Watchmaking Belongs in Brooklyn

Watchmakers can wait decades for the craft to achieve new milestones. That doesn’t mean we have to be tucked away in a Swiss mountain. We found our sylvan retreat in New York City.

Alexander’s headquarters is in Brooklyn—and, even though the borough is one of five in New York City, locals know “the city” is Manhattan. I’m not a native. I’m not actually a native of the United States, either, but I love New York. I couldn’t imagine Alexander anywhere else, any time soon. So why are we in Brooklyn?


Not because it’s become the so-called coolest of the boroughs.

Not even because denying we like it for its recent cache might make us the cool ones. (That’s hipster logic if ever there was any.)

Our neck of the woods has a highly original charm—and it is wooded; we’re opposite the verdant Green-Wood Cemetery, a rural burial ground at its founding in 1838.

Greenwood Cemetery Trees_1080
The historic Green-Wood Cemetery is right across the street from our Brooklyn headquarters.

It’s much less densely populated than most of Brooklyn here. That’s not a cemetery joke. We’ve lucked into a pastoral corner of a concrete jungle, despite a decade of breakneck gentrification. 

Watchmaking is a classical, old-world art.

The trade has waited over a century at times for the next meaningful advance.

As technology rushes watchmaking into advancements at a much faster pace than ever before, we are proud to retain our calm among the fray.

We are building a legacy with Alexander, a powerhouse heritage of classic horology touched by sublime elements of the contemporary aesthetic.

We have the work ethic and vision of the greatest New Yorkers. That intensity is vital, but we also need the peace that only this crook of Brooklyn has provided us so far.

Manhattan has always had a head start over Brooklyn as the It place.

The writer Washington Irving, perhaps most famous for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, was equally lauded at the time of publication for History of New York, his cultural-historical satire of New York, as early as 1809.

Keep in mind there was no TV or Internet then. Writers were culture-keepers, and Manhattan already had plenty of cultural equity by the beginning of the 19th century.

Alexander Creative Team outside HQ
Two of our Alexander team step outside to enjoy the neighborhood and our community for lunch.

So much so, that Irving’s main character, Diedrich Knickerbocker, is where today’s basketball team, the beloved New York Knicks, got its name.

There’s a reason it’s called The City That Never Sleeps, too. Nightlife is just life here. The round-the-clock movement of my fellow New Yorkers encapsulates the place best for me—and not just because hours and watch movements are so important to me.

We have a local supermarket chain that only serves our area, just like anywhere else in the country—Gristedes; it’s been around since 1888—but you can walk into it at 3AM and find 10 people at the checkout.

This complexity and energy, the sheer magnitude of cultural layers between Irving and Gristedes, make Manhattan seem like its own country, more than just a borough. It’s so different from other cities in the United States or abroad.

Even Brooklyn seems a world away from this multi-century, 24-hour drama.

We have local coffee shops, an abundance of parks, incredible multiculturalism, and, in my opinion, the best-looking bridge around.

But there are plenty of suburbanites who can say that about their towns scattered across America, too. Some New Yorkers may not agree that those towns are for them, but we can all agree that when someone heaps high praise on their home, they mean it.

I understand many of these all-American impulses, because of Brooklyn.

Watchmaker's Desk
One of our watchmakers works on a watch dial at our shop, near Park Slope and Prospect Park.

Rewarding manual labor, based in true skill and ingenuity, is a touchstone in this country. A holy grail even.

As someone who is fortunate enough to spend every working day immersed in the skill and ingenuity of a craft I love, I understand the satisfaction of fitting in where you belong.

And this is where I especially sound like any American. I just love the people—the reason anyone stays anywhere longer than they have to.

The Alexander family comprises many native Brooklynites, and their authenticity is something I deeply admire.

Their culture has become our culture, and our culture together has become something even bigger.

A European watchmaking heritage. A New York verve.A willingness to look squarely into the future and know the past has prepared us on all fronts for excellence—whether it happens in a New York minute or more of a leafy-corner-of-Brooklyn one.

Follow @alexander_watches for more #BTS of our workshop and neighborhood.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *