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Columbus Private Labels

Dave Coatsworth

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Please post your Columbus private label watches in this thread. When posting, please include photos whenever possible (obeying copyright law, of course). For the description, please provide the serial number, model and grade information, and any information you have obtained about the retailer who's name appears on the watch. The more information, the better. We would like to make this more than just a list. It will, hopefully, become a prime resource for private label research. Thanks in advance to all who contribute!
 

Jim Haney

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Dave,
I believe you have a weak spot for these old KW's, What do think of the Adjusted stamping?
 

Dave Coatsworth

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Actually, this one is on its way to a friend in Wisconsin. Don't know what 'adjusted' constitutes on this one. It does seem to be a fairly high grade movement for an early Columbus.
 

Jerry Treiman

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I had forgotten that I had this orphaned dial for an 18-size Columbus. The dial is marked "Fred Baehr / St. Louis, Mo."
Baehr.jpg
 
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Rick Hufnagel

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Serial number 13155
Movement marked "Carpenter, Mauch Chunk, Pa"

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Samuel Carpenter
Birth Jan 9, 1847
Death Feb 20, 1929

According to census records he started on his own sometime in the 1880s. In 1880 he is listed as working for a jeweler, and in 1890 he is listed as just jeweler. Going from this watch, I would say first half of the 1880s he started his own business.

He retired between 1910-20.

There are multiple war records for Samuel Carpenter, but i cant pin down which one is him, if any. There are multiple people by the same name. If they are his records, he lied about his birth age by a couple years. Not unheard of at all.

Mauch Chunk, Pa is a town founded in 1818 by a group of businessmen who saw an opportunity in coal mining the area. The Lehigh coal and navigation company surveyed the land and set up shop. Over the next century the area would see a canal built, railroads and a major population increase.

The name is Lenape indian for "bear mountain". Mauch Chunk no longer carries that absolutely incredible, fun to say name. It is now the town of Jim Thorpe. Renamed in 1953 after the Native American olympic champion.

These early Columbus movements have interested me since the first time one came across my path. I never could find the right one, but here it is! Early open-faced, jeweled (not sure if 11 or 15 yet). Key/stemwind and lever set. It has a female winding arbor unlike other examples I've seen. Three case screws, two on the top plate and one on the bottom(just adding this because the movements are not all the same). I believe this is the original case, all the marks match up and the case manufacturer was in business at the time. I did have to change the stem and crown, there was one in it that didn't fit. The crystal is hazed, but will probably stay because its a nice heavy, perfectly fit flat beveled glass. Maybe some diamond powder will clean it up.

I didn't polish the case, someone else did. Had to scrub out a ton of polish that worked it way into the case.
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Thanks for reading my madness and happy to finally add that perfect (for me) early Columbus to the watch pile!
 
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Rick Hufnagel

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So... since I finally found my early Columbus above, I decided to keep an eye out for a good private label American made one.

I couldn't resist this one with the Owen regulator, decent gilt and matching P.L. Dial. I love good 15 jewel Gilt movements.

43731 stemwind hunter

With 15 jewels in settings, Gilt and over-coil hairspring it is a grade 32 according to Greg Frauenhoff's "History and products of the Columbus Watch Company" which I borrowed from the NAWCC library.

IMG_20201117_170232944.jpg IMG_20201117_163028685.jpg

It lives in a big nickel Philadelphia sb&b case, which is just fine.

The movement and dial are marked for Robert Breitenbecher of Detroit Michigan. When this movement passed through his shop he had two of his three sons (Charles and Henry), and his daughter(Minnie) working there. Both sons listed as watchmakers and daughter as a clerk. The store was located at 165 Bates. He was in business from at least the mid 1870s to the turn of the century. Probably longer than this, but I haven't been able to dig up too much on this jeweler.