Kobold opens facility in Amish country

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American watchmaker Kobold is known for opening facilities in unusual locations and has now opened its new headquarters in the middle of Amish country.

Merry Oaks Farm in Volant, Pennsylvania, was officially opened at a party attended by 250 guests including four Navy SEALs, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Chronoswiss founder Gerd R Lang.

German-born founder Mike Kobold trained under Lang before launching his eponymous American brand in 1998. The brand went on to produce watches in conjunction with Fiennes and the Navy SEALs and attracted an audience of influential collectors including Fiennes, former President Bill Clinton and the late actor James Gandolfini.

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Amish workers at Merry Oaks Farm carry out finishing work on the brand’s watches and knives.

Kobold spoke to Pittsburgh’s Action News 4, saying: "What is special about this place is the Amish live as people did 150 years ago, which is the type of watchmaking that we do. Our watches aren’t powered by batteries. They are not quartz watches. They are mechanical, our watches are made in-house, with in-house components, which means we don’t outsource. Kobold is the company that is pioneering watchmaking in America over the last 16 years."

In 2012 Kobold assisted two former Sherpas in launching a subsidiary operation in Nepal. Michael Kobold brought the pair to the US to train in watchmaking and they now assemble the brand’s Himalaya collection of watches from a workshop in Kathmandu.

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