinitiative.org