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AN AMERICAN WATCH COMPANY

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Over 2 years ago when we started Smith and Bradley, we launched with one watch, the Atlantis diver. After months of research and development we produced a watch that blended form and function and helped establish our place in the market. Two years later we are commemorating our first edition of the Atlantis with the new American-built Dive watch. This is a watch that combines classic diver styling with hand built Smith & Bradley construction and design elements. Like all of our automatic offerings the Atlantis is hand built in Sidney, Illinois, and features the venerable ETA 2824-2 movement. The Atlantis has been a work in progress for nearly a year as we perfected the design and build in order to commemorate our company's two year anniversary.   The Atlantis american-built dive watch is the cornerstone of the Smith & Bradley line. When we launched with the original Atlantis 2 years ago we spent months and development researching the best movement in case is available to deliver a high-quality watch at a reasonable price.  In order to achieve this goal, we turned to our loyal backers on Kickstarter to help us develop an Atlantis automatic dive watch that was fully built at our shop in Sidney, Illinois.  While the new production Atlantis has many upgrades from the Kickstarter Atlantis, it stays true to its design roots. On the way to successfully funding on Kickstarter the Atlantis was fortunate enough to gain recognition from numerous watch blogs, and even graced the cover of Recoil Magazine. The Atlantis that we delivered to our backers on Kickstarter truly embodies our dedication to build quality and high precision construction, and we were totally pleased with the results. Despite the success, we were not done perfecting the Atlantis watch. Based on significant input from our backers, and tireless design and refinement, we have launched the new and upgraded Atlantis American-built dive watch on our website and with selected retailers. We made many upgrades from our Kickstarter offering, and are now proud to offer to the general public a truly unique and beautiful watch that blends form and function. The Atlantis is a totally original design perfected by Jerommie Smith, and is totally built from the bottom up at our shop in Sidney Illinois.  It features a full 316-L bead blasted stainless steel case, dual coded anti-reflective sapphire crystal, and a 100% original and custom designed bead blasted stainless steel band manufactured specifically for the Atlantis. As is our custom, we have sourced the components for the Atlantis from across the globe from Germany, to Switzerland, to Hong Kong, to the USA.  As we have expressed in the past we decided to build all of our automatic offerings onsite in the USA because it allowed us a level of control that is simply not attainable when production takes place at an off site facility. We construct the band ourselves we build the watch ourselves and we service and guarantee the watch ourselves. American built is more than a marketing slogan, and we are dedicated to providing our customers with the highest level of American quality at a reasonable price and with versatile and beautiful designs. While there are numerous  important upgrades and design changes between our Kickstarter Atlantis and our production Atlantis, the primary changes are as follows. First and foremost the Swiss ETA 2824-2 automatic movement rather than the Seagull st 2130 movement is used.  No doubt the Seagull movement its sturdy, accurate and dependable, but we felt that using a Swiss ETA movement would increase the level of movement quality to that commensurate with our level of finish and build quality. We have bead blasted each case of the Atlantis dive watch to provide increased durability and a smooth, subtle, and understated look. The case back of the production Atlantis has changed as well. The new case back is fully engraved rather than laser engraved, and a thinner case back is used than the Kickstarter case back which we found streamlines the watch and makes it more comfortable for wear. Our production Atlantis also includes a solid 316 L stainless steel bracelet that we designed specifically for the watch. This provides increased durability and performance while also adding to the overall weight and balance of the watch.     More subtle yet substantial refinements include knurling on the crown and a more sophisticated 3 O-ring sealing system for the screw down crown to ensure perfect watertight performance. Additionally rather than a painted bezel, we opted for a stainless steel embossed bezel on our production level Atlantis. These  changes were the results of our quest to provide the best timepiece to our consumers at a reasonable price and where do in large part from the feedback which we received from our Kickstarter backers whom we credit substantially with the end result. Check out the Atlantis for yourself.
These are some busy time for Smith & Bradley.  We are working on a variety of strong custom designs.  This is highlighted by the strong Kickstarter campaign from Throne watches with their first watch.  Known for their vintage and eclectic designs and handmade American leather straps, Throne designed an awesome watch that we facilitated and funded on Kickstarter.     We are also in the middle of an amazing campaign on our own with the Ambush Digital Analog watch.  We have already funded, and now we are closing in on our first stretch goal.  Thanks to all of our backers.  Check out the project on Kickstarter. Oh yeah, it is AR-15 inspired.  Finally, we have introduced a new line of Swiss Quartz powered Atlantis watches.  The Rogue Edition and the Stainless Steel Atlantis Quartz.  These beautiful and rugged watches are both affordable and high-performance.  The Rogue Edition is available with a custom waterproof box.   In keeping with the Smith & Bradley Tradition, all of these offerings are American Built in our Sidney, IL workshop.
Smith & Bradley is a full service premium watch manufacturer and maintenance facility headquartered in Winter Park, Florida USA. Every timepiece in the Smith & Bradley collection is built to proprietary specification onsite by local engineers.  For routine service and repair we do not ship your watch to an unqualified third party contractor to perform our work. The same artisan hands that built your watch also expertly care for it.  In addition, Smith & Bradley inventories all replacement parts for your timepiece in house ensuring they meet our original OEM performance and durability requirements. If you are in need of a minor adjustment or an entire rebuild Smith & Bradley guarantees the highest quality control standards are applied.All Smith & Bradley watches carry a comprehensive 2 year material defect warranty if purchased from us or an authorized dealer.  To open a service or warranty claim ticket please email service@smithbradleyltd.com and include your name, phone number, watch model and message to our team.  A Smith & Bradley representative will promptly reply.
Pictures are Worth 1000 Words, See how our year unfolded in 2013. In March of 2013 Smith & Bradley Finalized a Deal to support Gray Gaulding Racing.     Smith & Bradley worked with Gray directly to develop the Gray Gualding Limited Edition Atlantis.   In early 2013 Smith & Bradley released the Raid Chronograph in a limited run of 50 pieces.  The Raid has been retired as all pieces are sold out.  It featured a PVD coated 316 L stainless steel case and bracelet and a Miyota Japanese Chronograph movement.  We continue development on our next chronograph model.     In the late summer of 2013, Style Newport, the renowned nautical jewelry design house in Newport Rhode Island chose Smith & Bradley to assist in building its first watch venture, The Newport.  The nautically inspired dive watch is true blend of form and function and a the result of a Style Newport's head designer Karen King.    In July the Sans-13 was launched on Kickstarter and ended 250% funded.  This tactical workhorse took almost a year to develop and is based upon head designer Jerommie Smith's law enforcement experience.  In November of 2013 the Sans-13 watches were delivered to backers. In November of 2013 Smith & Bradley announced its Discounts for Heroes program offering 25% discounts for all members of law enforcement and military, present or retired.  Firefighters are eligible as well.  Send an email for the necessary discount code to ryan@smithbradleyltd.com.  In November of 2013, Smith & Bradley celebrated Gray Gualding's win in Phoenix at the K&N West Casino Arizona 50. Finally, in late December we launched the newest Kickstarter project, the Atlantis.  The Atlantis is an American Built Automatic dive watch that is designed and built right in our shop in Sidney Illinois. For a year in review check out the News and Reviews section.
We have had some questions as to why we decided to design and build the Springfield Classic Field watch and launch it on Kickstarter for the reasonable price of $159.00.  So here is our explanation. (Click the Kickstarter logo to back the project now) Both of our fathers and grandfathers had classic American watches. Growing up we admired these pieces in hopes that one day they would be ours. That hope became a reality and served as the fundamental groundwork for our company Smith and Bradley. Since the end of 2012 we have been designing and building watches at our Sydney Illinois workshop in the hopes of outfitting a new generation of watch lovers with traditional quality time pieces that blend form and function. Along the way we noticed a somewhat disturbing trend. A handful of watch companies, most with a very good product and excessive marketing budgets, began selling the classic American field watch, for high prices often in excess of $1,000. Without a doubt the field watch of generations past, while not sacrificing quality, were far less expensive and therefore more attainable. In designing our latest Kickstarter project, the Springfield, we called on this history. The Springfield case is crafted from a solid 316 L stainless steel block and includes a unique domed sapphire crystal and a rock solid Swiss movement. Each watch is built in our Sidney Illinois workshop and are finished with an American Cordura strap. While this is a simple watch with a simple design, the goal which we are trying to achieve is far more complicated in today's luxury watch market--a solid watch at an affordable price. We've launched Springfield on Kickstarter at the staggeringly low price of $159. We believe that all men and women deserve a solid American watch and the Springfield is the watch that they deserve. Please take a moment to visit our Kickstarter campaign and back the Springfield so that classic American watch making can survive for generations to come.
We have been hard at work for the last few months. We recently wrapped up the Ambush Kickstarter Project and are busy in the building process to deliver to all of our backers.  At the same time, we have been growing and expanding our American hand-built automatic watch line with the Atlantis Automatic, and Rogue.  We were fortunate to be recognized by two publications as one of America's top watch brands as well.  We are thrilled to be included in the same article as many of the other companies.       At the same time this fall the Sans-13 continued to develop its cult following in the tactical and outdoor community.  In fact, the PVD Sans-13 has appeared on the wrist of Terry Schappert.  (By the way his opinion on recent events in the Middle East is great as well) The Dude You're Screwed start is a newly-formed Smith & Bradley fan and loves his watches.  He is providing the Sans-13 with a field workout that very few watches could ever imagine.  Check out more about Terry on Discovery. 
The Ambush, the third watch that we launched on Kickstarter, successfully funded on September 11, 2014.  Once again we were blown away by the support for the project.  Like all Kickstarter projects, the page is still live, so you can check out the project, but we wanted to tell a little bit about the build plan for the project. At Smith & Bradley, we pride ourselves on our build quality and the fact that we take the time to build our watches at our Sidney, Illinois workshop.  While we love American business, and do everything that we can to support the American-Made cause, there is also a good reason for us to assemble the Ambush in-house.  Quality control and familiarity.  We will be handling all of the service on the watch, and we want to guarantee the build quality.  At the end of the day, nobody cares about assembling our watches properly more than we do. We designed the Ambush from the ground up--from the white board, to the electronic renderings, to the molds and mock-ups.  Given the complexity of the movement and the design, we have sourced the watch from all over the world.  In order to find the perfect combination for the Ambush, we receive custom crystal from Switzerland, steel from Germany, and straps from the USA.  Of course the heart of the watch is a Swiss movement.  When each piece arrives at our shop, we inspect it for quality, and the build process begins.  Recently we acquired some new build stations, and are expanding our operation.  Stay tuned for pictures soon. From initial quality control, to final inspection of the finished product, the Ambush takes well over an hour to build. We set the hands to the dial, and assemble the watch top-to-bottom. After assembly, the work is not complete.  We pressure test our watches and package them up ourselves. It is truly a labor of love, but one we know makes each Smith & Bradley watch a worthwhile tool. 
The watch industry has changed forever.  The proliferation of so called "micro-brand" watches has permeated every watch forum, review site, and Facebook group.  Additionally, a weekly search of Kickstarter or Indiegogo will reveal a new watch product going live at a staggering rate. We are existing at the height of a watch bubble. Just as we learned from experiencing the tech bubble of the early 1990's and the housing bubble of 2008-2010, irrational exuberance (I am borrowing the phrase form Mr. Greenspan) has taken over, and is running a muck in the watch industry.  We learned the hard way when government policy embraced the notion that "every American deserves a home" and similarly, in the watch world, it is beginning to look like industry is expounding the notion "everybody deserves to start a watch company." While the explosion of creativity across the mid to low end watch market has been impressive and entertaining, one must question whether or not there is enough room in this segment of the market to all for all these companies to share a piece of the pie.  Put another way, just how many Miyota 9015 dive watch options need to appear on crowdfunding platforms and watch forums before every person with wireless and the ability to use Skype and Alibaba will own a watch company? Much of the creation of this watch bubble stems from social media and crowdfunding, but also from the increasing desire of millennials to strive for individuality and luxury in a notoriously stuffy watch market. The same forces that are behind the gentrification of urban neighborhoods are behind the inflation of the watch bubble. The major problem with these Kickstarter watch companies or second-job start-ups is not that that they offer an inferior product, but that they over value their own designs and do not have adequate facilities to service the watches that they have built over seas and therefore have to outsource the warranty work or worse yet, send their wounded watches back to China.  Without a strong infrastructure to handle warranty work and service, it is difficult to have a true watch company.   Will all of the micro-brand watch companies importing and selling non-OEM designs as their own survive for a year or become a legitimate company?  Probably not, but this is the upside of the watch bubble.  The companies in the micro brand space today that embrace original design and actually build their watch and perform their own service can survive and become major players in the low to medium priced watch market which the major international brands have easily dominated in the past.  The major take away from the impending watch bubble is to dig deep into the company that makes the watch and make sure they will be able to go the distance.    
Unless you live in certain parts of the Artic, it will get dark almost every day of your life.  During these dark hours, time continues to move on, and conventional watch hands remain unseen. In order to be able to use your watch when the lights go out, whether in the field or not, finding the proper lume is a must.  While some watches and watch manufacturers actually use built-in lights (Think Timex Indiglo) these solutions only work in battery powered quartz models.  This is ofter called the "electrical" variety of lighting your watch.  If you own a mechanical watch, you are still "left in the dark."   For mechanical, and most analog watches there are essentially two solutions: luminous paint applied to the hands, dial, and bezel, or in some cases, tiny vials of radioactive compounds or "gas".   In regards to luminous paint, there are a number of different companies supplying the paint, and varying levels of quality.  On our Atlantis, for example, Smith & Bradley specifies uses high quality Phosphorescent paint.  All luminous paints are essentially photo luminescent compound that absorbs light and then gives it off over a period of time.  The paint absorbs the light and "stores" the light causing it to illuminate in the dark. In regards to luminous paint, the quality of the paint, application, and the thickness of application (among other things) all have an effect on the resulting product.  Therefore, after "charging" the luminous paint in sunlight or under a synthetic ultra violet light, certain watches will stay illuminated for varying periods of time.  All painted hands and dials, however, will only stay lit for a limited amount of time with well-lummed varieties lasting nearly 12 hours and lower-end lummed watches lasting only minutes.   Finally, some watches use radioactive compounds on the watch dial and hands to illuminate the watch. Thesesubstances are called radio-luminescent. These compounds have isotopes selected are typically strong emitters of fast electrons (beta radiation), preferred since this radiation will not penetrate an enclosure. Radioluminescent paints will glow without exposure to light until the radioactive isotope has decayed (or the phosphor degrades), which may be many years. They are therefore sometimes referred to as "self-luminous". Watches that fall into this category can keep their lume ofter times for many years. Initially, these radio-luminescent compounds were hand painted onto watches. This practice was in use in the early part of the 20th Century until the 1940's. The initial substances used was Radium 226. The factory girls that handled the Radium grew very ill in the 1920's and 1930's and the practice was discontinued. Now the primary radioactive substance is tritium. In order to prevent a re-occurrence of the “Radium Girls “ of the 1930's, the tritium is stored in small glass vials that are place into the dial.    Smith & Bradley will be introducing tritium into its forthcoming field watch in May of 2013. Keep checking Facebook and www.smithbradleyltd.com for details.
There was a time when the United States Army issued the same watch to each soldier.  These days are over.  All United States soldiers are not issued the same watch.  In fact, it may be surprising to learn that in most situations, members of the military in the US have the option to wear a wide variety of watches in the field and in tactical situations.  Usually this decisions is made individually by the Unit.  The one thing that all real military watches have in common, however is that they are all built to military specifications of various standards.   There are many different types of watches that tout the banner of "military watches."  Most of these pieces are simply design-driven and created for the sole purpose of moving as many units as possible and keep up with a trend.  There are actually fashion designers now that are selling "military inspired" watches that are as useful in the field as the packaging that the watch came in.  With so many impostors how can you tell if you have a real mil-spec watch? Generally, these information regarding military specification will be published very clearly on the case back of the watch.  Additionally, on the front of the watch there are some symbols to look for.  For excellent photographs of a variety of military watches spanning at least 50 years visit http://home.earthlink.net/~brendo81/46374.html which outlines many different military specifications.   It is important to note that various countries have different "military specifications" and therefore when buying a watch it is vital to double check what specifications are being used. On most modern military specification watches you will see the designation: MIL-PRF-46374G. In order to publicize this designation, the watch is subjected to testing, usually at an outside lab.  Testing centers on reliability and durability on simulated conditions.  The guidelines for the testing are set out in the military specifications.   Believe it or not, the military has various levels of military specification.  Generally, watches are characterized by type and class.  Type ranges from disposable Type I pieces to Type III that have a rotating bezel, extreme water resistance and are designed to last 5-10 years.  Classes of military watches range from Class I to Class IV based on the movement of the watch with Class one watches coming with pre-loaded battery-operated movements and Class IV containing automatic movements.   Smith & Bradley has been hard at work on research and development of our military field watch that will comply to military specifications.  With a full tritium dial, Highest grade Swiss quartz movement, and ion coated stainless steel case, the military field watch will make a huge impact in the field.  Keep on the lookout for the watches on Facebook and on Kickstarter.    A Modern Mil-Spec Case back. 

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