Aug 1, 201208:17 AMThe Telegraph
The Premier Blog of the West
Western Storefront: Montana Watch Company
The Montana Watch Company website reveals how owner and founder Jeffrey Nashan began his career in watchmaking by restoring vintage timepieces, but it doesn’t tell you what first motivated Nashan to try his hand at clockwork: Montana’s harsh winters. “My wife and I built our own house, and I put those skills to use for awhile, but after a few winters working outside I was ready for a change,” says Nashan.
Nashan met a watchmaker through a mutual friend. “Within a week I was fascinated and completely hooked,” he says. He began a traditional apprenticeship, gradually taking on the intricate challenges of restoring vintage American pocket and wristwatches.
Soon disappointed to discover that America’s dominance of the watchmaking industry was a distant memory, Nashan went to work for himself in 1998, establishing The Montana Watch Company. “I told my business partner, ‘Let’s make a watch. We’ll make 100 of them, and if they don’t sell we’ll have some really nice Christmas presents to give away,’ ” he remembers. “But they sold quickly.”
Today he remains the company’s sole watchmaker, but each finished timepiece represents a collaboration with top artisans, from master engravers to leatherworkers. Reflecting an emphasis on traditional craftsmanship, the artisan Montana watches — which have become essential accessories for the likes of high-profile celebrities, football team owners, and U.S. presidents — are all handmade in Livingston, where Nashan has become a local attraction. The master watchmaker can often be seen at work through the window of his store on Main Street. “Sometimes it doesn’t get dark here until 10 at night, and people out walking in the evening stop by to take a look,” he says. “In Montana, that’s almost like being in show business.”