Pete Brown said his search to buy a watch led him to launch his own company.
Brown founded Hager Watches in 2009. Late last month, about 20 people, including Mayor Robert E. Bruchey and other business and government leaders, attended a ribbon-cutting as Brown formally opened his first showroom at 36 S. Potomac St., Suite 204.
“We really appreciate your confidence in the city of Hagerstown,” Bruchey told Brown.
Brown, a military veteran, said he began shopping for a quality watch after his broke while he was deployed in Iraq.
“I started looking around at the different higher-end watches,” he said, and he thought many of them could be much more affordable.
He learned a lot about the watch business along the way. He said he has been able to incorporate high-quality movements into his designs and offer watches at prices lower than many of his competitors.
The company also is getting some attention. Esquire magazine, for example, mentioned Hager Watches in a 2015 article, “Still Ticking: 6 American watch brands every man must know.”
“Previously only available to employees of the CIA, Hager watches meld Swiss reliability with top-notch American manufacturing and assembly to produce killer tool watches that don’t break the bank,” the magazine wrote.
Brown said there is room for heirloom-type timepieces in an era of smartwatches and cell phones.
“It’s a totally different market segment,” he said. “A watch is something a dad hands down to his son. … It’s an emotional product. It tells a story of you.”
Brown said he has other goals in addition to opening the Hagerstown showroom. He said he would like to see the start of a watchmaking school and the revival of watch-movement manufacturing in the United States.
Hager Watches is open by appointment. Visit www.hagerwatches.com for information.