Jos Johnson Private Label

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by John Cote, Feb 6, 2020.

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  1. John Cote

    John Cote Director
    Director NAWCC Member

    Aug 26, 2000
    4,252
    610
    113
    Photographer
    Midwest USA
    Country Flag:
    I wish I had gotten to this watch before the case had been scrapped...but this seems to be the way of the world. I collect both American and European private label watches and especially PLs from my adopted home town of Indianapolis, Indiana. Indianapolis was and is called The Crossroads of America because of all of the railroad lines which crossed here. It was the home of The Big Four.

    Anyway I just thought I would show off my newest and what must be the earliest Indy private label...at least that I have seen. It seems to be a slightly better than average Jos. Johnson, 25 Church St, Liverpool movement with diamond endstone and compensated balance. My guess is that the movement dates to the early 1850s but I would love to hear other opinions. It was made as a private label for W. H. Talbott and Co of Indianapolis, which was an early retailer of watches, jewelry and flatware in Indy. There is still a Talbott Street in Indy.

    The photos, in case anyone cares were taken with my iPhone 7+ in cloudy window light.

    Talbott-Dial.jpg Talbott-Cover.jpg Talbott-Mvt.jpg
     
    Rick Hufnagel and Keith R... like this.
  2. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    5,726
    2,377
    113
    Male
    Retired Sr. Proj. mgr,
    South
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    #2 Keith R..., Feb 6, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2020
    John, your SN# comes close to one owned by Oliver Mundy (15xxx).

    Here is mine from 1842, SN# 14201. It's on Oliver's list.

    From Oliver's Johnson's data base, the numbers sequence for PL's should
    follow suit.

    Nice movement, cover and dial!! One of just a few Johnson Private Labels.

    ***Edit for John C. I'd say 1850 on the mark. I have one also from 1842 with
    a split compensated balance wheel, but would guess an upgrade. I think the
    chronometer balance wheels were a given post 1850.

    Keith R...

    jj173 (500x375).jpg jj173a (500x375).jpg 100_3971 (1024x768).jpg
     
  3. John Cote

    John Cote Director
    Director NAWCC Member

    Aug 26, 2000
    4,252
    610
    113
    Photographer
    Midwest USA
    Country Flag:
    Thanks Keith. Yours is a beauty. Man oh man do I wish I had the case for this watch. What a shame.
     
    Keith R... likes this.
  4. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    5,726
    2,377
    113
    Male
    Retired Sr. Proj. mgr,
    South
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    BTW John, my case on the Josh Johnson includes the movement number 14201, but the
    case HM is 1877. The jeweler was kind enough to include the movement number following
    English tradition. The 1842 date coincides with Oliver's data base. So the original owner
    out of GB, wore his original case out. I purchased it out of England originally.

    Keith R...
     
  5. John Cote

    John Cote Director
    Director NAWCC Member

    Aug 26, 2000
    4,252
    610
    113
    Photographer
    Midwest USA
    Country Flag:
    Keith,

    It is interesting and not surprising to find out that Americans were not the only people to recase watches after the original cases wore out. I think I may have a period coin case which will fit this movement. One day, when I get time, I may get motivated to clean it, case it up and wear it from time to time.

    Thanks again. This sharing of information is why I joined the NAWCC and why I continue to love it.
     
    Keith R... likes this.
  6. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    5,726
    2,377
    113
    Male
    Retired Sr. Proj. mgr,
    South
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Look for a swing out case John, here's one on my 19J Johnson, 52MM.
    Oops, not a Dennison but a later case. Movement 1842 also.

    Keith R...

    100_3725 (800x600).jpg jj811 (800x800).jpg jj813 (800x800).jpg jj814 (800x800).jpg
     
    John Cote likes this.
  7. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Sep 22, 2015
    2,318
    1,037
    113
    Male
    Retired Systems Architect
    France
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    John I did a little research into this W H Talbott , the results of which may be familiar to you, but in the context of this Johnson movement I think what I found is worth posting.

    Washington Houston Talbott is said to have operated between c.1855-1865 and is listed as a dealer in jewellery, watches silver ware and fancy goods in the 1855 Indianapolis trade directory (which is the earliest I have access to).

    upload_2020-2-9_10-20-52.png

    Although I have not been able to find any earlier trade directories, I did note that there was a Talbott, Bailey & Co listed on one site with the earlier date of 1852.

    upload_2020-2-9_10-23-49.png

    I also found evidence of silversmiths and watch makers associated with Talbott & Co. in subsequent trade directories

    1857

    upload_2020-2-9_10-28-44.png

    1858 - 2 apprentices & a watchmaker

    upload_2020-2-9_10-33-11.png upload_2020-2-9_11-13-57.png upload_2020-2-9_11-14-49.png upload_2020-2-9_10-30-12.png

    1860 Jenison now designated as a jeweller and an engraver employed

    upload_2020-2-9_10-54-25.png upload_2020-2-9_10-57-33.png

    1861

    upload_2020-2-9_10-50-42.png upload_2020-2-9_10-48-55.png upload_2020-2-9_10-49-54.png

    1864 is the last year I could find the firm listed.

    upload_2020-2-9_11-11-14.png

    In 1865 the firm was succeeded by G M Jenison, H I Nelson and A R Jenison operating as Jenison, Nelson & Co - there is a newspaper entry from the Indiana State Gazetteer here.

    I have seen a few Liverpool watches that had been exported to America where the cap is similarly engraved as John's example. I have one myself on a cap fitted to a Lewis Samuel movement. Such engraving on the cap of movements that were not exported, I have never seen and I therefore infer that the possibility that the engraving was done in America cannot be ruled out - in this case, it may have been done by the engraver employed by Talbott. I conclude that it would be dangerous to draw conclusions as to the age of the movement, solely based upon the period when W H Talbot & Co. were active.

    John
     
  8. John Cote

    John Cote Director
    Director NAWCC Member

    Aug 26, 2000
    4,252
    610
    113
    Photographer
    Midwest USA
    Country Flag:
    John,

    Thanks very much. I had encountered some of this in my quick internet search but not all of it. East Washington St, just east of Meridian and the first block just west had several of the prominent early jewelers in Indianapolis. There were still jewelry stores on the first block west when I was a little kid. A couple of them were WH Marcy, Bingham & Walk (later Julius Walk and sons). Goodman's came later. Also downtown but off of Washington were Bernloehr & Brothers and Sipe. All of these stores had watchmakers and all sold private label watches from Patek to Vacheron and American brands. I collect as many of these as I can find.
     
  9. Lychnobius

    Lychnobius Registered User

    Aug 5, 2015
    518
    149
    43
    Semi-retired designer & printer
    Redruth, Cornwall, UK
    Country Flag:
    No. 16394 shows every sign of being a genuine Johnson product (many items signed with this name are not). The dial looks like the work of the same painter who made the dial of my No. 15488; I have not got an adequate photograph of this, but it shows the same technique of using a single line, rather than two, to define the minute and second tracks. Compensated balances were still quite scarce on British watches but were often fitted to items for the American market. The original case would probably have been gold and of American make.

    Oliver Mundy.
     
    John Cote and Keith R... like this.
  10. John Cote

    John Cote Director
    Director NAWCC Member

    Aug 26, 2000
    4,252
    610
    113
    Photographer
    Midwest USA
    Country Flag:
    Thanks so much for the information Oliver. I am very proud to have it and will look for some kind of case for it just to keep it safer from the elements.
     
  11. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    5,726
    2,377
    113
    Male
    Retired Sr. Proj. mgr,
    South
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    From my collection, a private label out of Maine with John's runner design.
    Case, Ralph Samuels, 1850.

    Seeing a Johnson private label is a first for me!

    Keith R...

    OLLY2 (966x1024).jpg Olly4 (1190x1024).jpg 100_0919 (800x600).jpg Oliver (450x459) - Copy.jpg
     
  12. John Cote

    John Cote Director
    Director NAWCC Member

    Aug 26, 2000
    4,252
    610
    113
    Photographer
    Midwest USA
    Country Flag:
    Man oh man do I love it. Having the paper is outstanding.
     
    Keith R... likes this.

Share This Page