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  1. #1
    Moderator Jim Haney's Avatar
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    Default R.W Sears or Sears Roebuck & Co. Watches

    I am interested in these watches. I worked for Sears from 1966 until 1993. At one point I was educating new hires on the company history, however, the materials I had to teach with, did not go into very much detail on Richard Sears interest in watches and A. C. Roebuck's role in the company.

    I found what I was looking for in the new improved NAWCC web site www.nawcc.org because thanks to many hours or work and efforts they have scanned all of the Bulletin's from the beginning in 1943.

    To use the Bulletin archive users should go to Publications, NAWCC Bulletin, and Past Issues. Member Login (in the upper right corner) is necessary before accessing the Past Issues page. You have to be a member to use this archived information.

    William (Bill) Meggers wrote 2 articles for the bulletin in the Oct. & Dec. Issues # 268 & 268 on R.W. Sears and Sears Roebuck & Co. watches. It's like everything you wanted to know about Sears watches and here it is !
    Sears started out by buying a crate of unclaimed watches from the Railroad station he managed in North Redwood, MN.and sold to other station agents and anyone who wanted one.

    Shortly after this he started the R.W. Sears Watch Co. He never made any watches, but was successful in buying them from the big companies wholesale and making a profit from it. As his volume increased he was able to buy in larger quantities and have his name applied and thus get the cost down to the manufactures level, so in effect he could make as much on a watch as the companies did because they were governed by prices on watches with the company name on them to their dealers and wholesalers, but Sears had his name on the movement etc. so he was not bound by the wholesale prices to dealers.

    The articles in the Bulletins are 15 pages for each part.

    These are the links to save you some time.

    Part I
    http://www.nawcc.org/images/stories/1990/articles/1990/268/268_428.pdf

    Part 2
    http://www.nawcc.org/images/stories/1990/articles/1990/269/269_540.pdf


    His fist watch was made by Elgin in 1886 and a few months later Illinois started making his watches . The first 2 were marked "FAMOUS" and "Railroad Magnet" and had Minneapolis. MN. markings on them. The next 3 were marked "DEFINANCE" "TIME CARD" & "RICHARD" and had Chicago, IL marked on them as he had moved into bigger space in 1887.

    As a side note I have the watch in Fig. 7 . I bought it at the National in Cleveland a few ago and didn't realize that I had it, the same serial number, until I read the articles. It was very inexpensive.

    If anyone shares my interest in these watches please contact me for more information and trading,buying or selling some of them.
    Thanks
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DSCN5016.JPG   DSCN5020.JPG   DSCN5019.JPG  
    Jim Haney

  2. #2

    Smile Re: R.W Sears or Sears Roebuck & Co. Watches (RE: Jim Haney)

    This isn't about Sears watches, but you might find these ads interesting:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 1892_Jun_Roebuck_BWR.jpg   1889_Jan-30_R_W_Sears.jpg  
    Kent
    That guy down in Georgia

  3. #3

    Default Re: R.W Sears or Sears Roebuck & Co. Watches (RE: Kent)

    I have a Sears Roebuck & Co. hunters case pocket watch serial # 53468. Here are the pictures.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DSC00065.JPG   DSC00066.JPG  

  4. #4
    Moderator Jim Haney's Avatar
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    Default Re: R.W Sears or Sears Roebuck & Co. Watches (RE: melissa knapp)

    Melissa,
    Thanks for posting it. I don't know who made it? What size is it? 6s,0s etc.Does it have Swiss stamped on it on the dial plate?
    I like the dial logo and don't believe I have that tpye or logo .
    Jim Haney

  5. #5

    Default Re: R.W Sears or Sears Roebuck & Co. Watches (RE: Jim Haney)

    Jim,

    It's an 18 size and it does have swiss stamped on the movement. I will see if I can research the serial # to determine who made it. It fires right up when I wind it!

  6. #6

    Default Re: R.W Sears or Sears Roebuck & Co. Watches (RE: melissa knapp)

    Here is a Sears Watch Case from my case collection. Note that the logo stamped inside the case is the same as the one on Melissa's dial.

    BTW, in case you didn't know, Melissa grew up the daughter of one of the finest watch collectors I ever knew (and I knew/know a lot of them). Some of you old timers probably remember her dad Curt Hopkins. Melissa is doing a great job of carrying on the family tradition.

    Last edited by John Cote; 01-31-2010 at 09:47 PM.
    John Cote
    Past President, Indiana Chapter 18 - Membership Chairman, Chapter 149

  7. #7
    Moderator Jim Haney's Avatar
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    Default Re: R.W Sears or Sears Roebuck & Co. Watches (RE: John Cote)

    John,

    Thanks for showing a great condition Sears Roebuck & Co, case. Your pictures are way above average.

    If you look closely at the two S&R logo's you would have to agree that except for the same letters they are different. I don't see any of the curls at the "R" middle and on the feet of it and the 'S" doesn't show this either and is thicker. The style and fonts are different on Melissa's dial than is show in the back of the S&R watch cases. Maybe because it is Swiss?

    I have bought several S&R watches from your Dad at Ft. Wayne several years ago.
    Last edited by Jim Haney; 02-01-2010 at 09:26 AM. Reason: sp
    Jim Haney

  8. #8

    Thumbs up Re: R.W Sears or Sears Roebuck & Co. Watches (RE: Jim Haney)

    Hi Jim -

    A few others to hunt for ...

    There is one other name in the early 18 size Illinois series for R.W. Sears, it is the "Lawrence".

    Also there are 6 size Illinois watches from this same era marked for R.W. Sears but the few I've seen don't have any other name or phrase on the movements like the 18 sizes do.

    Another fun one to look for is the 18 size US Watch Co. of Waltham that are private label marked on the dial and movement for A.C. Roebuck ... I think these are the only American watches I remember seeing marked just for Mr. Roebuck but with no mention of Sears.

    Fred

  9. #9
    Registered User Ralph Porter's Avatar
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    Default Re: R.W Sears or Sears Roebuck & Co. Watches (RE: Fred Hansen)

    Hi Jim,
    I have two Sears watches and I'll do my best to describe them since I'm currently not able to make pictures.

    1. Sn 1549883; 18s, Illinois open face model 6, lever set, 17j movement with micrometer adjustment; marked "adjusted" "Sears Roebuck & Co. Special Chicago, USA". The dial is double sunk porcelain, Roman numerals with small red Arabic numbers at 5 min, moon hands, and marked "Sears Roebuck & Co. Special". The hands are open moon style. The heavy nickel case has a round bow and ball-shaped crown; it's only marked with a very clear Sears logo as shown in John's post, and sn 147092.

    2. Sn 1576116; 16s, Illinois open face model 5 (Getty style) lever set, 17j movement with micrometer adjustment; marked "adjusted" "Sears Roebuck & Co. Chicago, USA Special" along with wavy damaskeening. The dial is double sunk porcelain, Gothic-style Arabic numerals with small red Arabic numbers at 5 min, and marked "Sears Roebuck & Co. Special". The hands are open moon style. The yellow gold-filled case is plain with typical antique bow & stem, and marked "B&B Royal 20 Years", sn 6006195.

    I hope this helps,
    Ralph

  10. #10
    Moderator Jim Haney's Avatar
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    Default Re: R.W Sears or Sears Roebuck & Co. Watches (RE: Ralph Porter)

    Ralph,
    Thanks for the numbers. I have a 16s that is off by 27 numbers from yours.

    Kent,
    Thanks for the A. C. Roebuck ads. Sears sold his interest to his partner and retired in March 1889 and couldn't use his name for 3 years.
    Reorganized as Sears Roebuck & Co in 1893.and moved to Chicago.

    John,
    I stand corrected on the S. R.& Co. logos. I have some cases that do have the logo shown on Melissa's dial, as well as the one you have pictured with the fancy curls on the feet. They must have changed it over a period of time or different Mfg. changed it. It is thought that his watch "Railroad Magnet" was a mistake by Illinois that he never bothered changing to the correct "magnate".

    Fred,
    Thanks for the information on the "Lawrence".
    Meggers was not aware of this one when he wrote the article in 1990. Was it an early Minneapolis or the later Chicago model ?
    The A. C. Roebuck (U.S. Watch Co.) was produced from 1891-93 when he could not use his name, as I mentioned above.
    ________________________________________

    These are the numbers I have in my collection.

    I hope we can match some of these for consecutive numbers and Kent feel free to add to your data base.


    Serial # Size

    849409 18
    1345968 18
    1349721 18
    1403576 18
    1421419 18
    1426760 18
    1426783 18
    1481382 18
    1482323 18
    1493979 18
    1522583 18
    1531682 6
    1550422 18
    1550540 18
    1550565 18
    1551524 18
    1574756 18
    1574821 18
    1576143 16
    1621884 18
    1660501 18
    1660593 18
    1700685 18
    1700794 18

    Last edited by Jim Haney; 02-06-2010 at 10:33 AM. Reason: sp.
    Jim Haney

  11. #11

    Default Re: R.W Sears or Sears Roebuck & Co. Watches (RE: Jim Haney)

    Rail Road Magnet
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_1790a.jpg  
    Member: NAWCC Chapter 58, 149
    Website: http://rrstd.com

  12. #12

    Smile Re: R.W Sears or Sears Roebuck & Co. Watches (RE: rrstd)

    Ed and I have the following:

    331,252 - 18S, 15J, HC, No. 60, Mvt "The R.W. Sears Co. - Railroad Magnet - Minneapolis, Minn." Dial Unsigned
    1,353,629 - 18S, 17J, OF, No. 64, Mvt & Dial "Sears & Roebuck Special"
    1,353,687 - 18S, 17J, OF, No. 64, Mvt & Dial "Sears & Roebuck Special"
    1,441,050 - 18S, 17J, OF, No. 64, Mvt, Dial & Case "Sears & Roebuck Special"
    1,476,832 - 16S, 17J, HC, No. 175, Mvt & Dial "Sears, Roebuck & Co."
    1,477,331 - 16S, 15J, OF, No. 171, Mvt & Dial "Sears, Roebuck & Co. Special"
    1,549,655 - 18S, 17J, OF, No. 51, Mvt & Dial "Sears & Roebuck Special"
    1,549,716 - 18S, 17J, OF, No. 51, Mvt & Dial "Sears & Roebuck Special"
    1,574,917 - 18S, 17J, OF, No. 64, Mvt & Dial "Sears & Roebuck Special"

    The usual reminder: Errors may have occurred in the reporting or recording of the data.
    Kent
    That guy down in Georgia

  13. #13
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    Default Re: R.W Sears or Sears Roebuck & Co. Watches (RE: melissa knapp)

    Here's my S&R case that is housing a 18s US Watch Co. from 1892.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails caseback1a.jpg   caseedge1a.jpg   casemarkings1a.jpg  

  14. #14
    Moderator Jim Haney's Avatar
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    Default Re: R.W Sears or Sears Roebuck & Co. Watches (RE: Fred Hansen)

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Hansen View Post
    Hi Jim -

    A few others to hunt for ...

    There is one other name in the early 18 size Illinois series for R.W. Sears, it is the "Lawrence".

    Also there are 6 size Illinois watches from this same era marked for R.W. Sears but the few I've seen don't have any other name or phrase on the movements like the 18 sizes do.

    Another fun one to look for is the 18 size US Watch Co. of Waltham that are private label marked on the dial and movement for A.C. Roebuck ... I think these are the only American watches I remember seeing marked just for Mr. Roebuck but with no mention of Sears.

    Fred


    Fred,
    I meant to get back with you on this. Do you have a example of the "Lawrence" to post.?

    I found another R.W. Sears & A.C. Roebuck article in a old "BULLETIN". No 251 Vol.29 Dec. 1987. It's written by James W. Gibbs, and is a recap of several chapters of "Catalogues and Counters: A History of Sears, Roebuck & Coby University of Chicago Press, publishers of the book.

    Link
    http://www.nawcc.org/images/stories/1980/articles/1987/251/251_452.pdf

    In this article, Sears sent his assistant. Authur Lawrence, to Toronto, Canada, to open up a office there in 1888.

    Thus, The name "Lawrence" on a Sears Illinois watch.
    Jim Haney

  15. #15
    Moderator Jim Haney's Avatar
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    Default Re: R.W Sears or Sears Roebuck & Co. Watches (RE: Jim Haney)

    This is a clearer photo of the watch in post #11

    Serial # 279,374

    Thanks, Rhett
    -> posts merged by system <-
    This is a photo of some rarer Plymouth Watch Co.21J Rockfords sold as King George

    617622

    695554 This has RG in a circle on the Barrel Bridge and it is a Hunter .


    Are there others who collect Sears watches?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DSCN1213.JPG   DSCN1214.JPG   DSCN1216.JPG   DSCN1217.JPG   DSCN1219.JPG  

    Jim Haney

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