Watchmaking is best associated with two countries: Switzerland and Japan. That wasn’t always the case though. Before the Great Depression hit, America had played a much more prominent role in watch manufacturing than it does today. Brillier Watches wants to revitalize American watch production, by bringing manufacturing back to the United States with their new Brillier Americana collection.
“My goal is to bring back the watchmaking culture, full-force by bringing assembly and component production back to the states,” says Kunal Naik, the owner of Brillier Watches. “Because who said the best watch has to be Swiss made?” Brillier is taking a unique approach, with a line that’s inspired by our country’s history. The first chapter in Brillier America’s story is told with “The Native Watch.”
The Brillier Americana Native Part 1 was “inspired by the colorful and culturally rich Native American people.” The dial features hand-set stones which “represent the beauty of the desert and tribal art all kinds.” The cast is made from 316L Surgical Stainless Steel and is 13 mm thick and 43 mm wide. It boasts a Swiss made Ronda 763 quartz movement and a detachable NATO style strap created with American Horween Chromoexcel leather.
Brillier sent Examiner.com a review unit of their Native Watch, and it arrived inside of a hollowed out book. The book featured the first “chapter” of the Brillier Americana story. Inside was a special custom sleeve for the Native Watch to be stored in when not used. Made from American Bison Leather, the sleeve was “handcrafted in Arizona by a local artist named Tony.” The first 100 of these watch sleeves are “limited edition versions” which are hand painted and signed by an artist in Arizona. We thought it fitting that a watch inspired by Native Americans should be stored in an American Bison Leather pouch.
The first thing that you’ll notice about The Native Watch is its stunning dial. According to Brillier, there has “never before” been a dial which “incorporates so many natural stones sliced into a mosaic.” Great attention to detail was taken in carving each of the natural stones, and their layout and choices were made for a reason. It was “created to showcase the stones that represent the beauty of the desert and tribal art of all kinds, the watch features an intricately designed dial made of turquoise, unakite, marble, tiger’s eye and more.”
“Legend has it that turquoise was the result of the rain from the skies and the joyful tears of the people who needed it to survive.” The Native Watch also features blue vein stone and unakite. Unakite “is an important stone for our emotional well being as it brings an unconditional love of humanity, connection and reunion,” according to the Native people of America. Grey marble “represents endurance” and Tiger’s Eye “conveys courage, protection, luck, and wisdom,” according to Indigenous Americans beliefs.
Each and every one of The Native Watch dials are crafted by hand and from “genuine and natural” stone. As such, each dial’s stones are “unique and one-of-a-kind.” The result is a gorgeous work of art. You can’t help but notice the Native American influence even without knowing the backstory behind it. Looking more closely, you’ll notice that the lower portion of the dial’s face represents mountains.
Naturally, the strap of the Native Watch has to be crafted from American leather. Brillier wasn’t content to use just any company’s leather though. “The strap had to look pristine upon arrival, but then age and weather individually to each wearer. It had to stretch and conform to the unique properties of each person’s wrist while being built to take a beating and improve with wear. We searched through hundreds of leather swatches before we found the perfect fit.” Brillier ultimately decided to go with the Horween Leather Company, which has been making leather since 1905. Horween Leather Company is most notable for producing the “leather for footballs used in the National Football League.” For the Native Watch, the strap is made from the company’s Chromexcel leather. It boasts turquoise stitching to match the Native Watch’s stones and metal clasps. The back is emblazoned with the Brillier Americana logo and “USA.” Most importantly though, it feels fantastic.
Water resistant to three atmospheres.
Super comfortable Chromexcel leather strap.
Reliable Ronda 763 quartz movement.
Assembled in the United States.
Final verdict: Five out of five.
With no numbers on its dial, the Native Watch looks much more sophisticated and dressier than it would otherwise. That allows the Native Watch to be worn not just with casual attire but as your main every day watch with business-casual outfits too. Given the colors of the stone, it pairs especially well with blue and brown blazers or suits. We did find it slightly odd that the white paint on the tips of the second, minute, and hour hands weren’t luminescent. The Native Watch is currently available for $495 from Brillier.com.