Reborn Harley-Davidson watch to be sold at auction

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Time piece was born in 1920 as a pocket watch but has been reborn as a wrist watch | Vortic Watch Co. photos

A Harley-Davidson pocket watch from 1920 has been reborn as a one-of-a-kind wrist watch and will be sold at auction to benefit the National Watch and Clock Museum.

“Every watch we make is one-of-a-kind,” R.T. Custer, co-founder of Vortic Watch Company, said in a news release, “but this watch was so special, so unique and had such a classic American story, that we just had to honor and celebrate its heritage in some way.”

According to the Fort Collins, Colorado-based watchmaking company, “The one-of-a-kind watch has been constructed using the original movement (mechanism), dial (face), and hands from the original antique pocket watch.  

Pocket watch components reconditioned and reused in a new wrist-worn case

“The dial features the Harley-Davidson logo along with the brand of the original pocket watch manufacturer, South Bend. Everything inside the watch was manufactured in 1920 in South Bend, Indiana. South Bend was one of the great American watch companies, and manufactured thousands of pocket watches, but only a few were customized like this one.”

According to its news release, Vortic specializes in the rehabilitation of such old pocket watch movements and turns them into one-of-a-kind wristwatches that can be worn and enjoyed. The company restores the original parts and manufactures a modern case from its trademarked 3D-printed titanium engineering technology system.

According to the Vortic website, “Domestically made pocket watches became heirlooms that were passed down through generations, signifying the deep roots of quality manufacturing in America that, while covered with dirt, still exist today.

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“These are the timepieces that were a wedding gift for your great grandfather and a coming-of-age treasure for your grandfather. They are a piece of history, each one telling its own lively tale from a time past. And, they do it in a language that will speak to future generations because the heart of America is built into the bones of each watch. That is why they will continue to tick relentlessly, year after year after year.”

Clock works

Regarding the uniqueness of the original 1920 Harley-Davidson pocket watch, Vortic suggests, “Historians and collectors have speculated that the original pocket watch might have been made for a Harley-Davidson dealership as a special piece for a valued customer.  Another theory is that it may have been altered by the original owner who was likely a Harley-Davidson fanatic. 

“Regardless of the original provenance, it is an iconic piece of American history, and owing to this, Vortic has decided to auction the piece to benefit one of their favorite causes, The National Watch and Clock Museum.”

“We love partnering with Vortic Watch Company,” Tom Wilcox, chief executive of the National Watch and Clock Museum, is quoted in the news release, “because we share a similar mission: preserving American horological history. Their watchmakers and engineers in Colorado did a fantastic job preserving this movement and we’re excited to find it a loving home.”

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Vortic brings new life to old pocket watches

The watch will be on display November 2-4 at the Windup Watch Fair by Worn and Wound in New York City. The online charity auction for the watch begins November 8 on the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors’ eBay page. 

Vortic watches usually are priced between $1,500 and $7,500.

For more information, visit the special webpage that has been created about the watch.

Watch will be sold at auction to benefit museum
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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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