Most visitors online was 1660 , on 12 Dec 2020
Great watches, Ethan. My home wasn't close enough to see the Clairton mills, but when I first moved to Pittsburgh in 1979, I could sometimes smell them from my neighborhood.I have dissected my collection into many sub-collections, e.g., monogrammed watches, but never into inscribed watches, so I have never before considered which inscriptions are my favorites. Few have truly distinguished inscriptions, such as the examples Clint posted, but here are three candidates for favorites in my collection.
Back in the late teens of the last century, a woman bought a 14k Knapp-cased Illinois Grade 435 for her son, a scarce high-grade watch of which Illinois only made 310. She or her son had it engraved "Mother to John" but the engraver forgot to skip a space between "to" and John", so that the inscription reads Mother toJohn". That's not the only thing odd about the engraving. That inscription is in a larger and different font than the inscribed date, suggesting that the two inscriptions were done by different engravers at different times. The botched inscription also appears oddly placed below center of the cuvette. There's nothing to like about this poorly executed job, except its decidedly human aspect. Nearly all of the engravings on my other watches were done exceedingly well.
View attachment 652721
One for Clint
Because Clint lives in or near Pittsburgh, he may especially appreciate the bit of local history inscribed on this 14k W.W.C.Co.-cased Elgin Grade 156 -- given as an award to R.A. Douglass for high steel tonnage produced at Carnegie Steel's Clairton mill near Pittsburgh.
View attachment 652724 View attachment 652722
Another Civil War Watch
Because President Lincoln wasn't a shoo-in for re-election for a second term, supporters looking for ways to increase his chances successfully rushed to admit Nevada as a state (something like the Democrats' present desire to make D.C. a state). This 18k Charles Frodsham WI watch was given to C.W. Tozier in honor of his serving as the speaker of Nevada's first legislative assembly as a state. Clint included this watch in the NAWCC Museum exhibition he curated on Civil War watches.
View attachment 652728 View attachment 652723
Sadly, I think that before SSA and pensions, fifty-year careers were more common than one might think, especially when employment careers often began at age seventeen or even before. Of course, life expectancies were lower too, but even so. Presentation watches like Jerry's probably became much less common once employers more frequently provided pensions. One of the first collectable watches I ever bought was a Keystone Howard that was presented to a retiree for fifty years of service to the Shoe & Leather Bank of Boston. I have a hand-blown glass bowl - a white elephant, really - that was presented to me for forty years of service to the Naval Nuclear Laboratory. It sits on my coffee table. When I retired last year, I was probably one of the few longest-serving PhDs at NNL. I have a pension, though, so I can buy my own gold watches when I want to, especially since I flunked retirement and took a part-time job with a new employer.