$ Cornell Watch Co.?

James Foster

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Dec 13, 2010
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I have two Keywind, Keyset 18 size watches in coin silver cases. One is labeled "Cook County Watch Co." on the movement and "Chicago" on the movement and dial with a serial number of 27,521. The second is labeled "The Ethan Allen Watch" on the dial and movement with a serial number of 59,994.

Looking at the pictures and descriptions associated with what appears to be the movement design in the "Complete Price Guide to Watches" (CPGW), The "Chicago" watch should have been made after Cornell moved to San Francisco, California. But, CPGW makes no mention of private labeled watches.

After serial number 35,000 it looks like the company was sold to the California Watch Co., that made 5,000 watches, then was sold to the Independent Watch Co. who made 180,000 watches and seems would be the maker of "The Ethan Allen Watch". But, again no mention of private labeled watches. It also seems Independent Watch Co. was buying from various manufacturers and the movement design changes a great deal from one manufacturer to another.

My two watches look very similar. Please give me an opinion of who made the watches and their value.
 

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Dave Coatsworth

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The 'Cook County' watch is definitely a Swiss Fake. (Click on the link to read more about Swiss Fakes.) I believe the Ethan Allen watch is, as well.

There are collectors who collect Swiss Fakes, but the values are minimal.
 

James Foster

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​​Mr Coatsworth

After reviewing the link, I agree both are likely Swiss Fakes. A portion of the "h" on 'The Ethan Allen Watch" is covered by the balance bridge. I was not aware of the existence of counterfeit watches of this era. I read in the price guide that many of the watches made by Independent Watch Co. sold for $16. Intuitively, I would think there might be a better choice to fake but I guess it depends on the relative values at the time of the counterfeit. It shouldn't surprise me. In fact I have a wooden works clock with a paper in the back that says it was made in Youngtown, Tennessee. It is my understanding there has never been a Youngtown, Tennessee. The story is that the clock was made in the northeast and this is an example of tax evasion circa 1860.

Thank you for your insight.
 

Jon Hanson

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Hi, Both of these watches are Swiss fakes--some of the ways to tell are the frequent mis-spelling of the company names, the wrong range of serial numbers (as compared to original American watches), the poor finish, the fake jewels or jewel count, the poor quality, poor engraving, and (also many times) the 2 footed dials rather than three as most American made dials are.

Hope this helps.

Jon
 

Turtle-Time

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Dec 2, 2019
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Here’s my “Ethan Allen Watch” which I now know is a Swiss fake.

0D5509E3-67B1-418B-B56E-D41D28434BDD.jpeg 4C39346C-EE19-40AE-A04B-7A31D0B3B9B7.jpeg DEFDBC77-0064-42A0-94D3-39ECA59A599A.jpeg
 
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