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1874 Washington Watch Co. Pocket Watch

rrenneka

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Im looking for information on a Washington Watch Company pocket watch. I know there were quite a few made by the Illinois Watch company in the early 1900's with the Washington Watch Company name on them. However, I cant find much information on this one. Its a key wind and it does have a serial number of 29988 which fits the Illinois Watch company data base and dates it to 1874. However, the balance bridge is different than the Illinois models. Also, the Hoyt models at that time were only 9 jewels. This watch is at least 13 jewels. What I can find on line about the Washington Watch Company during this period is that it started in business in 1872 and went out of business in 1874. I can find no examples of the watches produced by them during that time. I am thinking that this watch is one of the ones produced during the 2 years the company was in business. If anyone has any information on this company I would appreciate it. I am posting a few pictures below. 0922211025.jpg 0922211025a.jpg 0922211027.jpg 0922211027.jpg 0922211025a.jpg 0922211025.jpg 0922211039.jpg 0922211025.jpg 0922211025a.jpg
 
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Lee Passarella

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If the Complete Guide to Watches has a true handle on the value and this is indeed a Washington Watch Co. example, then you have quite a find. Might want to put it in the safe deposit box.
 

Rick Hufnagel

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This is a lower grade swiss watch, designed and engraved to look like a higher quality American movement. A Swiss fake is what they are commonly called. Made to deceive the original purchaser and still doing it to this day in some cases.
 
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rrenneka

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This is a lower grade swiss watch, designed and engraved to look like a higher quality American movement. A Swiss fake is what they are commonly called. Made to deceive the original purchaser and still doing it to this day in some cases.
I disagree Rick. I know Swiss fakes. This shows no sign of being a Swiss fake. In addition, why would they fake a watch that nobody has ever even heard of back in 1874? The Swiss were faking the common watches. Walthams, Elgin, I've even seen E Howard Swiss fakes. Never a watch from a company that was only in business for 2 years and produced very few watches.
 

Rick Hufnagel

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I've been trying to pin the movement you show and similar ones with different barrel bridges on I.W.C. So far I'm not successful in tying the two together but I am trying. It would explain why these are a bit better than the normal "swiss fake", but I've just hit dead ends. There is a decade or so age gap.... for all I know I could be way off.

I recently bought an actual IWC for this reason and have not got a chance to tear it down and do a comparison yet.
 
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rrenneka

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Here it is in an 1891 catalog in my collection.
View attachment 672886

They call it the Wallingford here, but they show up with an infinite amount of names on them along with various jeweling and a couple barrel bridge shapes.
Thanks for your research Rick. I really appreciate it. The Wallingford movement is an 11jewel movement. This watch is at least 13. I haven't disassembled it but I do have it out of the case now. I guess Im open to it being Swiss but I see none of the "normal" signs. The engraving is very well done contrary to the Swiss I have seen. The jewels are very clear. Normally a Swiss will have a red tint. Is there anything you can point to that I could look at to identify it it as Swiss? Also, their gilt finish is generally much brighter than this. Thanks again.
 

Dave Coatsworth

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I'm with Rick. Swiss fake, some of which are quite good. The Washington Watch Company watches from 1872-4 are 3/4 plate and duplex escapement.
 

Dave Coatsworth

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This watch is at least 13. I haven't disassembled it but I do have it out of the case now.
How are you coming up with 13 jewels if you haven't disassembled it yet? Looks like a standard 11 to me. Of course, we haven't seen under the dial yet.
 

Rick Hufnagel

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I had the same question Dave, bit it looks like this one has the upper barrel arbor jeweled. The actual jewel count would have to be counted when torn down.

I agree some are quite good. They also make this model in Nickel finish.

Unfortunately I can't give you a particular thing to look for. It's a common Swiss full plate American style design. If you search for swiss fake on Google or the auction site, this particular model design pops up with many varieties.
 

Dave Coatsworth

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Ok guys. I appreciate everybody's comments. Have a great day.
Look, we would like nothing better than for you to have run across one of those 50 rare Washington Watch Company movements. We live for that kind of thing. But it's just not that. Or, even an Illinois product would be interesting. Illinois is my area of expertise and I can definitely say it's not that, either. You have two huge clues that it is a Swiss fake. First off, it is EXACTLY the Wallingford movement that Rick showed you in the ad. These were indeed produced with a plethora of names. Second is the engraving. You have 'Washington' spread out and 'Watch Co.' scrunched. 'Washington DC' is in a different font. Finally the serial number is poorly engraved. The American watch companies just didn't do that. They put much more emphasis on appearance than the Swiss fakes did.
 
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musicguy

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rrenneka

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Look, we would like nothing better than for you to have run across one of those 50 rare Washington Watch Company movements. We live for that kind of thing. But it's just not that. Or, even an Illinois product would be interesting. Illinois is my area of expertise and I can definitely say it's not that, either. You have two huge clues that it is a Swiss fake. First off, it is EXACTLY the Wallingford movement that Rick showed you in the ad. These were indeed produced with a plethora of names. Second is the engraving. You have 'Washington' spread out and 'Watch Co.' scrunched. 'Washington DC' is in a different font. Finally the serial number is poorly engraved. The American watch companies just didn't do that. They put much more emphasis on appearance than the Swiss fakes did.
Thanks again Dave. I am grateful for the information. You guys have a lot of knowledge on this stuff.
 
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Dave Coatsworth

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I can't find one. The Price Guide says they are 3/4 plate, duplex escapement. Jimmie Dixon's "A History of Watch Companies of America says they were made from Illinois material. Michael Harrold's "American Watchmaking" says the company was founded to produce a duplex escapement movement.
 

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