The J.N. Shapiro Resurgence brings American craftsmanship roaring backD.C. Hannay
- J.N. Shapiro introduces the first handmade mechanical watch “Made in America” since 1969
- The Resurgence is a love letter to handmade watchmaking, offering a layered guilloché dial, engine-turned mid-case, and damaskeening on the bridges
- Options are plentiful, making each Resurgence unique to its owner
Whenever we talk about the ultra-high end of horology, the discussion inevitably centres around Switzerland and, to a lesser degree, Germany and Britain, but the United States was once a force to be reckoned with, especially considering some of the highly desirable pocket watches created during the heyday of American manufacturing.
Well, there’s a resurgence in American watchmaking afoot, and one of the leading lights in this small but important movement is Josh Shapiro of California’s J.N. Shapiro. Leaving a career in education, Josh began creating handmade dials for watchmakers including David Walter before striking out under his own name with the Infinity Series. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and his small workshop produces some of the most stunning timepieces you’ll likely ever see. And his latest creation, the aptly named Resurgence Series, ups the ante with the dial, case, and movement all made in-house – the jewels, springs, crystals, and straps being the only outside components used.
Shapiro is a strong proponent of traditional techniques, and his finishing skills are in the top echelon of high horology. And you can see it in every aspect, starting with the dials. Utilising a multi-layered construction, the Resurgence features separate sectors that are individually engine-turned in a variety of patterns and precisely aligned to each other, with a refinement level that can be measured down to the micron. Impressive stuff.
Dial options for the Resurgence include a frosted silver white, a dark grey zirconium, and other custom options. Naturally, they’re all stunning, as you can see in Atom Moore’s closeup photography. Dial furniture, including the indices, dimensional spade hands, and delicate chapter rings are also completely hand-crafted, rendered in rose or white gold, along with blued steel and other bespoke colours.
The case is another jaw-dropper, a barrel design that’s 38mm in diameter (other sizes are available), and it also features some rather stunning engine turning (by request) on the mid-case, a feature of fine pocket watches from throughout history. Superfine brushing and polishing on the case angles and lugs creates a playground for light, reflecting in a multitude of ways depending upon your angle of view. Options for case materials include white or rose gold, as well as steel, zirconium, and the notoriously difficult tantalum, the same material found on F.P. Journe’s unobtanium Chronometre Bleu.
You’d better sit down before turning the case over, because you may not be adequately prepared for how achingly beautiful Shapiro’s movement finishing is. Josh is clearly a man who sweats the details, and it shows in every microscopic aspect. The manually wound in-house calibers are easily the equal of the dial-side fireworks, with minutiae that includes rounded spokes on the 14k gold gears, far more difficult to make than standard flat ones. Again, choices are plentiful in making the Resurgence your own, down to the shape and finishing of the bridges.
Shapiro offers three options that range from gently flowing to more angular, and the decoration can be specified as well. The wavy patterns of damaskeening is the American equivalent of Côtes de Genève, and is a specialty of Shapiro’s, but Geneva stripes are also an option. The years of toil perfecting his craft really show, as you can see. As far as specs, the three handwound calibers run at a rate of 18,800VpH, are free sprung, and have hacking seconds.
It’s heartening to see craftspeople like Shapiro working toward bringing fine watchmaking back to the States. Along with names like Roland G. Murphy and Dan Spitz, Shapiro is determined to revive this tradition, and bring it further along for future generations to enjoy. If the Resurgence is any indication of American watchmaking’s prospects, I’d say it’s in good hands.
J.N. Shapiro Resurgence pricing and availability:
The first J.N. Shapiro Resurgence pieces will be available by the end of 2023. MSRP begins at $70,000 (steel) up to $85,000 (18k Palladium White Gold).
|Case Dimensions||38mm (D), other sizes upon request|
|Case Material||White or rose gold, steel, zirconium, and tantalum|
|Water Resistance||Not specified|
|Dial||Multilayered, engine-turned, choice of finishes and colours|
|Movement||In-house handwound, choice of three bridge designs with varied engraving options|
|Power Reserve||Not specified|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, small hacking seconds|
|Availability||Beginning at the end of 2023|
|Price||US$70,000 (steel, zirconium), US$80,000 (tantalum), US$85,000 (white or rose gold)|