Appleton Watch Co (Wisconsin) - Serials

Kevin Neathery

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I have been working on a short list of serial numbers for the Appleton watch company.

89658 - 7 Jewel top plate only. Point at pallet fork pivot. Gilt? Pressed in brass bushings. *
90261 - 7 Jewel Pinned dial nickel finish Pressed in brass bushings *
90487 - 7 Jewel nickel finish
91287 - 7 Jewel Pinned dial nickel finish *
91419 - 7 Jewel nickel finish
91648 - 7 Jewel nickel finish
91737 - 11 Jewel nickel finish 2nd pattern damaskeening, point at pallet fork pivot *
91777 - Pillar Plate Only circular finish like 91737. Possibly 11 jewel as well.
91878 - 7 Jewel nickel finish
91931 - 7 Jewel - Top Plate Only *
92131 - 7 Jewel nickel finish
93015 - 7 Jewel nickel finish
93106 - 7 Jewel nickel finish
93237 - 7 Jewel nickel finish
93238 - 7 Jewel nickel finish
93248 - 7 Jewel nickel finish *
93752 - 11 Jewel nickel finish standard pattern damaskeening, point at pallet fork pivot, movement only
93942 - Northwestern Special 21j

So far all I have measured are actually closer to 17 size. * indicates watches/parts I own that I identified the serial from.
 

Kevin Neathery

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Some things I have noticed. Earlier movements use pinned dials. There are only 2 types of dial, Roman Numeral and Arabic Numeral. There are 2 types of damaskeening.

What I am calling type 1 at the moment.

20190729_215903.jpg

This is what I am considering type 2

20190731_214748.jpg

There are also 2 plate types based on the shape where the pallet pivot is.

20190714_091130.jpg

The gold colored plate and the 11 jewel have the point. The gold colored one is one I am unsure of. I can't tell if it is a damaskeened gilt or just one where the nickel was stripped off. Note the brass bushings. The underside is also more finished than the nickel one.

20190714_111221.jpg
 

Kevin Neathery

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That would be greatly appreciated. I am curious as to the plate design. Seems like some attribute them to a Cheshire M3.
Looking at the serial 100103 Northwestern Special 2 tone located on a Ashland catalog I am beginning to think that it is not Appleton. The serial location is different. The jeweling is not similar to the 11j. The top plate design is different than the 2 types of Appleton plates I show. But it does match the M3 Cheshire. No comes in to question....why revert back to an older different design? The movement also appears to be fitted with a non split mono metallic balance. Where my 11j is fitted with a split bimetallic balance and the other 11j is as well. So why upjewel to 21 but leave the balance the same as in the Cheshire? Is there a possibility that at the end of the life of Appleton they still had some remaining parts from when they first started and in a scramble to try and sell "higher grade" watches they just quickly finished them and upjeweled them?
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Looking at the serial 100103 Northwestern Special 2 tone located on a Ashland catalog I am beginning to think that it is not Appleton. The serial location is different. The jeweling is not similar to the 11j. The top plate design is different than the 2 types of Appleton plates I show. But it does match the M3 Cheshire. No comes in to question....why revert back to an older different design? The movement also appears to be fitted with a non split mono metallic balance. Where my 11j is fitted with a split bimetallic balance and the other 11j is as well. So why upjewel to 21 but leave the balance the same as in the Cheshire? Is there a possibility that at the end of the life of Appleton they still had some remaining parts from when they first started and in a scramble to try and sell "higher grade" watches they just quickly finished them and upjeweled them?
The "jewels" on the Northwestern Specials are mostly fake. I don't have my example handy to determine the correct functional jewel count. Also, I wouldn't consider the M3 Cheshire an older design than the models with stem attached. There is a mention in a trade catalog from about 1904 of a Northwestern Special watch but it is not known if this refers to an Appleton product or not.

Anyway, Appleton is a neat company that needs to be examined more carefully. I don't recall what all has been published in the Bulletin about it in the past.
 
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Kevin Neathery

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The "jewels" on the Northwestern Specials are mostly fake. I don't have my example handy to determine the correct functional jewel count. Also, I wouldn't consider the M3 Cheshire an older design than the models with stem attached. There is a mention in a trade catalog from about 1904 of a Northwestern Special watch but it is not known if this refers to an Appleton product or not.

Anyway, Appleton is a neat company that needs to be examined more carefully. I don't recall what all has been published in the Bulletin about it in the past.
Hi Greg.

20190127_112511.jpg

My Cheshire M3. Stem not attached.

What if.....and this is all just random thinking...... Someone got the leftover material from the factory after it closed. Used some unfinished plates and completed them....say at Lima? But why is it marked for Chicago? If the catalog is dated 1904 that is after the Sept 1903 date of the ceasing of operation.

There is a bulletin article from 1999 that mentions that they seemed to be searching for a new location for a factory. That they approached different cities. Is it possible they established something in Chicago for an extremely short time? Abandoned the stem attached design as they were not making their own cases anymore and reverted back to the original M3 as it would fit a standard case. I do love mysteries.
 
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Kevin Neathery

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American Machinist, Vol 27, Issues 27-52 Page 1283. Sep 22, 1904

There is a statement that WE and OE Bell were hoping to establish a watch factory in Mobile AL.

Goes to show they were still trying a year after the operations stopped in Appleton to open another factory.

Daily Bulletin of the Manufacturers Record, Volumes 17-18, Aug 30, 1907

OE Bell was president of the newly incorporated Southern Watch Co. in Nashville TN. They were going to make gold, goldfilled cases, and repair watch cases.
 

Kevin Neathery

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101405 is 7j and 19size. The size surprised me too. Stem is attached.-Cort
Interesting. Ones I have measured, just below the lip for the dial plate, come up at around a 17s. Would love to see pics of it if possible. Yours also seems to be the highest number. 100103 is a NWS and yours is 1302 higher.
 

4thdimension

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Interesting. Ones I have measured, just below the lip for the dial plate, come up at around a 17s.
I took another measurement but this time I compared the pillar plate to one from a Waltham '83. The Appleton was a hair larger but likely still closer to 18s. Then I compared the top plate to the ones you showed and found a small difference. The two types shown have points on the plate profile near the pallet pivot hole and mine does not, just a smooth curve. Mine has four consentric rings of demaskeen which also differs from yours. Perhaps it is a type 3? I apologize for my inability to post pics.-Cort
 
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Kevin Neathery

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I took another measurement but this time I compared the pillar plate to one from a Waltham '83. The Appleton was a hair larger but likely still closer to 18s. Then I compared the top plate to the ones you showed and found a small difference. The two types shown have points on the plate profile near the pallet pivot hole and mine does not, just a smooth curve. Mine has four consentric rings of demaskeen which also differs from yours. Perhaps it is a type 3? I apologize for my inability to post pics.-Cort
No need to apologize.

I have so far found that the 11j version and the one "gilt" top plate I have. I will ask further questions in PM if that is ok.
 

Kevin Neathery

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Pic of my Northwestern Special #100760):
View attachment 543233

Fred Hansen had NWS on his website a while back with s/n 102213.
Awesome!! Thank you Greg.

Other than the placement of the case screws the watch matches a Cheshire M3. If not for the serial it would almost be thought that they were done at the end of teh Cheshire production or just at the start of the Appleton.
 

Kevin Neathery

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Ok so I am leaning to think that the NW Special watches were made from leftover material from the Cheshire factory. Cheshire # 92421 does show that Appleton was finishing Cheshire movements. This Cheshire has a nickel finish, a Appleton style dial, and is pinned in a different location than a M2 Cheshire. The serial is also very much in the Appleton time.

It is almost like the company was repeating history. The last 2 serials for Cheshire are of a M2 style movement and that is what Appleton used. Then, what appears to be after Appleton production, Cheshire M3 material was used to create a watch marked for Chicago. I say after production because they were for sale after the factory closed is doors. No reason to mark Chicago when you are still making them in Appleton.
 
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Greg Frauenhoff

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The Northwestern Special is an "imitation" railroad watch (Trenton, Seth Thomas and Swiss makers made similar watches, such as Rock Island Special, Trainmen's Special, and the like). The way the name is engraved, along with the location (Chicago), is an obvious attempt to make them seem to be associated with the Chicago and Northwestern RR. In my opinion, they were made as a private label during the Appleton era of production, and are thus an Appleton product. I haven't relocated the period catalog where a "Northwestern Special" is mentioned, but my best recollection is that it dates from about 1904.

One thing that might be helpful in identifying whether the NW Special was made during the Cheshire or Appleton years is to compare the dials. Specifically the front and back surfaces. My recollection is that the Appleton (and NW Specials) dials are "shinier" than most Cheshire dials (which have a more egg shell like surface...I know these aren't very technical descriptions but with the dials in hand you can see the difference).

Anyway, keep the info coming.
 

Kevin Neathery

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For those that think that the Appleton is based on the M3 Cheshire 18s I give you a example. The image was used with the permission of Jones & Horan Auctions.

59-73956-movement 2.jpg

This is a image of Cheshire #73956. This is one of the last 2 highest serials for Cheshire. The image is cut at the same location that the line is for a Appleton. The pattern on the balance cock has the same cut pattern as an Appleton. In order to do the same with a M3 would not be possible. The orientation of the balance cock on a M3, already being freestanding, would not allow for this. The pattern on the balance cock of a M3 is complete and would need no modification.

I still theorize that Cheshire "New Model" with stem attached being produced after the 18s, as seen by serial 73956, are what Appleton was based on. Once there is confirmation that the last 2 or one in the same design and configuration in the end of production of Cheshire is 18 size, this will be the last proof needed.

If you are the owner of 92421, 73956, or any Cheshire after 73500 that is not a M3, please measure the movement and contact me.
 

Kevin Neathery

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The Northwestern Special is an "imitation" railroad watch (Trenton, Seth Thomas and Swiss makers made similar watches, such as Rock Island Special, Trainmen's Special, and the like). The way the name is engraved, along with the location (Chicago), is an obvious attempt to make them seem to be associated with the Chicago and Northwestern RR. In my opinion, they were made as a private label during the Appleton era of production, and are thus an Appleton product. I haven't relocated the period catalog where a "Northwestern Special" is mentioned, but my best recollection is that it dates from about 1904.

One thing that might be helpful in identifying whether the NW Special was made during the Cheshire or Appleton years is to compare the dials. Specifically the front and back surfaces. My recollection is that the Appleton (and NW Specials) dials are "shinier" than most Cheshire dials (which have a more egg shell like surface...I know these aren't very technical descriptions but with the dials in hand you can see the difference).

Anyway, keep the info coming.
The issue with them being made during the Appleton era is that they, so far, have not had any evidence that they were being sold during the Appleton era. The evidence so far shows that they were being sold after Appleton closed up. The style of serial is inconsistent with Appleton. Add to that, there is no sales information from Sweet about them during the Appleton time. He would have been pressing to sell them to raise capital for the failing business. I am still thinking they were made after the doors closed. The only one that seems out of sorts is 93942. Everything else is after 100103.

Even then the 93942 falls after the last Appleton marked one I have recorded at 93752. The oddity after that number is Cort's 101405. But that is a stem attached 18s. If I were to think of history repeating it would be the Cheshire to Appleton change. At the very end of the Cheshire list we have 2 odd watches. One is still within range of Cheshire and the other is well higher, 73956 and 92421. The 92421 was extremely likely finished by Appleton. It is possible that Cort's was finished by whomever was doing the NWS. The doors closed on Appleton and material was sold off. Someone takes said material and finished it off for a quick buck. No point in putting Cheshire on the M3 plates....fake upjewel and pass them off. If the M3 shared parts with the last 2 Cheshire that became the base for the Appleton then you would have all the parts you need to finish a few Appleton and create the NWS with leftover Cheshire plates.

Please note that the balance cock engraved pattern is the same as a Cheshire M3. I could be wrong about all this. The smoking gun would be an ad for a NWS during the Appleton time. But I believe the material was available. But to throw another wrench in all this.........

Seth Thomas produced "Sentinal" and the "Trainsman's Special". The Sentinal is known to be a 2 tone, fake jewels, fake RR watch. Seth Thomas also purchased the leftover stock and machinery from Cheshire after it failed. If you note the serial number style....it is very Seth Thomas. Appleton was producing stem attached watches possibly based on the last Cheshire design. Why did they finish one of this last design marked Cheshire and not any Cheshire M3? It is possible that Seth Thomas retained all the M3 parts and when they sold to Bell they sold the equipment and parts to the last Cheshire model, but not the M3. The M3 was more useful than the stem attached that needed a special case. If Sweet was selling them, he would have publicized it and brought in the money. Seth Thomas though was known for doing these "Fake RR" private label watches. They would have wanted to make them cheap and sell them cheap. A quick buck and using leftover material would be a great way. Seth Thomas would also have had the facility to make the NWS dials, stamp the plates, and do a 2 tone finish. There is no indication that Appleton ever made a 2 tone watch....but Seth Thomas did regularly. I would want to compare the dial of a NWS with a Seth Thomas Fake RR.

Still a mystery......why would Seth Thomas buy up the Cheshire machinery and stock just to sit on it? Too many issues with the NWS to make me think it was an Appleton product or a Cheshire product. Did Appleton\Bell still owe Seth Thomas money when the doors closed?
 

Kevin Neathery

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For those that think that the Appleton is based on the M3 Cheshire 18s I give you a example. The image was used with the permission of Jones & Horan Auctions.

View attachment 544469

This is a image of Cheshire #73956. This is one of the last 2 highest serials for Cheshire. The image is cut at the same location that the line is for a Appleton. The pattern on the balance cock has the same cut pattern as an Appleton. In order to do the same with a M3 would not be possible. The orientation of the balance cock on a M3, already being freestanding, would not allow for this. The pattern on the balance cock of a M3 is complete and would need no modification.

I still theorize that Cheshire "New Model" with stem attached being produced after the 18s, as seen by serial 73956, are what Appleton was based on. Once there is confirmation that the last 2 or one in the same design and configuration in the end of production of Cheshire is 18 size, this will be the last proof needed.

If you are the owner of 92421, 73956, or any Cheshire after 73500 that is not a M3, please measure the movement and contact me.
Oh and to add...the balance cock sat on the top plate of the M1, M2, and the last model Cheshire that I suspect was the ones that became the Appleton. These had large round pins to hold them in place much like what you find on the bottom of most balance cocks. These same pins/pegs are seen on some Appleton as they were drilled through the balance cock. If you look at the balance cock of an Appleton you will find it is actually 2 pieces. That is because they did not machine the balance cock from 1 piece but rather soldered 2 pieces together. The top piece being the same as the last Cheshire and cut off. Thus the "engraved" pattern being cutoff.
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Interesting ideas. Re the c. 1904 mention of Northwestern Special in a trade catalog I haven't yet been able to find it again and believe that it is from one of Roy Ehrhardt's booklets that I no longer own.

Another NWS: #101067
 
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Kevin Neathery

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Interesting ideas. Re the c. 1904 mention of Northwestern Special in a trade catalog I haven't yet been able to find it again and believe that it is from one of Roy Ehrhardt's booklets that I no longer own.

Another NWS: #101067
Awesome! I will add it to my list. That makes 9 NWS.

I am very curious about the ad.
 

Bila

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With regard to the Northwestern Specials they are an 18 Size Pocket watch movement, fit an 18 Size Case and measure to an American 18 size at 44.56mm, they are identical to the Cheshire Model 3's. The NWS's have the same Jewel count to the later 3d Series (Model 3) Cheshire, the cap jewels on the top plate of the NWS are a type of plastic so do not count, the jeweling for both the NWS and the 3d Series Cheshire's are 7 total, all on the escapement as normal.

The earlier 3d Series Cheshire have a jewel count of 4 Jewels only, these are balance hole and Balance hole cap jewel, the pallets are steel as is the roller pin, effectively the same as the "Old Model" Cheshire's, except of coarse the very first which had steel cap plates on the balance so these were 2 jewel.

Erin
 

Bila

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For the Appleton Serial that you inquired about Kevin, which I had sent you on that updated Appleton serial list was jewelled on the top plate, so at least eleven jewels. I never had it in hand, so do not know if it was jewelled on the dial plate. As for the plate being pointed I can not recall, but I will try and find the picture of it
 
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Bila

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Thought I would upload this Ad from 1897 for "The Bell Watch Case Co" which is advertising watches from the "Remington Watch Company" both concerns run by Mr O. E. Bell, yet the Remington Watch Co was not to be up and running for another 4 years. So it appears to be then that Bell was selling Remington Watch Co product before the incorporation of the Company or does it, was this some of the older Cheshire Watch Co leftovers:???:

Bell Watch Case Co and Remington Watch Co Ad.jpg
 

Kevin Neathery

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Incorporation laws may have been state dependant? I Know the Bell Watch Case Co changed its name to the Bell Watch Co in NJ. It also appears it was incorporated in NJ. But Remington Watch Co maybe was incorporated somewhere else and either this is a different incorporation or maybe it was dissolved, moved, and reincorporated in Wisconsin? I do love seeing the ad and the extra mystery. It is awesome! Thank you for posting it. :)
 
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Bila

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Hopefully Greg can find his Ad for the "North Western Special" (NWS), Dad has 20 of Roy's books here and there is not a reference in any of them about the North Western Special that I can find. The only reference that is made of a 23 faux Jeweled watch is to a "Trainmen's Special" which has a Seth Thomas plate layout which appears in a 1905 trade catalog excerpt in one of Roy's books. So until we find info re; NWS there is time frame on when they were sold, so Dad and I are of the opinion that they are very likely made from old Cheshire 3d Series material by the O.E. Bell run Remington Watch Co or possibly one of his other enterprises, as he seem to be evolved in plenty. Of course this only stands until we find other information that might contradict it.
 

Bila

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I found that today Nathan, it is very interesting as it is for 1902, I found some info today in a Jewelers circular that Hahn & Co had a business relationship with L Gutmann & Sons, Kevin had enlightened me to the fact that Gutmann & Son had a business arrangement with a Steve Leubusher who once run a Section of O. E. Bell's concern until their falling out. Most of these players worked out of the same building, this was the Champlain Building on the corner of State & Maddison Streets.

Erin
 
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Greg Frauenhoff

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A trademark for "The North-Western Special" was registered by H.F. Hahn & Co. of Chicago on October 7, 1902 for use on "watches and watch movements."

The documentation indicates first use was March 1902.

Trademark The North-western Special - Watches & Watch Movement by H F Hahn & Co Issued Oct 7, 1902

View attachment 544895
Neat documentation.

I finally found the reference to a NWS. It is from a Jos. Brown & Co., Chicago, catalog reproduced in one of Ehrhadrt's books (Foreign & American Pocket Watch Id & Price Guide, Book 3). Roy gives the date as 1907 (without the actual complete catalog in hand this date might be correct or it might be a best guess on Roy's part). There is no movement cut in this catalog for the watch, though many other fake RR watches are shown.

img029.jpg
 

Bila

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I finally found the reference to a NWS. It is from a Jos. Brown & Co., Chicago

I wonder Greg whether this advertisement is referring to the NWS based on the Model 3 Cheshire or is it one of those El-Cheapo "Full Plate" Swiss Fake RR watches you see? I notice it is also advertising the Vallon & Marvin in the same ad cut which were also manufactured in this Swiss Fake Style of Full Plate RR Watches.
 
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Greg Frauenhoff

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I wonder Greg whether this advertisement is referring to the NWS based on the Model 3 Cheshire or is it one of those El-Cheapo "Full Plate" Swiss Fake RR watches you see? I notice it is also advertising the Vallon & Marvin in the same ad cut which were also manufactured in this Swiss Fake Style of Full Plate RR Watches.
The catalog includes many of the cheapo Swiss fake RR watches, but it also includes some Locomotive/Engineers/Trainmen's Specials which were made by Seth Thomas (or Trenton?...I'd need to compare the adv cuts with the various models as I don't closely follow these low grade mvts).

Anyway, at least the NWS is noted as "21 jewels" and not "23 jewels", but without an adv cut showing the mvt we will never know for sure who the maker was.
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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I found that today Nathan, it is very interesting as it is for 1902, I found some info today in a Jewelers circular that Hahn & Co had a business relationship with L Gutmann & Sons, Kevin had enlightened me to the fact that Gutmann & Son had a business arrangement with a Steve Leubusher who once run a Section of O. E. Bell's concern until their falling out. Most of these players worked out of the same building, this was the Champlain Building on the corner of State & Maddison Streets.

Erin
It would be neat if someone could locate a c. 1902-1905 Hahn catalog. The Hahn price list that I have is from 1888, which is way too early.
 

Bila

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It would be neat if someone could locate a c. 1902-1905 Hahn catalog. The Hahn price list that I have is from 1888, which is way too early

I have seen very little advertising for them Greg, Dad has a part of a letter head, with their name and place of business and a lot of references from periodicals of the day mentioning them as Watch & Jewellery Wholesalers, but no other ads or catalogues. Another brief note in a periodical of the day dated; February 1914, reported that they were in receivership, in their earlier years they were called Hart & Hahn, but this is before 1888 from memory.
 

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Another Northwestern Special has surfaced. I will report the s/n soon.

These are rather decent mvts considering how cheap they were.
 

Brian Cooney

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Another Northwestern Special: 101489.
[/QUOTE

NWS 100899, Hunter

Greetings all, I am a newbie to pocket watch collecting and research. A friend and I happened across this post while trying to find info on the North Western Special. Wanted to share a couple photos and thank all for the information shared... very interesting storylines to dig further into on this watch!

Brian

NWS_FRONT.jpg NWS_BACK.jpg
 

Bila

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Thanks for all the contributions so far, we are still looking for Serial numbers for Research data, so if you have any please contribute, thank you:)
 

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