Known for founder Josh Shapiro’s remarkable engine-turned “Infinity Weave” dial, independent watchmaker J.N. Shapiro has now released the first completely “Made in America” watch since 1969. I was lucky enough to get my hands on an early prototype of the new watch, dubbed the Resurgence, and was not surprised However, I am very impressed with 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 sub-dial first got me glued to the magnifying glass. It is immediately reminiscent of the popular guilloché pattern seen on the Philippe Dufour Simplicity but is more complex and further scaled down, two points that amplify skill and talent at play. Josh didn’t hold back here and it showed. The soft curves of the hour and especially the minute hands are so smooth that they look almost naturally formed – something that was mastered by none other than Laurent Ferrier. Of course, just like the sophistication added to the seconds sub-dial pattern, Shapiro couldn’t help but leave his signature on the watch’s hands. The way the minute hand gently presses in and then pulls out with a perfectly pointed tip is nothing short of amazing. And then there’s also the noticeably smooth curve on the spade-shaped hour hand, reminiscent of Roger Smith’s slightly elongated version of the spade-tipped hour hand.
The pocket watch inspired by the 18,000 vph and escapement features a 14k gold wheel with very distinctive round spokes. It comes in three configurations, the first of which you can see on the back of the prototype. This was inspired by the Touchon & Co pocket watch movements from the early 20th century, which were characterized by sinuous, sinuous bridges that seemed to almost roll their way towards the escapement. The finishing of the Damaskeen (which Shapiro calls “American Côtes de Genève) is meticulously executed and creates a wave pattern that echoes both the undulations of the bridges as well as the rotating engine on the strap. You’ll also notice the excellent edge and three interior corners.
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.