Most people, when we talk about luxury watches or high-end watches, automatically think of Rolex, Omega or Patek Philippe. But there are many good watch brands that are unknown to the vast majority. Brands that manufacture watches of tremendous quality, and that, if they had the reputation of others, their models would be highly demanded and valued.
For this reason, from WatchesNorte we are going to bring you a series of articles talking about these watch brands, from the best known to the least known.
Today we are going to talk about… Wakmann Watch Company.
Icko Wakmann, of Jewish descent, was born in 1895 in Russia. In 1943 he founded his watch company in Portugal, representing several high-end European watch brands.
Being in the heat of World War II, many American watch companies were left in had to adapt to the situation. Its production switched to products for the army, for war requirements, while Swiss watchmakers continued to produce watches. As a result, the United States government decided to support the American watch industry. The Swiss Watch Import Act was created, and the US Department of Commerce. They began to impose customs duties on high-end Swiss imported watches.
Mr. Wakmann realized that this was the opportunity he was looking for to start creating his own watch brand, so he decided to emigrate to the United States.
Wakmann was named an official producer and deliveryman for the United States Armed Forces during World War II. This appointment was a recognition of the excellent quality of Wakmann watches. Wakmann began developing professional timekeeping instruments for the aviation industry, such as cockpit clocks for military and commercial aircraft, and professional wristwatches for pilots.
Association with Breitling
In 1947 it became Breitling’s official import partner in the United States. Wakmann would receive unassembled Breitling watches to assemble and sell in the United States. They would also sell Wakmann watches, made in part or mostly with Breitling parts.
They created the Breitling Watch Corporation of America in New York, a joint venture between the Wakmann Watch Company and the Swiss aviation watch manufacturer Breitling Watch Company.
This relationship continued until the 1980s.
Today, a modern company called Wakmann keeps the name alive and produces Swiss-made watches that focus on the use of tritium lighting. Wakmann watches appear on the vintage market here and there, and while the brand is known for some very nice triple calendar watches, it has a varied catalog.