information on a Howard watch

richiec

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At dinner last night, a friend of mine pulled out some old watches from his family he found as they are moving. One was a Howard, serial number 987627, it is a 17 jewel watch still in the Howard case. Any information on it is appreciated.
 

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Kent

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It appears to be a 12-size Series 7 made by Keystone-Howard. The serial number vs. date list in Complete Price Guide to Watches, No 27, C. Shugart, T. Engle and R. Gilbert, Tinderbox Press, Mount Pleasant, SC, 2007 (a new edition comes out each year in February. This book is available at libraries, most major bookstores and online at the NAWCC Gift Shop - ask for the latest edition), show is to be made in about 1910-1911, a date that might be fairly accurate.

The following information is mostly based upon “The Howard Ten Size Watch,” Arthur N. Borg, NAWCC Bulletin No. 129 (August 1967): pp.941-64.

The Keystone Watch Case Co. purchased the rights to use the Howard name on watches (Note: from the E. Howard Watch & Clock Co.) sometime around 1903, reportedly to provide a market for their better grades of cases. At first, the firm had watches built under the E. Howard name by the American Waltham Watch Co., which Keystone-Howard then marketed. The watches were labeled "E. Howard Watch Co."

Its said that Keystone "finished" these watches at the New York Standard Watch Co., a firm, based in New Jersey, already owned by Keystone. However, it may be that the "finishing" may have simply meant mounting a dial and placing the movement in a case. The reason for the quotation marks is that the term "finish" in the watch industry usually refers to the process of turning a set of raw movement parts into a smoothly functioning movement, as well as adding whatever decorating that was to be done. The overall quality of watches produced by Standard was well below the high grade watches that Keystone-Howard offered and the New York Standard plant may not have had the necessary capability of such fine work.

Back in 1901, the Philadelphia Watch Case Co. had purchased the U.S. Watch Co. at Waltham, see:
elginwatches.org/scans/non_elgin_articles/m_1901_philadelpha_buys_US_watch_co.html
To view, go to the Elgin Watch Collectors Site Home Page at elginwatches.org, then copy and paste the address in your browser's address bar and click on 'Go' (Note: This website has not been available for the last few days) .
Jerry Treiman reported in a message board thread About a U.S. Watch Co. Watch that "... the history provided in legal documents for the anti-trust case against Keystone ... states that all of the capital stock of a newly organized Philadelphia Watch Case Co. (August 1900) was owned by Keystone. Thus, Keystone acquired a watch factory in Massachusetts. By 1905, Keystone-Howard had patented a 16-size, 17-jewel, three-quarter plate movement design which they began making in both hunting-case and open-face versions under the “E. Howard Watch Co.” name. Keystone-Howard stopped manufacturing watches around 1930, a victim of the Depression. The rights to the Howard name for use on watches was then sold to Hamilton.

Fred Hansen has posted a 1907 Keystone-Howard catalog entitled "The Newest Products of the Howard." This shows the watches made for Keystone-Howard by Waltham.
A reprint of a 48-page 1912 Howard catalog is available from Vintage Catalogs. Also, a reprint of a 52-page 1918 Howard catalog (Catalogue No. 7) is available from Arlington Books.

Good luck,
 
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