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  1. #1
    jcpenny
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    Default Atlas Watch Company -Chicago

    Why is it so hard to find information on the Atlas watch Company out of Chicago?

  2. #2
    jcpenny
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    Default Atlas Watch Company -Chicago (RE: jcpenny)

    Why is it so hard to find information on the Atlas watch Company out of Chicago?

  3. #3
    Registered User Greg Davis's Avatar
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    Default Atlas Watch Company -Chicago (RE: jcpenny)

    Because it was a sub-brand of Elgin of Illinois. They just used the Atlas name because they were embarassed to be offering such a low-quality watch.

    - Greg

  4. #4

    Default Atlas Watch Company -Chicago (RE: jcpenny)

    Well...this might be right. I don't know for sure, but perhaps the "Atlas" marked Elgins don't fit this description, though others might.

    I've been researching these cheap Elgin grades (and don't ask me why I'm researching them - I have no idea. It's a sickness, I reckon). They are listed as grades 177, 178 and 179, and are 6 and 18 size, 7 jewel watches, with an uncut & uncompensated balance. A number of these carried the "Atlas" name, as well as 4 other names - Acme, Atlas, America, Sun-Dial and Solar. I haven't yet nailed down all of them, and as Greg notes some may be in-house Elgins that the company didn't want to associate their name with, but the story may be a little different for Atlas. Here's why -

    First, I have identified an "Atlas Watch and Jewelry Co." in an old Chicago city directory from just after the turn of the century. However, I still need to confirm that they were in business during the time that these watches were made (late 1890s). Second, there are a boatload of "Atlas" marked watches made by New York Standard (also low-end, 7j movements), which are pretty easily found by doing a quick search on ebay or picking through junk pile at a mart. Third, there are also low grade "Atlas" named movements that were made by the US Watch Co. (one of which is pictured on page 16 of Greg Frauenhoff's neat pamplet on the "History and Products of the United States Watch Co." that he published last year).

    So, while I haven't made a firm conclusion, at this point I'm thinking that it's unlikely that the "Atlas" name is simply a line of Elgin watches that they didn't want to put their own name on. Instead, I'm thinking that it's an advertising gimmick by a jobber/retailer to give the appearance of a "real" watch company, or just a retailer using a high-falutin' sounding name to push affordable, low end jeweled watches.

    I think similar stories can be told for the "America" and "Solar" lines, but that's just a hunch at this point as I have less info marshalled for those. I still don't know about the other two names, but if I were a betting man, I'd go to the $2 window and put it on "Sun-Dial" as the best candidate for the one of these grades that Elgin didn't want to associate their name with.

    But I'm still researching, so this is all just preliminary, at best. I'd certainly be interested in what others think about this (as well as any other info, SNs, etc. that folks may have and be willing to share on this).

    John

  5. #5
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    Default Atlas Watch Company -Chicago (RE: jcpenny)

    John

    Is this any use in your research?

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...category=14218

    Geoff
    NAWCC #159012

  6. #6

    Default Atlas Watch Company -Chicago (RE: jcpenny)

    Yep - thanks! This falls into one of the mixed-name runs, which seems more typical of the later runs - earlier runs appear to be of a single name, while later ones aren't. This particular one is a mix of Sun-Dial and Atlas.

    John

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