A Howard and the missing E. Howard watch.......

Harold Visser

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Aug 24, 2000
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When reorganizing the E Howard ledgers recently, this entry for # 57412 caught my eye and I thought it might be an interesting read. It reads, "given to A. Howard to replace one lost on the Naragansett Bay."
"A. Howard" refers to Edward Howard's nephew Albert who was a sales agent for the company. After a quick Google search, I found Naragansett Bay to about 50 miles south of Boston. Somewhere at the bottom of the bay is an E Howard watch waiting to be found!
Decoding the full line is as follows, first number is watch serial number. Second number is the cost of the movement $135, Next the letter L for size of watch, SW is stem wind, PR is patent regulator, then nickel not gilt.
Adj is fully adjusted by a Mr Horton. Looking up a few lines to #57410 shows the H&C designating adjusted to heat & cold only and showing a price of $105 a full $30 less then the fully adjusted versions below it. Note, all Howards were adjusted to isochronism.
Harold

IMG_20200603_205126_1.jpg
 

Clint Geller

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When reorganizing the E Howard ledgers recently, this entry for # 57412 caught my eye and I thought it might be an interesting read. It reads, "given to A. Howard to replace one lost on the Naragansett Bay."
"A. Howard" refers to Edward Howard's nephew Albert who was a sales agent for the company. After a quick Google search, I found Naragansett Bay to about 50 miles south of Boston. Somewhere at the bottom of the bay is an E Howard watch waiting to be found!
Decoding the full line is as follows, first number is watch serial number. Second number is the cost of the movement $135, Next the letter L for size of watch, SW is stem wind, PR is patent regulator, then nickel not gilt.
Adj is fully adjusted by a Mr Horton. Looking up a few lines to #57410 shows the H&C designating adjusted to heat & cold only and showing a price of $105 a full $30 less then the fully adjusted versions below it. Note, all Howards were adjusted to isochronism.
Harold

View attachment 593753
I fear that TheBay has a no returns policy, Harold. :)
 

Clint Geller

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On the same general subject, there is this:

Note that while I believe the ad was printed by the E. Howard Watch Co., Admiral Sigsbee's watch referred to in the ad was actually an E. Howard & Co. Series III keywind. (The USS Maine sank on February 15, 1898.) Somewhere I have a little pamphlet put out 30+ years ago by Bob Lavoie of Manchester, NH, which gives the movement serial number.

The Sigsbee Howard.jpg
 

Clint Geller

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On the same general subject, there is this:

Note that while I believe the ad was printed by the E. Howard Watch Co., Admiral Sigsbee's watch referred to in the ad was actually an E. Howard & Co. Series III keywind. (The USS Maine sank on February 15, 1898.) Somewhere I have a little pamphlet put out 30+ years ago by Bob Lavoie of Manchester, NH, which gives the movement serial number.

View attachment 593820
I found the Lavoie pamphlet. I quote from Page 12:

A FAMOUS EARLY HOWARD WATCH

"Charles Sigsbee's E. Howard & Co. watch was first owned by an American merchant of Nagasaki, Japan. In 1868 this gentleman showed his Howard to Sigsbee while visiting the U.S.S. Ashuelot docked at Nagasaki. Sigsbee was so impressed with its fine works that he immediately offered to trade for it a beautiful sable robe recently purchased in Pekin. Just as immediately the offer was declined. The merchant mentioned the offer to his bride, however, and the inevitable trade was made.

Sigsbee's Howard watch then cruised with him on 18 U.S. vessels, covering over 250,000 nautical miles. Soon after its acquisition, it was immersed in salt water when Sigsbee fell overboard into Nagasaki Harbor. After being cleaned, it continued excellent service, being often used as a comparing watch for navigational purposes. In 1878 it was again immersed in salt water. Sigsbee rinsed it with fresh water, filled it with kerosene, and had it cleaned by a local jeweler. It served Sigsbee another 20 years. Then on February 15, 1898, the battleship Maine was blown up in Havana Harbor. Capt. Sigsbee was writing in his state room, his Howard in a desk drawer with important papers. Sigsbee's effects went down with the ship. Five days later, the contents of the drawer were retrieved by a Navy diver. Again, the watch was rinsed, filled with oil, and cleaned locally. In early April the watch was professionally restored by Mr. Henry C. Karr of Washington, D.C., whose firm had serviced the watch for 39 years. Mr. Karr judged this watch to have a mean variation of 10 seconds a month.

...

In 1911 Charles D. Sigsbee, Rear Admiral U.S.N. wrote 'The log of a Howard watch' in which he detailed 42 years of navy duty done by his personal watch, E. Howard & Co., serial # 12,772, adjustment inspection passed May 17, 1867."

The Howard factory records are currently missing for that movement serial number. However, it seems that when Lavoie wrote his pamphlet in 1982, the whereabouts of that currently missing record book may have been known. Hmmm!
 
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