Sangamon Watch Company (Sangamon Watches) is a local company that values American history and the Midwestern values. Founded in Springfield, Illinois by two alumni of the University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS), this new wristwatch business venture is named after the Sangamon River, which runs from Central Illinois and feeds into the Mississippi River. Abraham Lincoln famously loved the Sangamon River, as his family settled along the river when he was a young man. The Sangamon region was also home to the Illinois Watch Company, one of the finest watchmakers in the United States. Sangamon Watches is proud to honor the backdrop of such watchmaking craftsmanship and the history of one of our nation’s greatest presidents.
Meet the Founders
Sangamon Watches is founded by Tyler McKay and Brian Su, both of Springfield Illinois and graduates of the University of Illinois at Springfield. 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. Tyler earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics in 2012 from University of Illinois Springfield (UIS). His passion for business and entrepreneurship then 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 3 decades of international business experience, frequently traveling across the world. His deep appreciation for American history and President Lincoln’s influence has kept him in Springfield for over 25 years. Brian earned his Master of Public Administration degree in 1996 from University of Illinois Springfield (UIS). Brian’s passion for history and craftsmanship along with his diverse skill set has transformed Sangamon Watches’ business model to be inspired by the American spirit.
These two international business travelers had a passion for luxury watches but found that they often had little meaning behind them. Brian and Tyler wanted to do something different, which is why the mission of Sangamon Watches is to combine quality craftsmanship and historic inspiration in each of their watch collections. Every collection will come with a story card to further connect the customers to the story depicted by the watch.
New Beginnings Collection
Sangamon Watches’ first collection is called the New Beginnings Series, which represents the launch of new endeavors that alters our path down life’s journeys. It is in that spirit that Sangamon Watches hopes their New Beginnings watch collection will generate excitement in our spirits and propel us to be our best selves.
Their inaugural watch is called Lincoln’s River, a symbolic collection inspired by a young Abraham Lincoln’s adventure on the Sangamon River. Abe faced many hardships as a child, but the Sangamon River was a passage to a new beginning in his life. After Lincoln and his family settled along the Sangamon River in March 1830, he took a chance to pilot his own flatboat to New Orleans with his cousin John. Lincoln not only spent six weeks building the boat with his two colleagues, but also used his intelligence, courage, and leadership skills to help save his crew and maneuver the boat when they got stuck on a milldam in New Salem, Illinois.
To honor Lincoln’s journey, Lincoln’s River watches are laser engraved on the backside to depict Lincoln courageously guiding his flatboat down the Sangamon River in 1831. Brian and Tyler hope that Lincoln’s adventures on the Sangamon River will inspire their customers to push through their obstacles and remain steadfastly resilient in pursuit of their goals in the same spirit that Lincoln displayed throughout his life. Most watch companies focus on the luxury while neglecting the history, but Sangamon Watches’ commitment to high-quality watches and historical inspiration is what makes them truly unique.
Event Notice: Sangamon Watch Company is going to host the Sangamon Watches Launch Party at Anvil & Forge Brewing and Distilling at 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm Wednesday March 25, 2020. Come and meet with the founders! The venue is located at 619 East Washington Street, Springfield, Illinois. Click here to learn more about the party!
Mr. Tyler McKay, CEO
Sangamon Watch Company