"Brian and Tyler are particular about the stories they narrate in every stunning product. Their unique flair for sharing America’s rich history by crafting classic watches sets them apart: They do not just enshrine historical events but help Americans retrace and showcase their personal pride in their country’s rich and fascinating history." - Babyboomers.com
Sangamon Watches, a wristwatch brand launched in the Summer of 2019 by businessmen Brian Su and Tyler McKay in Springfield Illinois, the Home of Lincoln. United by a wish to incorporate a sense of American history into classic design, they created a business dedicated to preserving tradition while utilizing the latest watchmaking technology.
Behind The Name
The name is a tribute to the Sangamon River which is associated with Abraham Lincoln’s early life and career. Sangamon Watch Company is named after the Sangamon River, which runs from Central Illinois and feeds into the Mississippi River. The river was loved by Abraham Lincoln, whose family settled along the river when he was a young man. Sangamon is a Pottawatomie Indian word meaning the “land of milk and honey.” When Abe Lincoln was 21-year-old in 1831, he resided nearby the river in New Salem where he built a flatboat and sailed to New Orleans. The founders have chosen the name of Sangamon to honor the rich history of Sangamon River.
The Sangamon region was also home to one of the finest watchmakers in the United States- The Illinois Watch Company. It operated for 61 years building nearly six million watches and had over 1200 employees at its peak. It was a pioneer of the time-keeping industry and railroads across the world utilized their technology.
Tyler McKay is a sixth-generation farmer from Central Illinois who was taught true Midwestern values as a kid by raising livestock and working around heavy machinery. His passion for business and entrepreneurship led him to the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), where he was inspired to launch Sangamon Watches while completing his MBA.
Brian Su followed his heart to America in the 1980s and has three decades of international business experience, frequently traveling across the world. He has a deep appreciation for American history and President Lincoln’s influence has kept him in Springfield for over 25 years. Brian’s passion for history and craftsmanship along with his diverse skill set has transformed our business model to be inspired by the American spirit.
Tyler and Brian wanted to create an affordable quality product with a meaning behind it and Sangamon Watches tell more than just the time: each timepiece is inspired by an American story, a nod to the creators’ shared love of the past. In fact, almost every element of the company is inspired by American history.
We are proud to have a global team with a small-town headquarters, focusing on quality over quantity. In October of 2021, we opened a showroom in historic downtown Springfield, IL to better serve our customers and reach tourists along historic Route 66. Every wristwatch is designed in America at our Springfield office around a special theme, which truly makes Sangamon watch products unique.
"The success of Sangamon Watches proves that even in a modern market increasingly inundated with fast-fashion and cheap goods, a worldwide appreciation for craftsmanship and quality products with a sense of story remains." - Erick Ycaza, ElectroWow.net