Filson is a stalwart in the made-in-America segment of goods that’s enjoyed prominence for decades. The Seattle, Washington brand has turned their Klondike Rush credibility (earned legitimately by C.C. Filson’s record as a consistent purveyor of quality goods to gold rushers at the end of the 19th century and beyond) toward the garment market with a vengeance in modern years, relying heavily on their heavy fabrics to cater to both rugged outdoorsmen and young professionals alike: a tin cloth that’s fit for metalworking aprons as well as ball caps, and Mackinaw wool for staying warm on a wintry ice fishing outing or on a walk to the subway. The woodsman aesthetic may have simply fallen into their lap in the past few years, but that bit of luck doesn’t preclude them as an example of a great American company keeping diligently with the times.
Their expansion to watches, opened yesterday (January 26) to pre-sale on their website, isn’t a surprise to those who watch the watch world, because the line was announced at the Baselworld convention in April of last year. Their choice of Shinola as the manufacturer of the line shouldn’t be a surprise either; both companies are owned by Bedrock Manufacturing. None of this is to say the watches aren’t a great addition to made-in-America field watches. Along with Shinola, Weiss Watch Co., Bertucci Watch Co. and others, Filson is filling in the market and chiming in on what a modern American watch should look like. And though their guts are in essence exactly the same as Shinola’s (the very same Argonite quartz movements made of Swiss parts, assembled in the very same Detroit factory), the 25 styles in two case designs with a mix of toothed bezels, screw-down crowns, crosshaired dials, straps made of Filson tin cloth and bridle leather, and accented, arrowed seconds hands fit tight with the brand’s beloved style and earnestness as an axe does in a tree notch. Whether their $600-$1,100 price tags are worth it, we won’t yet speak to yet, but look for a review soon.