Hartford Watch Co.

Jethrow

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Have been trying to find information on this old 'Hartford Watch Co.'. The movement resembles a 83 model Waltham. But seems not exactly right. Is it an old Swiss "fake"? Or private Label? Serial#928356 marked 'Adjusted' and '15 jewels'. I have tried to search this site and Google but may have failed to understand the system here. Thanks for any help.
 

Jethrow

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Thank you Bill for confirming my thoughts on this watch. If there are no further comments. Should this thread be closed or moved to the European Watches? Because I was not sure where to post as it resembled a Waltham.
 

samtibalfarst

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I have so many questions for Hartford Watch Co. Serial#928356 marked 'Adjusted' and '15 jewels'.

This Serial I have of my watch Hartford Watch Co

http://www.ceske-kralovstvi.cz/watch2.jpg
 

Kent

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Hi samtibalfarst & Jethrow:

Welcome to the NAWCC American Pocket Watch Message Board!

Your watches appear to be of a type referred to as a “Swiss Fake.” This is a term used to describe inexpensive watches made to resemble medium-to-high grade American watches. They are marked with names similar to those of American watches, or with names that sound as though they should be an American watch. They frequently have a distinctive lettering style on their plates. Another distinctive feature is the lack of a fine finish on exposed parts, such as the winding wheels and regulator (which may be gilded). Many “Swiss Fakes” made to resemble 16-size, American railroad standard watches also have "21 Jewels" on the dial, in an arc over the seconds bit. This too, is in a distinctive (red) lettering style. These watches were imported from the last quarter of the nineteenth century through the end of the American pocket watch era in the 1960’s. On some, their jewels seem to be larger than on most American watches and they may not all be functional. The Elgin Watch Collectors Site contains a 1908 Article Describing One Such Watch.

Also in 1908, C.D. Rood, president of the Hamilton Watch Co. testified before congress during tariff hearings. The text of his testimony is Available Online (although you might have to copy it and blow it up a little to read it) thanks to Robert Sweet.

The markings on “Swiss Fakes” as to adjustment are not to be trusted. No American watches come to mind whose adjustment markings are to less than 3 positions, or 5 adjustments (heat, cold and 3 positions). Markings on “Swiss Fakes” may be 1, 2 or 3 adjustments. The deception occasionally goes as far as simulating a temperature compensated balance. On a true compensated balance, the rim of the balance (wheel) has two cuts, all the way through the rim, one near each of the two arms that support the rim. Sometimes, these cuts are faked by the use of a slot that goes half way through the rim. A real temperature compensated balance has the inside of the rim made of a different color material than the outside of the rim. A faked compensated balance is made entirely of the same material. Most “Swiss Fakes” don’t bother doing this and the balances don’t have any cuts at all. These are not to be confused with post-1930 quality watches whose anti-magnetic, temperature immune balances are not cut.

The Trans Pacific is one of the better-known, 16-size "Swiss Fake" pocket watches, while the Time Ball Special is a well-known 18-size "Swiss Fake." Another 18-size "Swiss Fake," named Howland, made by a different company, Exhibits the Same Style of Lettering and has another attribute which serves as a tipoff. It has an upper plate above the normal top plate. This is hard to see in the image of the Time Ball Special (visible in the manner in which the balance is recessed), but it stands out in the Howland watch, not only because of the recessed balance, but because of the way that the upper jewels are mounted. I cannot think of any high grade watches, American or otherwise, that have this arrangement.

Some "Swiss Fakes" such as the "Frisco Special" have locomotives on the Dial or engraved on the Movement. The nearly identical "Engineers' Special" Dial and Movement movement also bear a locomotive. Very few American watches have this embellishment and when they do, the locomotive will be of American design, not European, as seen on the examples shown in the above links.

In recent years, “Swiss Fakes” have come to appeal to some collectors. They have a charm all their own and those examples in good running condition, that have been serviced properly, keep reasonable time - nothing spectacular - but within a couple of minutes a day or better.

Having said all of the above, perhaps this thread should be moved to the European & Other Pocket Watches Forum.
 

Don Dahlberg

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It looks better than most Swiss fakes until you look at the balance. It appears from the picture not to be split.

Don
 

blur1281

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I unfortunately bought a fake also. Hartford #973384 "Highly Jeweled" 17 jewels adjusted etc =(
 

Kent

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Hi blur1281:

Welcome to the NAWCC European & Other Pocket Watches Message Board!

Would you please post some pictures of your Hartford #973384 so that they can be used as an example of what one looks like?

To post an image, scroll to the top of the thread and click on "FAQ," then scroll down to "vBulletin FAQ" and click on the "How to post images." Once in the "How to post images" box, go about halfway down to the statement "There are two ways to attach images while editing a post on the message board." and follow the instructions there. Note that there is no indication of attaching a file (picture) until you go to actually post your thread or your reply. The picture does not show up in the "Instant Reply" text box in which you've written your thread or your reply, nor does the picture appear in the "Preview." Once you see an indication in the "Manage Attachments" box that your files were uploaded, be sure to submit the post from which you opened the "Manage Attachments" box. If you don't, your files will not really be uploaded. You can test your efforts in the Just Practicing and Learning Forum. If you have a problem getting the picture(s) to load, check your file size and make sure that it is less than 500Kb. If it is, it should load to be posted. Too large of a file size is probably the most common problem in trying to upload a picture.

Thanks,
 

SCinBZ

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Two guys above with the same serial number watch. Add me as either the 3rd owner, or they made a lot of 928356 serial number
 

musicguy

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Yes with these "Swiss Fakes" they were made to resemble medium and high
grade American watches. I guess it was easier to make them all identical
including the serial number. It didn't matter anyway it was a fake serial number
in the sense that they were an indication of how many were made.


Rob
 

WhilhelmIII

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Hi All, I too have a Hartford (Swiss Fake) but my serial number is 975394, still runs like a dream though! Even fakes back in the day were top knotch!
image_123927839 (4).JPG
image_123927839 (3).JPG image_123927839 (8).JPG image_123927839 (9).JPG image_123927839 (8).JPG
 

musicguy

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Hi and welcome to the NAWCC Forum.

Great to see one running!
I would assume they were fine runners, just not what they
looked like or were advertised to be. We see so many variations of these that
it's obvious many people bought them and used them.
You don't see too many pristine ones(almost always beat up) so they were
absolutely functional.


Rob
 

John Matthews

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The case punch mark

1636123866808.png

Imported as an uncased movement and cased in Philadelphia or New Jersey?

John
 
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Rick Hufnagel

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cased in Philadelphia or New Jersey
Imported uncased and cased anywhere they ended up.

Many "Swiss Fakes" are made to American sizes.. so if a jeweler had them on display they would fit any American 16 or 18 size case in stock.

More likely this had been sold mail order and the company (whoever it was) could case them up anyway they wished. Imagine the advertisement... 17 jewel lever watch in a gold plated case for the low low price of $X.99!

The Philadelphia Watch Case Company (owned by Keystone after the turn of the century) used the Arm and Hammer trademark on thinner gold plated cases.
 
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Rick Hufnagel

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Hartford Watch Co, trademark #19047

Registered Feb 17, 1891 to Byron L Strasburger & co, New York, New York. 17 Maiden Ln.


Anyone know how to look up trademarks? I can never get the uspto website to work.

He also registered "Silverex" if anyone has seen one of those. Also "R. Lanier Geneva". So he was definitely dealing with other similar swiss products and made up his own faux names.
 
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KipW

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The Hartford Watch Co. (Swiss fake) was marketed primarily by Sears...FWIW. The movement for the 18s is shown in the Sears Roebuck catalog for 1894. It sold for less than half as much as the similarly cased items Sears sold with Hampden, Waltham or Elgin movements at the customer's discretion.
 

Allan C. Purcell

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These Bradford Watch Company watches were sold in the main by the Patterini & Sons of Bradford. They were all sold by the Waltham Watch Company of America. On one of these watches, the case is stamped " Fahys Montauk N0.1. Pat. Feb. 19th. 1884. Though others are around 1910-20.

Allan.
 

jboger

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The watch pictured in #15 is an obvious knock-off of Waltham's Model 1892, introduced in 1892. At first I thought that late for a Swiss fake as most I've seen were knock-offs of earlier U.S. models from the 1870s and 80s. But post #19 and #22 make it clear that Waltham's Model 1892 was the inspirational source for the Swiss copy.
 

jboger

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In fact, even the dial shown in post #15 is a copy of the double-sunk dial that Waltham used on its Model 1892. Someone was paying attention.

Here are two pictures:

IMG_3021.jpg IMG_3022.jpg
 
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Allan C. Purcell

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So the "Bradford " turn up after a holiday with the customs over here in Germany. In the meantime, I found two Frattitini firms in England, one in Bolton and the other in Bradford. Though there are no clear indications that either sold this watch.

IMG_1645.JPG

IMG_1644.JPG This trademark looks very much like those used by Fahy´s watch cases, without the 1 in the Cameos.

IMG_1641.JPG I tried to find this trademark but failed "Time is Money" is often pound in MIkrolisk" but not this one.
can anyone help?

IMG_1642.JPG The watch and case come in at 169 Gr. Would members think this is a Waltham watch?

I somehow cannot bring myself to believe this was sold in England, It now needs a service.

Regards,

Allan
 

jboger

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Allan:

If you are asking if the movement is a Waltham, the answer is a resounding No. It is what many people call a "Swiss fake," although others object to that designation. Whatever you call it, the movement is Continental in origin.

Cases made of coin silver tend to be U.S. in origin, or at least most frequently U.S. in origin. However, I am inclined to think this is not a U.S.-made case.

I suspect the dial has only two pins, rather than the standard three U.S. watchmakers deployed.

John
 

Allan C. Purcell

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John, thank you for the frank information, I had the feeling there was something wrong with this watch but thought the case was American. So we live and learn. This then leads us back to the Frattini Brothers in Bradford UK.

1663313048830.png

Regards,

Allan
 

jboger

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Allan:

I'm far from certain about the case. It might be American, but the style says no to me. If you look at the Waltham in post #27, the bezel wraps around the front. This reduces the size of the crystal. That's a U.S. case. Then, if you look at the first photo in your post #28, the crystal covers nearly the entire front of the case. I think your watch has an English-style case although not necessarily made in the UK.

I am not sure of this. It's an impression I have from seeing many watches over the years. U.S. cases seem to me to have smaller crystals due to bigger bezels when compared to English--style cases. If I'm right, I haven't a clue why there would be this national difference. Either way, I welcome being told I'm right or wrong.

John
 

PatH

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Maybe it's my eyes, but does it say "Time is Money" or "Time is Monney"?
 
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Allan C. Purcell

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Zeit ist Geld? I think that looking at these cases can be a problem, though believe it or not all three dials have a diameter of 4.6 Cm. The one on the left is an Illinois and the one on the right is an Elgin. I think there is more to this story John. The Elgin is Silveride 150Gr. The Bradford 156Gr. and Illinois is a whopping 188Gr.

PAT, as usual, your eyes are better than mine.

Allan.

IMG_1649.JPG
 

jboger

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Allan:

I do believe all three dials have the same diameter. All three movements are size 18 on the Lancashire scale and thus have the same size dials. U.S. watchmaking is the offspring of English watchmaking, hence the same scale. The Swiss copies were made on this same scale, not lignes, and were made to fit in U.S. cases. (I'm not telling you anything you don't already know.)

Anyway, when I looked at your last photo of the three watches, I did not recognize the Bradford at first. And I still thought the case was different from the other two, which I immediately recognized as American for the reason I gave above. I think there are subtle but distinct national differences in case designs.

John
 

Tom McIntyre

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The English call the case with the full crystal front a crystal case. The bezel opening is rather wider than on an American open face watch,

Walthams from the turn of the century show up in the English style case fairly often but I don't know if I have seen a coin silver example.
 

Allan C. Purcell

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So let us start again, first mistake is the spelling by me, it should read Frattorini Brothers, Bradford.

This little film is a classic John.



1663400083395.png Just to show the dial.

1663400182169.png 1663400328880.png This one is a 100% Swiss-made case.




1663400565158.png This then is a Swiss movement pretending to be a Waltham pocket watch. Very much like mine.

1663400735604.png A little later than mine key wind, but very much Swiss. Though all this must have been organised by the Frattorini Brothers? So end of the story John. Thank you.

Allan.
 

John Matthews

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Allan are you saying that the last two photographs are of a watch with a Swiss movement?

The movement #5586187 appears to me to check out as a genuine Waltham model 1883 grade 1 movement, part of a batch of 7000 from 1892. Willing to be corrected. The pendant is a little different then others I found and does have a Swiss look about it, but I don't not know whether that is just a reflection of the range of cases that were used.

John
 

VinSer

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I do not completely share the attribution by Mr. Purcell to Fattorini & Sons (sorry but I cannot find any trace of a Frattorini Brothers).

I would tend to see it as a one of the many Swiss import to the US market.

"The complete guide to American pocket watches : pocket watches from 1809-1950 included " from Shugart & Cooksey lists in the swiss imports to the US also the Bradford Watch Co and shows this watch from Julien Gallet & Cie registered in Switzerland in 1887.
bradford w co.jpg

However this watch has Bradford W. Co written on the watch and the calibre looks different from the one shown by Mr. Purcell.

Also in the Rural New Yorker , edition of 5 October 1889, is present this advertising for the Bradford Watch Company. I cannot definitely prove that it is the importer to the US of the Swiss watch shown by Mr. Purcell, but not to be discounted.
bradford watch company.jpg


Ciao
 

Allan C. Purcell

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Mr Purcell is most impressed with your research Ciao. At the moment my Bradford watch was made in Switzerland by the Bradford Watch Company.

You must agree though that the Frattorini´s of Bradford did and do exist, as you must have seen above. Thank you for clearing this little mystery, I will now try to find out more about this Swiss firm. and those behind the shop in New York.

Fond regards,

Allan (Mr Purcell) :emoji_sunglasses:
 

VinSer

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I am really sorry Allan to insist, however you write Frattorini and all the links you add, the video as well as the google search, are for Fattorini .

Also on the dial of one of the watches you present, it is written Fattorini & Sons - Bradford

So yes I totally agree with you that Fattorini & Sons did exist in Bradford, less about Frattorini Brothers :)

Ciao
Luigi
 

Allan C. Purcell

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1663517745342.png Having a fake French, German, English, Swiss or even American is turning into a really interesting research project. I have been unable to find a copy of the two globes between the eagle's wings, with "Time is Monney" engraved on the plate. Must send it to Mikrolisk.
Sill looking,

to be cont.....
1663517883839.png
1663524371124.png
1663524443346.png The watch from George Taggart.
 
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