• The Bulletins and Marts are again available online. The network connectivity problem has been fixed. Thank you all very much for your patience.

From the bottom of the Havana Harbor

Greg Frauenhoff

NAWCC Fellow
NAWCC Member
Aug 25, 2000
5,003
2,366
113
Inside back cover of watch case marked "The Maine" along with date when this battleship exploded in Havana Harbor. Supposedly made (by W. F. Doll of New York) from metal recovered from the wreck.

And a view of the high grade mvt found inside the case.

img249.jpg img250.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: grtnev and musicguy

doug sinclair

Registered User
Aug 27, 2000
14,364
67
48
Calgary, Alberta
Country
Region
Remarkably not showing signs of rust. High grade? Thou jest, of course! Unless I miss my guess, that looks like a 7-jewel, 18-size Trenton movement! A treasure, none the less, for what it represents.
 

Kevin W.

NAWCC Member
Apr 11, 2002
23,313
602
113
64
Nepean, Ontario, Canada
Country
Region
Yeah looks in great shape for being in salt water.
 

Kent

Gibbs Literary Award
NAWCC Fellow
NAWCC Silver Member
Aug 26, 2000
18,556
2,039
113
Country
Yeah, the case is the real thing! Although, I'm, not sure of about the movement.

W. F. Doll bought, from the U.S. government, scrap steel remnants recovered from the USS Maine in Havana harbor and made them into cases which were then marketed as souvenirs.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

richiec

NAWCC Member
Feb 24, 2007
7,101
782
113
68
Brick, Ocean, NJ
Country
Region
Shame they don't tell you what "special" movements they put in them. Based on what he was selling he was really trying to capitalize on the sinking of the Maine, real ambulance chaser.
 

Kent

Gibbs Literary Award
NAWCC Fellow
NAWCC Silver Member
Aug 26, 2000
18,556
2,039
113
Country
W. F. Doll was quite a character, but you're really not being fair to him.

The Spanish-American war was a major event at the time and there were endless promotions and product tie-ins, such as these Fahys' cases.

Besides, the attitudes that we hold today are not all like those in vogue over a hundred years ago. Although William Randolph Hearst didn't actually say, "You supply the pictures I'll supply the war." (it's a quote from the movie "Citizen Kane"), it reflects the attitude of the times.
 
Last edited:

Greg Frauenhoff

NAWCC Fellow
NAWCC Member
Aug 25, 2000
5,003
2,366
113
Shame they don't tell you what "special" movements they put in them.
A short news story in the Sept 28, 1898, Jewelers' Circular states that they used 16s Waltham mvts, but I really doubt this given how cheap the complete watches were selling for. The third ad in Kent's post above shows the type of dial that has been seen on New England made mvts in Maine cases. The 18s Trenton mvt occupying my case has a dial marked "Dewey" etc. with Flag similar to the 2nd ad in Kent's post (I will upload a picture of it soon). There is a variant of the Trenton dial with some extra verbiage below the flag that is also known. Since Kent's 3rd ad notes that cases were being sold separately, I suppose any make could possibly be in them. However, from what little I've been able to find, the early complete watches came with New England mvts and later (after Oct. 1899) some were made with Trenton mvts.


It is interesting to note that the early watch cases were claimed to be made from metal recovered from the Maine (there are testimonials from various Navy officials who sold Doll this scrap) but that Kent's 3rd ad notes that Doll had been buying real guns (for gun metal) of Navy origin but not necessarily from the Maine. Perhaps he ran out of the earlier Maine metal.
 
Last edited:

Greg Frauenhoff

NAWCC Fellow
NAWCC Member
Aug 25, 2000
5,003
2,366
113
Front view of dial on my Trenton. Dates of May 1 98 refers to Admr. Dewey's victory over the Spanish fleet at Manilla.

BTW, the case on my Trenton is serial numbered whereas the one I came across with a New England mvt isn't. Also, the other Trenton that I've seen with a similar dial has a McKinley quote underneath on it as well (if you go to Jones-Horan.com and search their old auctions you will find the watch).

Although they were really cheap (even being used to sell magazine subscriptions) these "Dewey" watches are rather interesting. Especially the one with the flag on the dial.

img263.jpg
 
Last edited:

Joseph Short

NAWCC Member
Oct 9, 2010
422
143
43
Framingham Mass.
Country
Region
Shame they don't tell you what "special" movements they put in them. Based on what he was selling he was really trying to capitalize on the sinking of the Maine, real ambulance chaser.
We have the same sort of "ambulance chaser" today. Ever seen those info mercials for 911 commemorative items? 24 karat gold clad garbage worth a small fortune but available for an unlimited limited tme only for only a few pennies plus shipping and handling?
In my mind after more than 100 years, this watch has much more validity.
 

Greg Frauenhoff

NAWCC Fellow
NAWCC Member
Aug 25, 2000
5,003
2,366
113
FWIW, some navy bigwigs were given Dewey watches and wrote glowing testimonials about them that were used in ads. I think that Kent has it right: attitudes 100 years ago were different than today. I don't know what TR thought about these watches, but it wouldn't surprise me if he approved of them.
 
  • Like
Reactions: grtnev

Greg Frauenhoff

NAWCC Fellow
NAWCC Member
Aug 25, 2000
5,003
2,366
113
Just to be clear, I'm not offering my own opinion as to whether the Dewey watches are "tacky" or inappropriate (they are, however, very collectible today). However, it is worth reminding us what the people of time thought of them. So here are some quotes from a short news story that appear in JC&HR of 1898.

"The steel in the case...procured through the courtesy of Rear Admiral Bunce, U. S. N...."

"The watch is a beautiful and valuable souvenir of the "Maine"...C. D. Sigsbee, Captain U. S. Navy"

So, the navy sold Doll the steel and Sigsbee (Capt. of the Maine!!!) approved of the watch. Thus, the navy had no problem with these souvenirs.
 
  • Like
Reactions: grtnev

Clint Geller

Gibbs Literary Award
NAWCC Fellow
NAWCC Member
Jul 12, 2002
2,459
2,165
113
67
Pittsburgh, PA
clintgeller.com
Country
Region
Speaking of Admiral Sigsbee, watches, and the USS Maine:

1627413160595.png

Amusingly, this ad from the E. Howard Watch Co. shamelessly tauts the reputed reliability of an E. Howard & Co. watch made 35 years before the E. Howard Watch Co. was founded. Ah well, details, minor details.
 
Last edited:

musicguy

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 12, 2017
8,353
4,820
113
New York State
Country

Clint Geller

Gibbs Literary Award
NAWCC Fellow
NAWCC Member
Jul 12, 2002
2,459
2,165
113
67
Pittsburgh, PA
clintgeller.com
Country
Region
Funny.


Rob
Oh, and just to blur the issue even further, the ad states: "E. Howard Watch Works, Boston," using only the part of the two names that is common to both companies, and not bothering to mention that the new company that placed the ad was located in Waltham, not Boston.
 
  • Like
Reactions: PapaLouies

Forum statistics

Threads
169,671
Messages
1,480,935
Members
49,089
Latest member
Raimondas
Encyclopedia Pages
1,060
Total wiki contributions
2,965
Last update
-