Est. 1926 New York
It all began in 1926 with the Weissman Watch Company, a family-owned business on W. 47th Street in New York, New York. They operated as an assembleur — meaning that they imported Swiss watch parts (using the import code WXE) and assembled the watches in the States.
In the 1930s, they began branding the watches under the name "Welsbro." Legend has it that the original name was actually “Weisbro” (for “Weissman” plus “Brothers.”) But the name "WEISBRO" was often misread on the watch dial as "WELSBRO.” According to lore, the name “Welsbro” just stuck.
In the lead up to World War II, wristwatches were growing in popularity and eventually supplanted pocket watches as the timekeeper of choice. As an assembleur, Welsbro kept up with the trends, despite being much smaller than the American watch manufacturers, like Elgin, Hamilton, Bulova, and Illinois. Even as an underdog, they cranked out a huge range of watches and sold them nationwide.
During World War II, Welsbro produced a variety of pilot style chronographs and field watches for American soldiers.
The 1950s saw a continuation of military watches and a proliferation of "fashion watches" for men and women. One of Welsbro's advertising mottos was “For those who want a lot of quality and style without spending a lot.”
1960s - 70s
In the 60s and 70s, sporty watches became more fashionable. Welsbro sold various divers in this period. It's also during this time that Welsbro experimented with various logo marks - including the "roof" logo which you see today.
The final years
Not a ton is known about the end of Welsbro. Their advertising went quiet in the early 70s. Around that time, a lot of small mechanical watch companies went under as a result of the Quartz Crisis, when battery-powered watches entered the market. And just like that, a small American brand was seemingly lost forever.
Re-Est. 2020 Portland
Rich and Katie, a husband and wife (who had recently relocated to Portland, Oregon from New York City), stumbled upon a vintage Welsbro chronograph. Rich was smitten with the watch's design and its New York history. Katie was smitten with the idea of reviving a heritage brand. Combining their talents, they renewed the brand's trademark, assembled an international watchmaking dream team, and set out to make some yummy watches and straps.
Meet Rich and Katie
Rich is the brains behind the watches. By day, he is a professional watch dealer. By night, he is a fiiiiine home cook. His favorite snack is a chocolate chip ice cream sandwich.
Katie is the brains behind the brand. By day, she is an art director at the creative agency, Wieden+Kennedy. By night, she is #1 fan of Rich's fiiiiiine cooking. Her favorite snack is NACHOS! With goopy cheese!
They run Welsbro from their Portland, Oregon kitchen.
Kenkichi is the brains behind the watch design. By day, he is a watchmaker: designing new dials and hand assembling each Welsbro from his workshop in Yamaguchi, Japan. By night, he's into music — techno and electronica are among his favorite genres. His favorite snacks are chocolate and traditional Japanese sweets like kintsuba, dorayaki and daifuku mochi.
Fun fact: both Rich and Kenkichi are sons of watchmakers.
Tony is the boss / unofficial mascot of Welsbro. By day, he is an avid fetcher (despite his blindness). By night, he is an avid sleeper. His favorite snacks are salmon, popcorn or anything that falls on the floor.