Albert H. Potter #595

Ethan Lipsig

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Albert H. Potter was perhaps the outstanding American watchmaker. I recently acquired his watch #595, made after he moved to Geneva. I am posting photos of it here because Potter was an American, but the moderator may conclude that it should be moved to the European Pocket Watch forum.

There is quite a bit of information about Potter in other postings on this message board. I won't repeat what they say except to note that his US production is quite rare, perhaps 35 watches. His Geneva production was greater, but even they are quite uncommon.

His watches were very expensive, reportedly selling for at least 10 times a basic Vacheron & Constantin. Because of their expense, Potter ultimately failed as a watchmaker and quit that business in 1895.

My watch dates to the early 1890s. It has an 1892 inscription: Augustus Cummings/From Florence Eloise Hood/ Dec. 14th, 1892. Cummings married Hood on that date, so this watch was her wedding present to him. Cummings was a civil engineer, born in Norfolk England, who ended up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he had a very successful business, among other things inventing the "Cummings System" of reinforced concrete.

The watch is in excellent condition, save for a hairline in the seconds dial. Since the watch did not need servicing when I purchased it, I will defer soaking the dial until the watch needs servicing. Soaking should make the hairline nearly invisible.

The very unique movement is covered by a glass cuvette. I elected not to remove it before taking the movement photos below.
 

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Keith R...

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Awesome, Major find!!!! PS, Don't soak it...................leave that gorgeous hairline. Keith
 

RON in PA

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Thanks for posting. A very unique and interesting movement.
 

Clint Geller

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Lovely watch, and the Pittsburgh connection is also intriguing to me. I know at least one Cummings family here, but it would be a real longshot that they have any relation to the original owner of this watch. The compound regulator reminds me quite a bit of Mershon's patented regulator seen on early Howard keywinds. The same motivation likely inspired both: a given displacement of the index arm causes a smaller motion of the curb pins, in principle, enabling finer regulation.
 

Ethan Lipsig

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Thanks, all, for the input.

Clint, if you follow up on the Cummings connection, this may help: The Cummings had two children, Robert Augustus Cummings Jr. and Eloise Hood Cummings. Jr. died on October 21, 1962, in Pittsburgh.

Since posting photos of the watch, I've noticed another detail. Geneva stop works are on top of the barrel but weren't visible when I first photographed the movement because barrel rotation had taken them under the adjacent bridge at the time. See below for a photo I just took showing the stop works, which now are out from under the bridge. I removed the glass cuvette for this photo.

Tom McIntyre has Albert Potter #588. See http://www.awco.org/European/Potter/potter.htm. As far as I can see, it appears identical to my #595 except that mine is cased in the original 18k Potter case. Tom's example has been recased in a 14k J&S case.
 

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jc-sweden

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- One of the most beatiful watches / movement I have ever seen!
 
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Mikie T

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Very nice watch!!
What a great find! Congrats!!

Mike
 

Jeff Hess

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holy moly! One of the reasons I peruse these boards. Do not get me wrong, i love Elgins and howards and Balls and Peorias, but when I see something like that that has surfaced....well...it makes the hair stand up on my neck.

Thanks for sharing!

Jeff Hess

BTW, has Toms been recased or is it in a normal and oft seen original Jennot & Shiebler import case?
 

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