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Bates & Bacon

Bates and Bacon started making gold watch cases in 1884. The line then expanded to gold-filled cases. The firm was sold to the Philadelphia Watch Case Co., but the name and some of the grades continued.

Bates and Bacon: A Brief History

Joseph M. Bates entered into a partnership with George M. Bacon in Attleboro, MA in 1868. Bates' history prior to that is recounted in an excerpt from an 1894 History of Attleboro, posted by Robert Sweet. Bates and Bacon (B&B) started making gold watch cases in 1884. In 1901, B&B was bought out by the Philadelphia Watch Case Co., which in turn, became part of the Keystone Watch Case Co. Nevertheless, the B&B name and the names of some of their gold-filled case grades continued to be used, and guarantees on B&B cases continued to be honored by Philadelphia.

Factory Destroyed

In May 1898 a fire started in a leased shop within the B&B factory building. It quickly spread, destroying B&B's factory and eighteen other firms in adjoining buildings. A new building went up quickly, being ready for occupancy by August. B&B's Chicago manager was able to boast about the new factory, modern machinery and a expected continuation of good business for the following year.

The Snap Bezel Dust Proof Case

One unusual design of case that B&B marketed was a Snap Bezel Dust Proof Case, available as early as 1885 and promoted for railroad service. The movement is fastened to a ring bearing a pendant having a square section. This assembly then fits into a cupped back, having a square notch to receive the pendant. A snap bezel completes the case.

Case Grades

Case GradeCase Material
FavoriteGold-Flled case originally guaranteed for 20 Years, after February 1898 for 25 Years.
PuritanGold-Filled case guaranteed for 5 Years.
Regal (posted by elmo)Gold-Filled case guaranteed for 10 Years.
RoyalGold-Filled case originally guaranteed for 15 Years, after February 1898 for 20 Years.
"B.&B."Gold-Filled case of the late 1880s.
PeerGold-Filled case of the late 1880s, guaranteed for 20years
GemGold-Filled case of the late 1880s.
OrientGrade of case circa 1891.

See the Case Material Encyclopedia article for an explanation of the terms.


"Bates & Bacon," Inland Massachusetts Illustrated, Elstner Publishing Company, Worcester, MA, 1891, Pp 210-211

B&B cases are shown on pages 330, 334, 338, 343, 345, 348 and 349 of the 1897 Lapp & Flershem Twenty-first Annual Illustrated Catalogue.

Watch case makers

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