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Archive for the ‘Watches & Other Personal Accessories’ Category

Pennsylvania, known for it’s industrial strength manufacturing and workers more apt at swinging a slege hammer than twisting a kobold2precision screwdriver, isn’t exactly what many would associate with luxury watches, but Michael Kobold may change all of that. The Frankfurt, Germany born Kobold, launched Kobold Watch Co. in 1999 and has turned a lot of heads with how quickly it has found success. In fact, some are touting Kobold watches as being of the same quality as a Rolex and other prestigious Swiss brands. Part of Michael Kobold’s secret is that he uses the same parts suppliers as his Swiss counterparts. Kobold served as an apprentice in Europe to a well known, Swiss watch maker – that experience earned him a few good connections and the right to purchase high-end parts from Europe – not to mention a crash course in high end watch making.

Kobold also may have received a bit of a lucky break when James Gandolfini, the no-nonsense star of the Sopranos, ordered a few for his personal use and agreed to allow his photo to be used in marketing material.  Mr. Gandolfini doesn’t advertise many products – especially ones that he doesn’t wear or use.   Kobold watches also benefit from exclusivity – they only assemble 2,500 a year – creating scarcity (Kobold went to Carnegie Mellon in Economics – he’s well-schooled in the idea of scarcity).  What stands out the most though about Kobold Watch Co. is how successful they’ve been – I don’t think many people would have given them a chance in hell on paper, but I suppose they’re under estimating Michael Kobold and the value of a well made product.

Company Website

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W.R. Case & SonsIn a day and age where you are more likely to find a iPod, cell phone, and USB drive in someone’s jeans pocket than a knife, W.R. Case still manages to produce and sell the same high quality, handcrafted knives that made it a famous at the turn of the previous century.  The Case brothers originally started selling handcrafted knives off of the back of wagon in upstate New York in 1889.  By 1905, the company was recognized as the premier knife company in the U.S. when the relocated their company to Bradford, Pa.  Soon after, the company was called upon by the Government to produce knives for servicemen and women during World War I.  According the company’s website, Dwight D. Eisenhower was one of the many famous avid collectors of Case knives.  Perhaps, on one of his many fishing trips to Pennsylvania or on a visit to his brother at Penn State is where the former President became enamoured with Case knives.  Case knives are a great piece of Americana and a great piece of Pennsylvania history.  W.R. Case knives are manufactured primarily in Bradford and are 100% American made.

 

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Perhaps, most famous for the distinctive clicking noise it makes when being opened, the Zippo lighter is still being made in Bradford, Pennsylvania. The company was established in the 1930′s and still stands by its lifetime guarantee.  In a time when flimsy plastic products have edged out built-to-last products – Zippo still manufacturers its click style, last-a-lifetime, metal plated lighters.  The lighters are still made with flint and wicks, but the company has also created a butane line to keep pace with the industry.  According to the company’s website, the Zippo lighter was named as one of the top 100 products.  Its easy to see why Pennsylvanians are proud of this company.  Take a moment to browse the company website or visit the very popular museum.  Company Website.

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