Naming the RECRUIT vs CADET: Towson’s Small Town Roots as a Specialty Watchmaker

A Towson Watch is a purpose-built instrument for its respective use. The RECRUIT vs CADET was made for trainees in the military seeking an affordable American-made mechanical timepiece. The sources of inspiration around us prompt us to make the wide variety of watches that we do.

The watchmaking industry has small-town roots. When the scene originated about two centuries ago, companies named themselves after the town they were located in. The watchmakers would provide timepieces for their local clientele. Some towns provided better timepieces than others, and over time, customers would begin to travel to other towns to purchase a specific timepiece for their profession or lifestyle back home. This began the world of watch branding. 

The TWC brand originated with an astronaut’s request in 2000 for an American Chronometer that would last on a space mission. Hartwig Balke and George Thomas were the two watchmakers at the time capable of fulfilling such a request. This is why we named Towson Watch Company as such two decades ago. Like our raw handmade approach to the craft, our localized brand name represents what and who we are…a team of artisans in Towson, Maryland making fine timepieces by hand for specific professions and lifestyles. Providing American collectors with a watchmaker in their backyard to take care of their Towson Watch needs for the longevity of their ownership. 

A Towson Watch is a purpose-built instrument for its respective use. The RECRUIT vs CADET was made for trainees in the military seeking an affordable American-made mechanical timepiece. The sources of inspiration around us prompt us to make the wide variety of watches that we do. We always intended for an olive green or Navy-blue field watch to be part of the collections. The Army vs. Navy rivalry comes head-to-head right here in our home state of Maryland every year, but only now has it finally come to fruition. 

Young officers come to our store in Baltimore, MD wanting that handmade American watch, but they often don’t have the means of purchasing a higher-end Towson offering. So, we made this watch to give them access to the same qualities found in the rest of our collections. By naming Recruit and Cadet on the dial, we suggest why and who it was made for. All Towson watches are aspirational pieces, suggesting success and prowess. The RECRUIT vs CADET embraces where its owner is in the development of their career and collection. 

In many ways, our CR250 Field Watch requires use in the field. For the full palette to reveal itself, the timepiece must see the light of the day as the lume coating on the hour markers and hands stores light to glow in the dark. The wearer’s active outdoor-oriented lifestyle produces the intended aesthetic for the timepiece. 

 Hartwig Balke’s vision and design language for the CR250 Field Series are revealed through our deliberate inclusion of the date window. The topic has long been up for debate. Some take the utilitarian stance, claiming that because a watch ultimately serves the purpose as a tool, then the date is a helpful function. Others prioritize the aesthetic function of a fine timepiece, arguing that every element of the dial must remain perfectly symmetrical. For Towson Watch Company, the answer was obvious for the RECRUIT vs CADET. After all, they are tool watches. When in the field for months, a soldier must know the date. 

The CR250 Field Series includes two automatic field-style timepieces with standard hour, minute, sweep-second and date functions. Two different dial colors, ARMY (NATO) green with the inscription "Recruit" and NAVY blue with the inscription "Cadet". Intended for heavy use and seasonal wear. The unusual palette, intricate detailing, and classic design evoke sophisticated taste and quality even when showing evidence of wear from heavy everyday use. Built in such a way that the owner should wish to put it on in the morning without thinking about winding, adjusting the time, or even scratching it during their active lifestyle. Despite the distinct tool-like appearance, a leather strap embellishes the luxurious craftsmanship. Clean lines, hand-finishes, and our in-house pantones allow the instrument to suit formal occasions just as appropriately as it does the field. 

Colorful high-contrast dials spark attention from afar while their layout is utilitarian at heart. The palette and styling aid the classic effect, with the Arabic numerals and bar-shaped luminous hour markers illuminating off the military olive green / navy blue dial background. The sports-oriented dial is complemented by a 42mm stainless steel scratch-resistant case with hand-brushed satin finishes throughout. The bezel is flush in diameter with the case midsection, encapsulating scratch resistant sapphire crystal. An exhibition caseback displays the decorated automatic movement. It is engraved with the CR250 reference number, brand name, USA manufacturer stamp, 5atm depth rating and a unique serial number No.001 - No.250. Hand-stitched Nappa leather straps flow with the high-contrast theme of the dial. Equipped with a single clasp signed with the TWC shield.

Our founders, Hartwig and George, believed in communicating the intentions behind the making of the watch in the final product. Naming the new CR250 Field Series after introductory positions in the military was deliberately chosen as an appropriate measure to take for this reason. The written name on the dial and its respective color marks the sole difference between the Recruit and Cadet. These two names weren’t included for aesthetic purposes. They speak to why the watch was made and why the owner is wearing it. 

With our newest release coming November, nothing has changed in terms of how it’s made. The case is made in collaboration with the same renowned metalsmiths in Germany whom we’ve worked with for 20 years. The Swiss movement components are assembled in-house by master horologists that can calibrate COSC-grade accuracy. The decoration is still applied by our finest artisans. The only difference…any collector or enthusiast of independent mechanical watchmaking can now obtain what we have to offer. A timepiece that caters to sports-oriented collectors, enthusiasts, and professionals that seek high-grade premier watchmaking with intrinsic value. Every component comes together to produce a premium handcrafted feel. This is not a mass-produced consumer item. Each timepiece is built by true watchmakers here in America at the TWC workshop. 

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