Known for founder Josh Shapiro’s remarkable engine-turned “Infinity Weave” dials, the independent watchmaker J.N. Shapiro has now released the first entirely “Made in America” watch since 1969. I was fortunate enough to get my hands on an early prototype of the new timepiece, dubbed the Resurgence, and was unsurprisingly very impressed by the level of finishing and watchmaking.
First, let’s establish just how “Made in America” the J.N. Shapiro Resurgence is. For the prototype that I handled and photographed, 148 of 180 components were done by the J.N. Shapiro workshop here in Los Angeles. Of the remaining 32 components, 19 are jewels that were sourced from Switzerland for the prototype but will be replaced by jewels sourced from Microlap based out of North Dakota. The prototype uses a flat hairspring sourced by Precision Engineering AG which is vibrated and Breguet over-coiled at the J.N. Shapiro workshop. For the production pieces Shapiro has acquired 28,000 feet of .035mm thick hairspring wire from Fort Wayne Metals that they will coil and heat treat at their workshop. The only non-made in America parts will be the sapphire crystal, mainspring, gaskets, and spring bars, though it’s possible Shapiro will eventually find a way to source one or more of these at some point.
The prototype you see here is done in rose gold with a frosted silver white dial but it will also be offered in white gold, Tantalum, Zirconium, and stainless steel options as well as three different design options for the in-house movement. Also of note, the 38mm case features a fully engine-turned caseband which is rarely seen these days.The Resurgence doesn’t just have one plate but rather a multi-layered dial with distinct sectors. This may not sound like a huge deal but milling and finishing these sectors to be perfectly aligned is a painstaking and impressive task. On the outer dial you can see a barleycorn pattern while the inner sectors show off Shapiro’s signature “Infinity Weave” guilloché pattern.
The wavy moiré pattern on the seconds subdial that first had my eye glued to a loupe. It immediately recalled the ubiquitous guilloché pattern seen on the Philippe Dufour Simplicity but more complex and further miniaturized, two points which amplify the skill and talent at play. Josh is not holding back here and it shows. The soft curves on the hour and especially minute hands are so smooth they appear almost naturally formed- something that has been mastered by none other than Laurent Ferrier. Of course, just like with the extra flair added to the seconds subdial pattern, Shapiro couldn’t help but leave his signature on the hands. The way the minutes hand gently pinches inward and then back out with a perfectly pointed end is nothing short of masterful. And then there is the also remarkably smooth curved pinch on the spade-shaped hour hand which recall a slightly elongated version of Roger Smith’s own take on the spade-tipped hand.
The pocket-watch inspired 18,000 vph and an escapement that boasts 14k gold wheels with very special rounded spokes. It comes in three configurations, the first of which you can see on the caseback of the prototype. This is inspired by Touchon & Co pocket watch movements from the early 20th century that were characterized by the winding, curved bridges that seem to almost coil their way towards the escapement. The Damaskeen finishing (what Shapiro refers to as the “American Côtes de Genève) is meticulously done and creates a wave pattern that echoes both the undulation of the bridges as well as the engine-turning on the caseband. You’ll also notice the excellent anglage and three interior angles.
I was also able to see the other two movement configurations, albeit not housed within a case. The second configuration is a more traditional design featuring an organic stemlike bridge design that also has a larger plate that truly allows the waves of the damaskeen finish to come to life as well as featuring seven interior angles. The third option was designed by Michael Rose (one of Shapiro’s watchmakers) and is a very modern, angular design that is characterized by straight lines as well as an impressive fourteen interior angles. The choice of movement is really up to the taste of the buyer and price is equal across all three. If you were wondering what the ARTGS letters on the bridges mean, these are the first letters of the last name of each member of the J.N. Shapiro watchmaking team.
The J.N. Shapiro Resurgence is a milestone for American watchmaking and, with each piece taking 400-500 hours to produce, will come in very limited quantities. Pricing is $70,000 in stainless steel or Zirconium case, $80,000 for Tantalum, and $85,000 for 18k rose gold or 18k Palladium white gold case.
To learn more, visit J.N. Shapiro, here.