Brand Directory: Wakmann Watch Company

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Icko Wakmann founded Wakmann Watch Company running the business out of Portugal in 1943 as a distributor of luxury watch brands. He then moved to the US to avoid the tragedies happening in Europe. Opening up at Fifth Avenue 452, New York in 1946, and in 1947 they were listed on the US Stock Exchange. Previously his company ran In New York, he had his own technical workshops where he could process and design his own watches and became an important importer and distributor of watches to the US. During the war years, he manufactured aircraft cockpit clocks to US military specifications and was an official US military supplier. In 1947 Wakmann joined forces with Breitling, forming the Breitling Watch Corporation of America (BWCA) with Icko Wakmann as the company president. Developed their business in importing and from then on co-branded its cock-pit clocks used by the US military and US civilian aircraft. At this time changes to the Import Act in the US meant Wakmann acted as a US-based “assembler”, where he imported incomplete watches and incomplete movements using their workshops; he assembled these timepieces on US soil and was able to avoid the added tax cost per unit which kept their distribution competitive. During the 1950s and 1960s Wakmann produced chronographs and multi-purpose technical watches for engineers, and doctors who needed precise timepieces. Wakmann Watch Company sadly disappeared during the quartz crisis and was incorporated into Breitling by the end of the 1970s.