Arts / Hardware / Investing

Sagamore Ventures invests in under-the-radar luxury watchmaker

The Kevin Plank-backed investment firm now has a 25 percent stake in Towson Watch Co. — and vows to tell the “extremely compelling” stories surrounding each watch.

With its latest deal, the investment firm backed by Under Armour’s Kevin Plank is looking to help local watchmakers stand the test of the time.
With an undisclosed investment, Sagamore Ventures claimed a 25 percent stake in Towson Watch Co. The deal includes an option for Sagamore to purchase the company in the future.
It’s another signpost of Plank’s vision to invest in companies that make stuff. It also helps that the watches are manufactured in the U.S. The 15-year-old watchmaking company already has plenty of stories.
The company was founded by George Thomas and Hartwig Balke, a pair of watchmakers who first met at an Irish pub in Annapolis.

The duo had a pair of steel chronograph watches sent to space on the wrists of astronauts the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 2000. The “Mission” was used in zero-gravity experiments. Later, the company helped the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History repair a gold pocket watch that belonged to Abraham Lincoln, and discovered a message from a watchmaker who repaired it in 1861 on examination.
Sagamore Ventures Managing Partner Demian Costa first saw one of the company’s watches at a Towson jewelry store, and said he was attracted to the “extremely compelling” stories surrounding each watch.
He pointed to the Martin M-130, which is modeled off the clock used in the Martin M-130 China Clipper, a Baltimore-built “flying boat” that made the first airmail flight across the Pacific.

The TWC Martin M-130.

The TWC Martin M-130. (Courtesy image)

“With the support of our internal creative team, our first area of focus will be to compile some of these stories and push them out to a broader audience,” Costa said.
In expanding the marketing, Sagamore hopes to increase awareness of the company outside Baltimore, and expand to new distribution channels beyond the Gambrills, Md., and Newport, R.I., jewelers where the watches are currently available. In the future, the company hopes to raise a larger round of financing.

Companies: Sagamore Ventures

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