An American Original | Independent Watch Brand

ABOUT

For over two decades, Towson Watch Company has pioneered American watchmaking with a specialized approach to the craft. Offering premium horological craftsmanship at a fair and accessible price. Our timepieces are designed and built in Towson, Maryland by the hands of our Co-Founder, Hartwig Balke, and his apprentices. Strictly using the highest-grade German and Swiss components that have been made exclusively for Towson watches. Every reference model seen on our website is limited to 100 individually-numbered timepieces. Order one on this website today to join the TWC family & registry. 

history

In 2000, Towson Watch Company was founded by two master watchmakers, George Thomas and Hartwig Balke. Among Thomas’s horological accomplishments was the restoration of the world’s oldest known signed and dated watch from 1530. The watch belonged to Phillip Melanchton, an associate of Martin Luther. He also restored the world’s smallest watch made in 1860 for the Czar of Russia. George has made 4 tourbillon watches, 3 of which are in the NAWCC museum in Pennsylvania as well as a Carousel watch also in the museum. There are few craftsmen left in the world like Thomas capable of making a complete watch from scratch, part by part.

Hartwig Balke was a German-born engineer and designer. For a substantial period of his professional life, Balke worked for companies which focused on oil-rig blowout prevention and dust filtration systems. In 1989, Balke moved to the United States to open a subsidiary of a German hoist manufacturer – another company in the oil industry. Establishing the need to be near an active seaport, the move landed him in Baltimore. He made his first wrist chronograph with Thomas in 1999. It was worn in outer space during the first mission in the new millennium, the STS-99 Mission. This commissioned project launched the TWC brand and its signature Mission, Chesapeake, and Master’s Collections. Hartwig has since been mentoring our young apprentices in the TWC workshops, passing down his techniques, rare tools and high standards for the craft.

Hartwig Balke in the TWC workshop

Under Armour founder, Kevin Plank, purchased Towson Watch Company a decade after its founding. This investment allowed us to standardize our unique handmade production and develop signature collections. The company is now operated and owned by Spencer Shattuck. The new era has continued to lay down the foundation for growth that Under Armour started, expanding the apprenticeship program and increasing in-house capabilities while retaining the premium quality that our co-founders became noteworthy for. Hartwig Balke continues to run the TWC workshops today as the senior executive watchmaker and apprenticeship instructor.


In 2020, Towson watches were made exclusively available for purchase on the official website or the showroom in Baltimore, MD. We pulled out of our retailers and shifted to a direct-to-consumer model to foster stronger customer relationships with a lifetime warranty and continue our handmade, personalized approach to the craft of watchmaking. Little Treasury Jewelers is now the exclusive authorized retailer for Towson Watches outside of our direct-to-consumer locations, which includes this website and our showroom. 

In 2022, Antonio Vespoint, Trained goldsmith and a recent graduate of the TWC Watchmaking Apprenticeship Program, now serves as the lead daily watchmaker. After serving hundreds of hours during 2021-2022 at the TWC workshop learning and familiarizing himself with our unique approach to the craft, Antonio is now capable of completing final assembly and testing himself. A vital asset to the TWC team going forward.







CHESAPEAKE

Dedicated to our local heritage in American innovation, with each timepiece materializing a source of inspiration drawn from the Chesapeake’s nautical and industrial roots. A collection of reference models that encompasses a contemporary treatment of tradition in various horological categories. The catalog is diverse, yet tied together through classic design, formal finishing, and premium handmade quality.

MISSION

A collection of tool-watches dedicated to Towson's first ever STS-99 chronograph worn in outer space. Purpose-built instruments characterized by superb engineering, premium craftsmanship, and formally bold design. The Mission and Mission Moon are now on their second commercial series. Limited to 100 timepieces each, having an engraved exhibition caseback with the M250-2 or MM250-2 reference number, serial number (No.1-100), brand signature and depth rating. All models can be made-to-order with the following custom options : silver or black tachymeter , rhodium or gold hands, and a leather strap.

NASA's Commander Thiele wearing the first ever TWC MIssion Chronograph


THE MASTER'S COLLECTION

The Master’s Collection encompasses TWC’s most elaborate and intricate timepieces. Each model was derived from our founding watchmaker’s goals or their personal collections. Hartwig, George and Benzinger each wanted a piece commercially available in the TWC Collections that spoke to their unique identity as a designer and watchmaker.







Ickler gmbh - casemaker

Every part of a Towson-Ickler steel case is developed in Towson and manufactured in Germany. Collaboration and communication occurs at each step. This includes - design, construction, prototyping, parts, production, surface finishing/treatment, laser engraving, assembly, and quality control. Ickler’s experienced craftsmen use the latest high-tech CNC machinery, guaranteeing ultimate precision. When it comes to polishing the surfaces, assembling parts, completing watches, and thorough quality control, the watchmakers in Towson set the highest priority in human touch and intuition. The cases are crafted in-house, from solid blocks of stainless steel, pure titanium, 18 carat gold or platinum. We rely on a hardening process that involves the chemical incorporation of carbon into stainless steel. Generally speaking, the great advantage of such techniques is the fact that no layer is applied onto the steel that could possibly spall at a later point. 


CADOR GMBH - DIALMAKER

Towson watch dials and hands are made with Cador GmbH in Switzerland. Mechanical production, electroplating, painting and printing all occur in-house at our collaborative workshops. Mechanical production includes stamping, embossing, welding, turning, diamond cutting, grinding and polishing. Then the CNC machine is used for drilling, milling, engraving and guilloche. We also have a CNC-measuring machine to deliver high accuracy. The electroplating stage includes the manifold surface treatments, like brushing and sandblasting. As for the paint shop, we use different types of paint and coatings. Transparent lacquers protect galvanic surfaces from oxidation and we create completely new possibilities through the addition of pigments. Full tones are mixed according to Pantone. The tampon printing and screen printing process are put into effect in air-conditioned and under clean room conditions.


JOCHEN BENZINGER - ENGRAVING SPECIALIST

One of Hartwig's close friends going back to his early professional years as an engineer in Germany. Now known as one of the best dial-makers and guilloche artists in the world. During their early years of working in the craft, Hartwig would focus on the engineering of the case, George would obtain that COSC accuracy, and Jochen would apply his decorative mastery. We use Benzinger today largely for the Master’s Collection when working with sterling silver dials and skeleton movements.

PROPRIETARY SWISS MOVEMENTS

We work with our movement-maker in Switzerland to offer COSC-grade accuracy and highest-grade decoration. We design and assemble each component based on the standard ETA caliber. We then modify the structure and layout to fit our cases and intended utilities. All decoration, assembly, quality-control and testing occurs in-house.







lifetime warranty

Registered TWC timepieces with a reference number and serial number engraved on the back have a lifetime warranty. We encourage owners to send their TWC timepiece directly to us at any moment servicing or repair is deemed necessary. We will attend to it and have it shipped back to you within two weeks. This service is complementary. 

Every watch reference listed on the “shop page” of this website is currently available for purchase. Orders are typically fulfilled within one week of payment. Shipments are insured and require a signature. All orders include a wooden box, manual, signed warranty page, leather travel pouch, and an additional leather strap. 








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