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    Registered User Jerry Treiman's Avatar
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    Aug 2000
    Los Angeles, CA

    Default Who made these dials?

    The big watch companies, like Waltham and Elgin, had their own dial departments, but where did the smaller companies get their dials?

    In my research into the movements that Waltham made for the E. Howard Watch Co. I have noticed that the dials one sees on these watches were not of a typical style for Waltham. For this, and some other reasons, I believe that the movements were shipped to Howard without dials and that Howard supplied the dials. But where did Howard get their dials? E. Howard & Co. may have made some of the earlier Waltham-Howard dials, but for the later Waltham-Howard movements, delivered to Keystone, did the old U.S. Watch Co. factory, which had been bought by Keystone and was being re-tooled to make Howard watches, have a dial department or did they source them elsewhere?

    Here are two examples that may shed light on this question.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The first picture shows, on the left, a 12-size dial pattern that has been found on several of the late Waltham-Howard movements (ca.1905). This example has had the Howard name polished off. On the right is a nearly identical Elgin dial (photo courtesy of Fred Hansen). This distinctive numeral style is shown in Elgin’s 1909 and 1915 material catalogs and so I suspect that, although the movement came from Waltham, Howard/Keystone appears to have sourced this dial from Elgin.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The next photo pair shows, on the left, a 16-size dial pattern that is very common on Waltham-Howards from 1903-1905. On the right is a nearly identical dial for Rockford. This dial, as well as others that are like some Waltham-Howard dials, are shown in Rockford’s 1909-1910 material catalog. Did Rockford make their own dials, and some for Howard, or did both companies get their dials made for them by another company?

    edited to add a note on Rockford dials: Darrah Artzner (Review of the Rockford Watch Company And It’s Watches With Emphasis on Model Identification”, revised 2004 -- http://www.nawcc-ch149.com/db_resch/...d%20Review.pdf ) has noted that “Rockford dials were made by various North American companies as well as those located in Switzerland.” Evidently Keystone must have contracted with the same sources for some of their dials.
    Last edited by Jerry Treiman; 04-17-2017 at 02:40 AM.
    Jerry Treiman, NAWCC member since 1971
    Charter member of Pocket Horology Chapter 174

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