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Sub-Forums : Rare American Watch Companies
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Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. L. Goddard and Company was the most visible early American watch maker, 1809-1825 in Grafton, Mass. He was a cousin of the great Aaron Willard and apprentised to him from 1778-1783. Goddard's first watches reportedly were made in 1812; prior to this date (1784-1807) he repaired clocks in Shrewsbury, Mass. Later his sons continued the business and imported watches from England and sold them with the Goddard name. True Goddard American made watches have low (500ish) serial numbers, some with beautiful eagle cocks!
by Jon
07-14-2007 12:42 PM Go to last post
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Henry Pitkin, East Hartford
H. and J. F. Pitkin, East Hartford
Pitkin & Co., New York

The first watch made was signed Henry Pitkin; 50 were made and just one example has survived; it was discovered by Jon Hanson in the early 1970s. It is the rarest and most significant early American watch--the first interchangeable watch made on American made machinery
by Jon
08-19-2007 05:16 PM Go to last post
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John H. Mulford was an independent maker in Albany, New York prior to the time Fasoldt thrived there. He invented his unusual deadbeat escapement and patented (patent number 2465) it on February 21, 1842. Less than a handfull of these extremely rare 3/4 plate KW movements exist--just one ever appearing at public auction in the Atwood sale.
by Jon
08-19-2007 07:45 PM Go to last post
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Jacob D Custer watches and clocks were made in Norristown, Pennsylvania, circa 1840-1845. Watch (fuzee type) patented, February 1843. Reportedly only 12 were made.

One of the lengendary great rarities of early American watch collecting. Just 2 examples located, and rumors of a third lost long ago. Serial number 2, a movement, is in the Smithsonian.
by Jon
10-26-2007 06:50 PM Go to last post
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Joseph Jeunet of Meadville, Pa. patented (patent number 21,425) his seconds beating watch in 1858. Originally was born in France on Novemebr 1, 1814 and learned watchmaking from family members. This odd watch was designed because of the sudden jars one received while riding horses and trains. Jeunet built a model of his design and, on a trip to France, arranged for a maker at Morez to manufacture these watches. Reports are that few were made due to defects keeping them from running properly. These were sold through the local jewelry store in Meadville. I have personally owned 3, two being slightly different types. The late, great machinest and watch collector, Wilbur H. Dexter, of Inglewood, Ca. made one of his own versions of this watch from scratch, but sadly it was stolen as the last remaining watch of his collection from his son. The Dexter watch actually ran quite well at the time he made it circa 1980.
by Jon
08-17-2007 05:59 AM Go to last post
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Nashua Watch Company, Nashua, New Hampshire, began in 1859 with many watch and machine experts of the time, inc. N.P. Stratton, C.S. Mosley, B.D. Bingham, J.H. Gerry, Chas Van der Woerd, etc. joining forces to begin making the finest watches in America. Magnificent 20S 19J and 15J movements were begun but not all 1000 were either made or finished and the company was swallowed up and sold for $23,000 to the American Watch Co. Remaining unfinished movements were later engraved American Watch Co. in Waltham and which became the company's premier grade of movement and the finest watches made in America, now as part of the famous Nashua department at Waltham.
by Jon
11-03-2007 01:40 PM Go to last post
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Charles Fasoldt watches, Rome and Albany, N.Y.

Fasoldt was a German immigrant, originally born in Dresden, Saxony and migrated to the United States at approximately 30 years of age. Apparantently Charles had machine and watch making skills prior to migrating to the U.S. with his family, settling in Rome, N.Y. and setting up shop in the early 1850s, possibly as early as 1851 where he remained for 10 years. At this time he advertised watch, clock, chronometer making, jewelry repair, and mfg of small medical and other instruments.
by Jon
11-10-2013 07:33 PM Go to last post
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Boston and Malden, Massachusetts. One of the most inventive watchmakers in the history of US watchmaking, George Reed sustained a great reputation in and around the greater Boston area (Roxbury, Boston, Malden) for decades first as an employee with the predessors of the great American Watch Co., then Edward Howard, and ultimately is own small business after 1865. He held about two dozen patents and produced several types of chronometers, 16 and 18s lever movements and KW & SW watches with winding Indicators in both sizes. Early Howard collectors are familiar with his patented main spring barrel safety mechanism signature on most early KWs.
by Jon
01-02-2010 05:07 PM Go to last post
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Montpelier, Vermont. J.(Jonas) G. Hall is probably one of the least recognized important American horologists who spent over a half century at the bench watchmaking and inventing important horological implements.

Born in Calais, Vermont he entered into his apprenticeship in Montpelier with Samuel Abbott; three years later he moved to Boston were he became familiar with marine timepieces and remained there until 1848 at which time he returned to Montpelier, Vt. In 1851 he opened his own shop and continued as a watchmaker. From the period, 1848-1858 Hall built and modified watches, a marine chronometer, and various patented tools for the watch trade. Some American Watch Co. products carry his private label.
09-04-2007 10:16 PM Go to last post
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Karr was a Washington, D,C. watchmaker and jeweler who held various American patents (1864 & 1865), including 2 different on chronometer escapements and at a later date three on chronographs (all dated 1882). His movements, 18s, KW, gilt, half plate movements appear as English ebausches with his patented chronometer (later improved) escapement inserted. Several of these have been examined and at least two have winding indicators. One particular example has a dial that reads "American chronometer!" Regular, standard US movements have been seen with his name on them (jewelers' contracts).
by Jon
08-19-2007 09:18 PM Go to last post
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Ann Arbor, Michigan. Mozart Watch Company

Mozart watches present one of the rarest and most unusual ever made. Invented by Don J. Mozart, born in 1820 in Italy, he migrated to the United states at 3 years of age where his parents settled in at Boston, Mass. His father was a watchmaker and young Don was mysteriously kidnapped to sea at a very early age but eventually found his way back to the US.
by Jon
05-11-2008 07:25 PM Go to last post
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Very little is known about this maker, his products made in Wabash, Indiana, but born in New York. This company reported existed circa 1865-n.d. and its gilt KW movements resemble cheap, poorly made Howard series III 18s movements, although the cut-outs are different as well as the escapement (patented in 1866). Another distinction from Howards are the uncut balance wheels. Roy Ehrhard reported many years ago that possibly 25 were made; just two examples are known, both in the WGC. The only public sale record is the Atwood, Tme Museum example, serial number 19.
by Jon
09-01-2014 12:44 PM Go to last post
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From a farming community and partially handicaped in one arm due to some unfortunate accident, young Lyman for an unknown reason drifted into horology and optometrics, his life's work in April of 1853 in Cherry Valley, N.Y.

Very little is known about his watches which at first glance appear to be Swiss; however, various parts were obtained from Waltham but the rest were reportedly hand made by Lyman. These watches are key wind, jewelled, and three quarter plate. A single example was reported by Major Chamberlain about 75 years ago but that example has long ago disappeared. This would date his Movements around c1870.
by Jon
07-17-2007 10:02 AM Go to last post
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Very little is known of the Flint family except that E. H. Flint watches were patented (September 18, 1877) and made in Cincinnati, Ohio thereafter. Highly unusual designed key wind with a unique feature--the balance wheel is between the plates! Chamberlain referred to this watch as the upsidedown watch, patented (no. 195,268) as the "American Air Tight, Dust Proof Watch." Original dials should be plain, as I have viewed replacement dials signed "Lancaster Watch Co." on these as well as silver plating over gilt on the movements. Almost always seen recased are these standard 18s KWs! Serial numbers are stamped on various plates and parts inside the watch, not visable on the back of the watch.
by Jon
08-26-2007 08:45 AM Go to last post
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Dolphis D. Palmer, originally a New York state jeweler, migrated to Waltham, then decided to work out of his house making watches and a few chronometers. He eventually formed a watch school, the Waltham Horological School, but continued to make his 16s SW watch in bithe gilt and nickel from Waltham material incorporating his patented stem mechanism. Many of these watches have odd signatures, some of which were obviously his students.
by Jon
12-23-2012 12:23 AM Go to last post
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John H. Allison, an Englishman, according to Crossman was a self taught watchmaker. First notes of Crossman claim he made an English type watch (ebausch?). Later his few chronometers appear similar to those of the Hoyt/Smith/Freeport plate design without the lever escapement in Detroit. These watches are possibly of Swiss ebausch import. Nicely finished nickel and damaskeened, these are a very difficult watch to locate. Allison later went on to the employment of a watch repair company in Illinois.
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Detroit, Michigan. Originally a creation by C. H. Hoyt for M. S. Smith jewelers in Detroit. This operation was sold to Eber Ward for a new operation to be in Freeport, Il. However, a fire destroyed the watch building but a small number were finished signed Freeport Watch Co., including watches number 1 and 2.
by Jon
09-04-2007 09:43 AM Go to last post
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Auburndale, Massachusetts. An attempt to produce a cheap watch with fewer parts was born out of a patent model by Jason R. Hopkins who held two patents on a watch that apparently he did not wish to produce. Eventually William B. Fowble(Boston born) bought a share of the patents partially held by William D. Colt along with Hopkins. The first attempt was a detent rotary, later modified into the rare and highly interesting Auburndale Rotary lever in 1877 offered for $10.00 to the trade. Other products, a KW and a SW model (named Lincoln and Bentley after Fowble's sons) were produced in small quantities along with the profitable Auburndale timer with single and split seconds offered at $15.00 and $25.00 respectively by this Auburndale, Ma. company. The watches did not create enough profit so the next product chosen was a line of metalic thermometers. Assignment if the equipment was made in 1883, although Fowble remained listed in directories as a thermometer manufacturer.
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End of the line of the Newark-Cornell- California line of watches. Earlier movements modified and finished up at Grand Crossing, Illinois.
by Jon
08-26-2007 05:37 PM Go to last post
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Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In 1879 Ezra F. Bowman, a successful retail jeweler, ordered some watchmaking machinery to start making watches above his jewelry store. Less than one year later he engaged the services of the former Lancaster Watch Co. superintendent to make a model watch. With only five workmen, Bowman made some additional small tooling to make his watches. By 1882 he and his crew finished just short of 50 movements which were all high grade three quarter plate, free sprung, nickel, 16 size, hunting case models that were all beautifully damascened and finished. All parts except for the dials and balances were made in his shop in Lancaster on King Street. These quality movements proved expensive to make and Bowman, deciding to continue in his expanding wholesale jewelry business, sold out to J. P. Stevens of Atlanta. Georgia. Numbers 1 through 49 have been recorded by J. Hanson of known examples. These are very rare watches and seldom seen or sold in public venues. Probably the best and earliest example known is serial number 3. Serial number 1 is quite incomplete and was donated to a museum.
by Jon
08-26-2007 08:54 AM Go to last post
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Atlanta, Georgia. In 1882 the Bowman machinery and watchmaking tooling was sold to J. P. Stevens of Atlanta, Georgia, who previously had been buying near completed movements from (basically) Hampden, plus Swiss movements, to place his patented spiral shaped regulators. In 1884 Stevens organized his company and captured several watch folks with previous experience, including William Todd, C. L. Hoyt, C. H. Bagley and T. W. Thompson. At first about ten movements per day were produced and things went well until the chief backer J. C. Freeman, died; followed by many lawsuits, the Stevens brother sold out to the Freeman heirs who formed the D. N. Freeman & Company which failed in 1887.
by Jon
09-01-2014 12:52 PM Go to last post
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Chicago, Illinois. Self Winding Watch Company

In 1881 Herman Von der Heydt, a German native and trained watchmaker, migrated to this county, settling in Chicago, Illinois.

Beginning in 1883 he perfected his self winding watch which he patented February 1, 1884, and began making these home grown watches by himself as time permitted (he was a jeweler and watchmaker by trade). It is rumored that some of the material he used came from Elgin but for the most part he made and perfected the parts on his own, limited equipment, at his leisure. These are 15J movements with a large crescent shaped piece of metal that works by gravity (up and down motion) which is connected to a ratchet on the winding wheel. Total production was just 35 examples of which 30 were gilt and the balance nickel and sold for $75.00 and 90.00 respectively. These watches are remarkable and actually work if properly serviced. In top condition they are strikingly beautiful as well as fascinating to watch while winding up. Seldom seen or offered--in recent history only two have been offered publicly, the last being at the Atwood sale in NYC at Sotheby's.
by Jon
09-01-2014 05:52 PM Go to last post
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Otay (south of San Diego), California. Organized by three partners from a real estate firm, Guion, Hartley, and Hamilton along with R. D. Perry a landowner in the Otay area who put up the necessary dollars for the factory building, Frank Kimball was asked to fund the money for the machinery which was shipped from the American Watch Tool Co., Waltham, Ma. as the money had run out. He also got sucked into supplying the operating capital until he either ran out money or refused to spend any more until the company went bankrupt in November 1890. Approximately 1200 watches were produced by The Otay Watch Co. and made in gilt, nickel, or two toned damaskeened. All were 18s hunting case lever set models, 11 or 15 Jeweled and many carried sexy names such as "Overland Mail, Golden Gate, Native Son, California," etc. Highly prized in the West as a rare artifact produced just south of San Diego.
by Jon
04-18-2010 08:07 AM Go to last post
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Alviso, California. With the advent of the Otay Watch Co. failure and the Sherrif's closure of that factory on November 13, 1890, George Penniman, who handled Otay watches in San Francisco, got an option on the Otay machinery and interested local parties and Kimball and Wheeler (both from Otay) to form this new company. A building was erected in Alviso, Ca., south of San Francisco. Penniman, ill for a short time, returned to the new plant where the machinery had been delivered by boat from San Diego only to find out that Frank Kimball had foreclosed on the plant. Major Chamberlain states, "there is nothing to indicate that any watches were made at Alviso." And, "none of the movements bear the name of the new company." WRONG! Jon Hanson discovered the very first example in the early 1970s and the late, great A. E. Mathews, American watch authority and collector, later discovered another, superior example (an originally cased one) which now resides in the World's Greatest Collection.
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Reportedly made in Chicago, Illinois, these 16s OF movements were made in aluminum. I know little of their history and have personally viewed just one example in 50 years of searching (the Roy Ehrhardt example, stolen in Chicago, fenced, but eventually recovered--a good reason to inventory and photograph all of your watches).
by Jon
08-19-2007 05:01 PM Go to last post
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This short lived company was the genius of Fred MacIntyre and Charles DeLong. Set up in Kankakee, Illinois in 1909 less than 10 watches reportedly were made during an 8 month period. Charles DeLong was one of the greatest American watchmakers ever and went on to invent and perfect his famous Delong escapement with upright pallets seen in Illiniois and Hamilton watches.
by Jon
09-04-2007 09:53 AM Go to last post
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Boston and elsewhere. Brother of the famous Albert H. Potter.
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One of the greatest watchmakers of all time. Made a select few exiotic pocket watches--most famous of which is a key wind tourbillion on a diagonal plane (Howard parts), discovered by Russell Nelson in the 1970s, and sold most recently in the sale of the Atwood collection. Most notable for his kidney shaped nickel movement, many of which had detent escapements made in Switzerland.
by Jon
11-04-2007 09:48 AM Go to last post
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