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  1. #31
    Registered User Clint Geller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Waltham Mod. 57 Private Labels (By: Clint Geller)

    Quote Originally Posted by Clint Geller View Post
    Interesting watch, HC3. This potentially shrinks the big gap in M57 label serial numbers a bit, but it is still large. I notice, however, that S# 48,879 lacks a private label dial, like nearly all of the post-gap P.L.'s shown in this thread, but none of the pre-gap P.L.'s. Well, allow me to offer for your consideration some longshot speculation on that basis: Could this movement have not been a "private label," but a very short-lived experiment, perhaps even a one-off, with a trade name targeted at soldiers? If soldiers were the intended market, the movement chosen would indeed have to have been cheap, so a seven jewel, Ellery grade movement with an unmarked dial would have been ideal. The "G" could conceivably have stood for "General." Movement 48,879 was finished in May of 1862, which was only a few months after U. S. Grant's first significant victories at Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, and scarcely a month after his even more signal victory at Shiloh, which really catapulted him into the national limelight. So the timing of the movement's manufacture would also make sense, if indeed the name on it has something to do with the general.
    No. I talked myself out of it. The movement is engraved, "Boston," not "Waltham," so that suggests that it is a private label. It is, however, an anomalous one.
    Clint Geller, FNAWCC, # 84,947

  2. #32

    Default Re: Waltham Mod. 57 Private Labels (By: Clint Geller)

    Actually that makes sense. The Ellerys said Boston not Waltham, I can see trying to build a "brand loyalty" too. Just the sort of thing Dennison would do. And the Ellery brand was new anyway, not yet established.

    I can hear the board now- " Good idea Aaron, but you know that generals come and go. If it was last year you would be pushing the "McLellan", and the year before the "Fremont". We'll let you keep on with your stupid low grade Ellerys, but that will have to do for your "soldiers watch". No more diversions."

    I thought the lack of a place name was strange. A private label was an advertisement after all. And the watch came to me from Mass. I wonder if there is any internal Waltham correspondence about it?

  3. #33
    Registered User Clint Geller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Waltham Mod. 57 Private Labels (By: hc3)

    Quote Originally Posted by hc3 View Post
    Actually that makes sense. The Ellerys said Boston not Waltham, I can see trying to build a "brand loyalty" too. Just the sort of thing Dennison would do. And the Ellery brand was new anyway, not yet established.

    I can hear the board now- " Good idea Aaron, but you know that generals come and go. If it was last year you would be pushing the "McLellan", and the year before the "Fremont". We'll let you keep on with your stupid low grade Ellerys, but that will have to do for your "soldiers watch". No more diversions."

    I thought the lack of a place name was strange. A private label was an advertisement after all. And the watch came to me from Mass. I wonder if there is any internal Waltham correspondence about it?
    Hmm. OK, well then maybe my suggestion was not quite so implausible after all.
    Clint Geller, FNAWCC, # 84,947

  4. #34

    Default Re: Waltham Mod. 57 Private Labels (By: Fred Hansen)

    Implausible, I think not..but, The question I might add is the letter G... First it has a period following.. 2nd, today, understanding the importance in history of Grant, and with all the communications available today, would a G. Grant make sense to the public as General Grant in 1863 ? At least a Gen. Grant, maybe.. Even the Ellery had Wm.

  5. #35
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    Default Re: Waltham Mod. 57 Private Labels (By: John Pavlik)

    As far as the "Boston" marking goes-it's worth mentioning that(generally) the lowest grade at any given time of 1857 models was marked "Boston" rather than "Waltham." You saw this first on Bartletts, followed by Ellerys then Homes and Broadways.

  6. #36
    Registered User Clint Geller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Waltham Mod. 57 Private Labels (By: John Pavlik)

    Quote Originally Posted by John Pavlik View Post
    Implausible, I think not..but, The question I might add is the letter G... First it has a period following.. 2nd, today, understanding the importance in history of Grant, and with all the communications available today, would a G. Grant make sense to the public as General Grant in 1863 ? At least a Gen. Grant, maybe.. Even the Ellery had Wm.
    Yes, that concerned me too, John. That's why I thought my speculation was a longshot.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by ben_hutcherson View Post
    As far as the "Boston" marking goes-it's worth mentioning that(generally) the lowest grade at any given time of 1857 models was marked "Boston" rather than "Waltham." You saw this first on Bartletts, followed by Ellerys then Homes and Broadways.
    Thanks, Ben. I didn't know that until hc3 and you pointed that out. All of us are usually smarter than only one of us.
    Clint Geller, FNAWCC, # 84,947

  7. #37
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    Default Re: Waltham Mod. 57 Private Labels (By: Clint Geller)

    Quote Originally Posted by Clint Geller View Post
    Thanks, Ben. I didn't know that until hc3 and you pointed that out. All of us are usually smarter than only one of us.
    The train of thought(I've heard) was supposedly that if the low grade was unsuccessful, they could distance themselves from it if it didn't sell.

    You saw the same idea resurrected in the 1920s with the "Equity" watches.

  8. #38

    Default Re: Waltham Mod. 57 Private Labels (By: ben_hutcherson)

    I reviewed the private labels listed above, and those listed in Price.

    I keep coming back to the date, lack of a private label town and the low grade, and they lead me to the experimental/short run brand/grade theory.

    The date and Grant's first fame match up well. And there is the wartime gap in private labels.

    Almost all the private label watches are also identified with a town. The only exceptions are those which are names NOT connected with a jeweler- the American Agriculturist, George Washington, and Robert E. Lee. Those retain the genuine Waltham place name.

    All the jeweler private labels are better grades. None are bottom of the line.

    I am inclined to say that this is not a "private label" in the usual sense, that is a watch ordered for sale by a jeweler with his own name on it. It is instead, like the later Lee and Washington, an experimental or test watch for a contemplated factory brand or grade, made to see if capitalising on Grant's fame would take off. It's one of a run of 50, maybe they shipped them to a "with the troops" sutler to see if they sold better.

    Or maybe it is a one off, made by an employee to send to the General as a present. In any case, it's different.

  9. #39

    Default Re: Waltham Mod. 57 Private Labels (By: hc3)

    Almost all the private label watches are also identified with a town.


    Even though "Boston, Mass." matches to what's marked on the equivalent Ellery grade movement, its too soon to dismiss the possibility of Boston as also being a private label location. It would be useful to
    search civil war era Boston directories to find if there was a "George Grant" or other potentially corresponding name that was a known retailer in Boston during this time.

    All the jeweler private labels are better grades. None are bottom of the line.


    Most private label 57's I've seen are 11 jewel or better, but not all. The two English private labels pictured in posts number 20 and 23 of this thread are 7 jewel movements. A few other 7 jewel private labels are listed in Ron Price's "Origins of the Waltham Model 57" book.

    The question I might add is the letter G... First it has a period following.. 2nd, today, understanding the importance in history of Grant, and with all the communications available today, would a G. Grant make sense to the public as General Grant in 1863 ? At least a Gen. Grant, maybe.. Even the Ellery had Wm.

    I think John's question here is very important. Was the specific abbreviation of "G. Grant" in fairly common use during the civil war to refer to General Grant, or was this not a commonly used abbreviation for a General during this era.
    Fred Hansen
    NAWCC #109682

  10. #40
    Registered User Clint Geller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Waltham Mod. 57 Private Labels (By: Fred Hansen)

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Hansen View Post



    ...

    I think John's question here is very important. Was the specific abbreviation of "G. Grant" in fairly common use during the civil war to refer to General Grant, or was this not a commonly used abbreviation for a General during this era.
    Yes, I agree that the idea that the "G." stands for "General," is likely the biggest hard spot with the experimental new grade hypothesis. I will ask the question on another Civil War focused website I participate in whether "G." was a standard abbreviation for "General" in the period, but I am doubtful. After his victory at Fort Donelson, Grant was popularly known as "Unconditional Surrender Grant," so you would think that Waltham would have engraved the plate "U. S. Grant" if the name indeed referred to the general.
    Clint Geller, FNAWCC, # 84,947

  11. #41

    Default Re: Waltham Mod. 57 Private Labels (By: Fred Hansen)

    Only two G Grants in the 1862 Boston directory, four in 1864. None jewelers or watchmakers.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=na...page&q&f=false

  12. #42

    Default Re: Waltham Mod. 57 Private Labels (By: hc3)

    Boston Almanac is a no hitter for 1860.

  13. #43
    Registered User Clint Geller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Waltham Mod. 57 Private Labels (By: hc3)

    Good work, hc3. That tilts the evidence a bit more towards the experimental grade designation idea.
    Clint Geller, FNAWCC, # 84,947

  14. #44
    Registered User Clint Geller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Waltham Mod. 57 Private Labels (By: Clint Geller)

    Quote Originally Posted by Clint Geller View Post
    Yes, I agree that the idea that the "G." stands for "General," is likely the biggest hard spot with the experimental new grade hypothesis. I will ask the question on another Civil War focused website I participate in whether "G." was a standard abbreviation for "General" in the period, but I am doubtful. After his victory at Fort Donelson, Grant was popularly known as "Unconditional Surrender Grant," so you would think that Waltham would have engraved the plate "U. S. Grant" if the name indeed referred to the general.
    Well, I posted the question on the "Civil War Talk" Forum, where quite a few very knowledgeable Civil War authorities, including avid "relic" collectors, hang out, and got no definitive responses either for or against the suggestion that "G." could stand for "General" in our context.
    Clint Geller, FNAWCC, # 84,947

  15. #45

    Default Re: Waltham Mod. 57 Private Labels (By: Fred Hansen)

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Hansen View Post
    About 12 years ago there was a discussion on this board about a Samuel Curtis grade movement with a private label name, so I believe this would be something 1853-1854ish at the Boston Watch Company.

    I think somewhat wider production of private labels occurred in the 5000's serial range of Appleton Tracy & Co. production.


    [/COLOR]
    Hi Fred,

    Unfortunately the consensus at this point on that early watch is that it's English made (or at least an English ebauche), although nearly an exact copy of a Curtis grade Waltham, except with 16 jewels (the winding arbor is jeweled) ... and most interesting about it (to me) is that it's signed with the name of a person known to have been working in Waltham as a watchmaker in 1855!

    Dave
    Member Chapter 149

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