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23-year-old CEO brings youthful passion to Towson watch company

“As long as my passion, my optimism stays high, I know I can turn this into a success,” says Spencer Shattuck. (Submitted Photo)

The new president and CEO of Towson Watch Company is shockingly young at 23, but Spencer Shattuck loves being an entrepreneur and plans to bring a modernized and youthful approach that will bring authentic luxury to the market.

He wakes up in the morning thinking about TWC and goes to bed thinking about it.

“It’s all up to me. As long as my passion, my optimism stays high, I know I can turn this into a success,” Shattuck said. “It’s so much better than what I could have imagined, honestly, because I just love my work.”

The luxury watch brand was founded in 1998 by George Thomas and Hartwig Balke, originally from the Czech Republic and Germany, respectively, who met by chance in an Irish pub in Annapolis and discovered a shared passion for watchmaking.

The watchmakers are still involved, and Hartwig Balke regularly builds watches, with the pair training apprentices to learn the craft.

“Every single watch that we make is handcrafted and specifically made for its customer,” said Shattuck, who interned at the watch company in middle school. “We’re actually putting the time, the quality of the components, the effort, the attention to detail into these watches, that really no other luxury watchmaker that is mainstream does.”

In 2016, Under Armour founder Kevin Plank purchased a stake in the company through his Sagamore Ventures. Sagamore eventually acquired the company. Shattuck knew Plank at the time as a family friend.

With Spencer’s interest in luxury watches, Plank helped connect him for the internship in his eighth-grade year.

Shattuck’s interest in luxury branding had started when his father brought home Montblanc pens from board meetings, and he would go on to found his own luxury reselling business in high school. SSA Luxuries, which according to Shattuck generated $500,000 in annual revenue, allowed him to make venture capital investments in college that would set him up to purchase TWC.

Staff from Sagamore Ventures approached him in his senior year at Johns Hopkins, where he studied political science and worked for Catalio Capital Management, and asked if he was interested in buying TWC. Shattuck thought back to his first visit with Balke and Thomas in middle school and decided to go for it, purchasing the company in 2021.

Spencer Shattuck comes from a prominent family; his father Mayo Shattuck is chairman of Exelon and was president and CEO of Constellation Energy, and a board leader at Johns Hopkins Medicine and Johns Hopkins Medicine. Spencer Shattuck sees being an entrepreneur as a way to create his own value and purpose.

“I truly believe this whole pursuit only comes out of a genuine desire to make something out of myself and not just gain off of my rich family,” he said. “I feel very sincere saying that.”

One of his first decisions as president/CEO was to step away from TWC’s jewelry store retail partners and focus on a direct-to-consumer model. Instead of selling at institutions like Smyth Jewelers and creating custom watches for a select clientele, Shattuck reduced prices, set up a showroom near Port Covington, and offers direct sales from the company website. He hopes to scale up the custom watch experience.

TWC only produces 100 of each model. Customers can make custom choices for a unique timepiece designed and assembled in the U.S., with components manufactured in Germany and Switzerland. Prices range from $2,000 to $10,000.

Shattuck wears many different watches, but on a recent morning, he chose TWC’s Choptank, inspired by the sunset on the Choptank River, with a silver dial, gold hands and a red lizard strap.

In his pitch to his generation, he eschews smartwatches.

“The Towson Watch Company watch is a handcrafted instrument made for you, and I feel like that’s such a pure escape from constant attempt for the world to go more and more digital,” Shattuck said.