American Timepiece Brand Wilbur Has Big Plans for the Swiss: Begins With Launch Edition

Launch Edition (JWA) 16 photos
Photo: Wilbur
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A new American timepiece brand is running loose on the market. While you may or may not have heard of Wilbur, it is time to do so. After all, it's not every day that a company creates watches built on automotive sport R&D, pleasing the Swiss in the process.
Everyone knows just how difficult it may be to give Swiss watchmakers and lovers of timepieces something to talk about. Well, Jason Wilbur, an American mind with an exceptional automotive and design background, achieved this same effect around 10 years ago, landing him great consideration for the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Geneve.

But what's been going on over the past decade? Well, I'll tell you what's been going on, a hermit, working hard, day and night, probably forgetting to eat, only to come out of his R&D cave with a mouthwatering lineup of timepieces that are proudly built right here in the U.S. Time to see what's in store from an American brand that has been revered by the Swiss.

Three timekeeper styles are shown on the Wilbur website, but only one is currently available for purchase, the Launch Edition. However, the future will be changing all that. But, that doesn't mean that everyone is limited to the same timepiece. There are five variations for the Launch Edition, but the most expensive models are already sold out, including the $6,250 (€6,150 at current exchange rates) JWB SS CR1.

Nonetheless, the JWA and JWB are still available for those who want to support this modern American brand, and best of all, both pieces will cost you $2,700 (€2,650) and are limited to 250 each. Yes, only you and 250 other folks will ever own the same watch. The more expensive styles are limited to 20 or less, hence why they're gone.

Launch Edition \(JWA\)
Photo: Wilbur
But what makes them tick? Get it, tick? What you'll be strapping to your wrist is a 44-millimeter case and bezel with a wonderfully enclosed crown. What's neat about the case is that it's built from nine parts and uses sapphire crystals to allow for impeccable anti-reflective clarity. Each case is also hand-finished, so it'll be a unique piece nonetheless.

Case aside, it's time to reveal a bit about the movement inside these buggers. Since the Swiss don't give up their goods that easily, the Launch uses a Japanese Seiko NH-35A automatic movement with 24 jewels. However, Wilbur has modified it to their liking and is running at 21,600 BPH with a 41-hour power reserve.

Now, all that aside, just take a moment and really let this timepiece soak into your visual cortex. The steel case, secured and fastened with black screws, and highlighted by a black crown, sits in wait for a watch face embellished with a floating hour and minute ring, only to be chased down by quick hands until the end of time. If you need to know what date it is, that feature is available too. Essential details like minutes, hours, and the date are highlighted with a crisp color tone based on the model chosen, so make sure you comb through the available options.

Launch Edition \(JWA\)
Photo: Wilbur
Some final details you should know about are found on the backside of the timekeeper. Aside from being able to see a tad of the movement, the words "Designed In California" and "Race Fuel Only" can be seen cradling "Wilbur" and "Launch" underneath. You'll also be reminded of how quickly you acted in owning the Launch Edition by an "X Of 250" in between the strap lugs. Oh, 100 meters of water depth, and the piece should still be fine.

While exploring the Wilbur brand, I noticed that there are more watches lined up for this year, and we'll be sure to cover those as well. In the meantime, if you see something that rocks your grey matter, don't be afraid to ask Wilbur if they're willing to build an extra timekeeper from the ones sold out; if the price is right, I'm sure you folks can work something out.

I think you should keep an eye on this team and what they have in store for the future because it's not every day that you see an American brand living up to Swiss standards of accuracy and design. I say this because although the Launch Edition features a Seiko movement, what Wilbur has in store are genuine Swiss articles. Better start putting aside some of your paycheck each month.

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Editor's note: Images in the gallery showcase the JWA and JWB models of the Launch Edition.

About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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