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Private labels

G

Gan

The name ‘private label’ is associated with placing on a watch the name and often the location of the watch distributor/retailer in addition to, or instead of, the name of the watch maker. Such labeling certainly was a good advertisement for the watch retailers, mostly jewelers, and increased their local prestige.

The pocket watches with ‘private labels’ can be studied as a group of watches made by a specific makers but distributed by different retailers, who ordered their names and locations to be added to the watch back plate or even to the watch dial. Another approach is to study the ‘private labels’ of a specific retailer, who possibly was buying such watches from different makers. The first analysis allows finding some geographical information on the distribution of watches made by specific makers, and on some aspects of the watch makers and watch retailers marketing strategies; the second one - provides the information on the watch supply sources for the specific retailers at the specific locations. It appears that the current studies on ‘private label’ watches concentrate rather on the first approach.

Some general comments on the issue of ‘private label’ watches are sought. The collectors of such watches are certainly interested in their relative rarity. Are listings of specific ‘private label’ watches provided on this MB (or associated with it), the only practical ways to generate respective estimates?
 
G

Gan

The name ‘private label’ is associated with placing on a watch the name and often the location of the watch distributor/retailer in addition to, or instead of, the name of the watch maker. Such labeling certainly was a good advertisement for the watch retailers, mostly jewelers, and increased their local prestige.

The pocket watches with ‘private labels’ can be studied as a group of watches made by a specific makers but distributed by different retailers, who ordered their names and locations to be added to the watch back plate or even to the watch dial. Another approach is to study the ‘private labels’ of a specific retailer, who possibly was buying such watches from different makers. The first analysis allows finding some geographical information on the distribution of watches made by specific makers, and on some aspects of the watch makers and watch retailers marketing strategies; the second one - provides the information on the watch supply sources for the specific retailers at the specific locations. It appears that the current studies on ‘private label’ watches concentrate rather on the first approach.

Some general comments on the issue of ‘private label’ watches are sought. The collectors of such watches are certainly interested in their relative rarity. Are listings of specific ‘private label’ watches provided on this MB (or associated with it), the only practical ways to generate respective estimates?
 

Jerry Treiman

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Wonderful topic. There has certainly been a lot of focus on the private label production of one company. Witness the recognition of the aggressive marketing by the Illinois Watch Co. who would make not only private labels, but would customize movements for big purchasers (e.g. Washington Watch Co. or Ariston labels). John Fogarty's documentation of Elgin private labels is another excellent example. Waltham has also been a recent focus on this board, looking at the private-label 1883 models.

However, there is also an interest in exploring the offerings of a single label. For example, this linked thread explores watches for Mermod Jaccard & Co. My own research has led be to explore watches made for Bigelow, Kennard & Co., and I expect there are other collectors out there with a similar focus. The focus on a single retailer also suits those looking for a home-town connection.

Establishing rarity of any of these will require laborious compilation of known examples, since the companies did not keep detailed records of their private label production. Since Illinois, for example, probably made very small lots of single labels, perhaps as few as 10 watches, the significance of the rarity will also have to be determined by the market. There may be little interest in a watch for Joe Blow of Hoboken, but there is a much greater interest if the label is for a railroad watch inspector or has a famous connection.
 

Jeff Hess

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This thread is destined to be a great one!

I think many of us have great interest in this.

Old retailers with aggressive sales techniques and finer movements in interest me for example. Those like, CD Peacock, Shreve Crump & Low, Baily Banks & Biddle etc.

Plus those who are in that "gray area" of private labels, companies like Tiffany and Ball who were also manufacturers as well as private label oriented.

Jeff Hess
 

Don Dahlberg

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Jeff,

According to the Hamilton records, Ball's involvement in the manufacture of watches was limited to final adjustment and casing. They stopped even doing this in 1929. Did they ever do more than this? What was the involvement of Tiffany in their watches?

Concerning the topic of private labels. I was surprised to see that Hamilton did not charge extra for the service.

Hamilton, except for the very early years, dealt only through jobbers. I get many questions about private label watches at the museum and I am surprised to see that a jobber in Maine provided the watches for a jewelry store in Connecticut or a jobber in St. Louis supplied the watches for a jewelry store in San Fanscisco. The prices were fixed or "fair traded", so they were not looking for the largest discount. It was not until the mid 30's that Hamilton gave the jobbers specific districts to service.

Don
 

Fred Hansen

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I like private-label watches and have followed these closely for a few years.

My main research interest is in Illinois Watch Co. private-labelled 16 and 18 size movements (I am not following Burlington or Santa Fe watches, or those private-label marked on the dial only), and I have recorded serial numbers and marking information for about 3500 of these.

I have also recorded info from a large number of other manufacturers private-labels, and most of these are noted in a forum on the NAWCC Chapter 149 message board.

One of my collecting interests is also Alaskan and Hawaiian private-labels, and here are photos of a few ...

Elgin grade 270 with dial marked for L.W. Suter, Nome Alaska

Hamilton 925 marked dial and movement for Segerstrom & Hagen, Nome Alaska

83 model Waltham marked dial and movement for H.F. Wichman, Honolulu

Fred
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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I'm with Fred, private labels are cool and collectible.

Although I gave up keeping close track years ago, my database on Aurora watches has in the vicinity of 200 different private label mvts recorded therein. This is far less than the number of Illinois private labels that Fred has documented, but then Aurora made only about 1 watch for every 55 Illinois watches.

My favorites are private label mvts from Aurora, Illinois, and mining towns in Colorado.
 

Steven Mercer

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Here is a link to the thread on

old ref::Model 83 Private Label's

We have 289 watches and dials listed in the data base so far and still growing.
 

Jeff Hess

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According to the Hamilton records, Ball's involvement in the manufacture of watches was limited to final adjustment and casing. They stopped even doing this in 1929. Did they ever do more than this? What was the involvement of Tiffany in their watches?
-------------

Hi Mr. Dahlberg,

Well, as I suggested Ball and Tiffany were "Gray areas" for sure. Tiffany had their factory in Geneva for many years and then made their own cases after that for many years.

As to Ball, this controversy has gone on for a long long time. Even during Webb's life this was going on. I have a letter from the President of Waltham to a Railroad chief pointedly saying that Ball was as much a manufacturer as Waltham or any other company.

Plus I have pictures (yes they could have been staged) of BAll factory workers that clearly show watches completely apart.

Hence the "gray area" comment.

JPH
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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More re Ball, according to data in the so-called "Elgin Master Grade Books", the Ball grades were not fully adjusted nor timed at Elgin prior to their being sold to Ball.
 
G

Gan

Is the phenomenon of ‘private labels’ limited to the American and Swiss watches intended for the North American market? It appears that the ‘private label’ watches were popular (with some unique exceptions) only in a specific period of time. Perhaps between 1880 and 1920. Could these estimates be confirmed/corrected by the collectors of such watches?
 

Fred Hansen

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I have seen private-label watches from the main American makers marked for African, Australian, European and South American firms ... and have heard of there being those marked for Asian firms as well.

The occurence of private-labelled Illinois Watch Co. watches seems to peak in the mid to late 1890's, but at lower levels looks to have spanned almost the entire production of the company from beginning to end. I believe in Waltham watches private-labels are also known from very early on.

And for a look at a private-label watch that was sent a long way from home ...

12 size Elgin with Australian private-label dial

Fred
 

John Cote

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I believe that the "new" RR timekeeping regulations of 1905? prohibited private labels being used as standard watches on most lines. After this time, you find very few high grade (RR Grade) private lables (they do exist).

This is also interesting, as regards Ball. While I consider Ball to be a private lable, the RR regulators must not have because they were certainly OK for RR service after these 1905 regs.
 

John F

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Great topic! Just to add to what has already been mentioned, private labels appear almost from the beginning of US-made watches - several from the very first run of Elgins in 1867 have been documented, in fact. Elgin PLs, like Illinois, seem to have hit their zenith in the 1890s, and pretty much petered out by the mid- to late 1920s. I think this is a pretty typical pattern.

And I believe John Cote's correct about the year that the timekeeping regs outlawed private labels on watches approved for railroad service, at least on US watches. I have seen a number of Canadian PL names on railroad standard watches after 1905, so I would surmise the rules were different in Canada (if Kent's reading this, maybe he can shed some light on this).

There was a really spirited discussion awhile back about whether Ball was a manufacturer because he finished his ORRS movements made by others, or if they're actually a private label. That's a great debate - I too consider them a PL, but the argument the other way is a reasonable one, and fairly compelling.

What's the earliest PL folks have seen on a US-made watch?
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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A quick check of my book on RR Watches and Standards, and my files turned up the following re Private label mvt acceptance (or lack thereof) in RR service. The dates are, of course, "no later than" ones. In other words, they could have been outlawed sooner than the date indicated, but it would take some digging to find the info. Kent probably has more such data readily at his finger tips.

1920-Canadian Pacific
1921-Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul
1938-Sante Fe
1949-CB&Q

As re Ball watches, since Ball ran a time service for many RRs you can be sure that, if he outlawed private label watches in RR service, his own brand was not considered such.

I recall a Hampden ad in which this company ridiculed "watch manufacturers" such as Ball.
 

Kent

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I concur with Greg. The earliest discussion of marking that I can recall (I'm still in a temporary apartment, my reference files aren't available to me) is a parenthetical statement in 1922 Canadian Pacific rules and that doesn't even prohibit private labels.

Canadian Pacific Railway Co. Circulars Pertaining to Train Operations December 15, 1922 Rules Governing the Inspection, Repair, Cleaning, Comparison and Regulation of Standard Watches. ... (the name of the maker, the name of <span class="ev_code_BLUE">[or?]</span> the number of the Grade and the number of positions it is adjusted to must be stamped on the movement).
Keep in mind that both Santa Fe and Burlington Illinois-built watches were accepted on some railroads through teens and into the twenties and Swiss-built Burlington watches (marked Hy Moser, or not, and marked with a grade and six position adjustments) were used on the Canadian Pacific into the 1970s.

Regarding Ball, I'm not clear who adjusted the Santa Fe and Burlington Illinois-built watches , but the Ball company was adjusting their watches during the teens and twenties.

I suspect that it was the lack of a grade and lack of widespread recognition that drove a lot of local private label watches out of railroad time service.
fixme7111936
 
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rrwatch

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My understanding is that while private labels were not outlawed per se, the requirements were amended to state that the manufacturer's name and grade name (or number) must be engraved on the movement. In effect, this ended the use of private labels for most makes of watches used in railroad service. However there was at least one exception. We have seen many examples, for both Canadian and U.S. service, of Longines Express Leader and Express Monarch grades being engraved with both private label names and locations as well as the factory name and grade data. Apparently this did not cause widespread inspection problems. It certainly did make the bridges and plates look quite crowded with all the additional information.
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Ed,

I agree that some of the requirements did not explicitly outlaw private label watches, but here's one that did: no watches specially made by or named for any jeweler accepted (I'd have to dig out the source to see if this is a direct quote or not). This was a rule in 1921 on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul.
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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FWIW, in my experience private label watches, especially the hometown jeweler varities, were at their peak in the 1880s and 1890s. After 1900, most of the private label pieces were for large mail order operations selling direct to the public (or retailers with brick-and-mortar stores combined with an extensive mail order business) such as Sears, Wards, Burlington Watch Co., Sante Fe, Marshall Fields, etc., or large jobbers such as Benj. Allen Co. (my recollection is that Atlas was one of their brands).
 

Jeff Hess

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If memory serves, Pl's were not allowed on the LSRR in the early 1880's/

Kent?

Jeff
 

Kent

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If memory serves, Pl's were not allowed on the LSRR in the early 1880's/
Please show me the paper. This is definately a case where documentation is important. Looking at privately labeled watches, even those carrying the manufacturer's name and grade along with position adjustment markings, is not sufficient to show acceptance by an inspector. An exception might be those watches labeled with the name by an inspector, such as "Little's C&O Standard" (I think) or some such name, or one of the Ball private label Official Standards (such as J.R. Reed or Marcy & Co.).
 
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G

Gan

Thanks are due to all the participants of the discussion on the general issue of ‘private label’ watches, initiated by my original questions of February 26th. This discussion has brought together a number of interesting facts and opinions. It certainly contributed to our collective knowledge on the subject.
 

Greg Davis

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My interest in private labels follows both of the tracks Gan mentioned in the first post... with a slight spin.

By now most folks probably know that I have an interest in Lancaster watches. So when I see a private label of a Lancaster watch my interest rises. Lancaster (in the 1884 Confidential Price List) would make any of their grades a private label for only one cent per letter of engraving. Yet even at that price, there aren't really all that many private label Lancasters being spotted in the wild, so when I see one I take note. Likewise, if I ever see a private label on any of the other brands I collect, I pay attention.

Another thing that increases my interest in a private label is when my last name shows up. I have purchased a Rockford private label simply because the name on the movement was H. G. Davis. I also purchased a private label Lancaster with the name C. P. Davis on it. Yes, I know Davis is a common name and that I likely have absolutely no relationship to good old H.G. or C.P., whoever they may be... but seeing your surname on an old pocket watch is pretty cool and creates a strange bond to the watch.

And, of course, there's the link to the old homestead. I grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee. I never thought much about Knoxville while living there, but now that I've been away for 27 years I find myself drawn to things that harken to the birthplace, and the mult-generation home of my family. So finding a private label Rockford (and a dial) made for a Knoxville jeweler greatly increases my interest. Indeed, seeing private labels from Tennessee is rare enough that it picques my interest, even if it isn't directly from Knoxville.

Private labels represent more than just a curious facet of uniqueness in watches. They can touch on emotional chords and provide a personal connection to the watch, almost as strong as if it was a family heirloom.

- Greg
 

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To address Gan's question about which countries made pivate label watches, you need to realize that watch factories were a limited phenomenon.

In England, essentially all watches were private label. By the 1870's and 1880's even the largest houses like Dent and Frodsham were buying in almost all of their watches.

Obscure names on English watches are the equivalent of private labels on American watches. The primary difference is that you cannot readily identify who actually made the piece. However, many watches have sufficiently distinct features that you can tell maker. Kullberg can often be recognized and so can Nicole & Nielsen.
 

bernie levine

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John said:
I believe that the "new" RR timekeeping regulations of 1905? prohibited private labels being used as standard watches on most lines. After this time, you find very few high grade (RR Grade) private lables (they do exist).

This is also interesting, as regards Ball. While I consider Ball to be a private lable, the RR regulators must not have because they were certainly OK for RR service after these 1905 regs.


This reminds me of a trade ad appearing in the Jewerlers Circular
weekly May 18, 1910 by the Illinois Watch Company.

I quote:
We beg to advise that after June 1st no more orders for
specially names movements can be accepted for delivery
this year.
ILLINOIS WATCH CO.

Springfield, May 16, 1910
 

Kent

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Bernie:

I don't think that Illinois cutting off the acceptance of orders for special name movements in June for delivery within the same year has anything to do with railroad time service rules prohibiting the use of watches lacking the manufacturer's name and grade designation. Illinois went on to provide Burlington and Santa Fe labeled watches for another fifteen years (at least) after 1910. According to Railroad Watches Identification and Price Guide, Roy Ehrhardt & William Meggers, Jr., Heart of America Press[/colour], Kansas City, MO, 1995 (no longer in print), some railroads accepted these watches into service.

Also, I'm sure that there are many examples of other private label Illinois watches made after June 1910.
 

HenryB

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Kent

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HenryB said:
... 2775332-16S OF,Nickel, Model 4, Model 4

Private Label -W.J. Johnston Co. No. 220
Special damasking for WJ Johnston, movement not marked
Hampden Book indicates that WJ Johnston had No. 220, 240, & 240 Made for them. ...
Henry:

I'm not home where I can check in the Hampden book. Are you saying that Hernick & Arnold published that the only movements in these grades (No. 220, 240, & 240) were those made for W.J. Johnston Co. Or, that only those movements in the grades No. 220, 240, & 240 bearing the special damaskeening were made for W.J. Johnston Co.

Thanks,
 

Fred Hansen

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Thanks for the posted info from the jewelers circular Bernie!

As mentioned in other posts there are Illinois private-labels from after 1910, so I would think the statement would would have to have been for a relatively limited time. Is it possible that the "discontinuation" was in effect only from mid May 1910 until the end of the year?

Among Illinois watches a few things I have noticed are ...

- The incidence of the jeweler marked (name, location) type of private-label really declines tremendously after about the 1910 point.

- Overall the diversity of private-label use, as well as their appearance among the top quality grades, was at its peak in the 1890's

- Along the lines of what John Cote said earlier, private-labels become increasingly less common on the top grade production in the later years. A look across the main railroad grades shows that private-labels are scarce in the model 8 and 9 Bunn Special, Sangamo Special, and A. Lincoln grades ... very scarce in the model 11 Bunn Special ... and I have never heard of a private-label in the model 10/13 Sangamo Special or the model 14/15 Bunn Special.

Fred
 

HenryB

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Henry:

I'm not home where I can check in the Hampden book. Are you saying that Hernick & Arnold published that the only movements in these grades (No. 220, 240, & 240) were those made for W.J. Johnston Co. Or, that only those movements in the grades No. 220, 240, & 240 bearing the special damaskeening were made for W.J. Johnston Co.

Thanks, /
Kent
I am not at home either, and by all means obviously check it out when you can, and of course appreciate comments. (Obviously that's why I posted the sale-to gain some insight into these watches).

From what I can figure out from the Hampden book by Arnold and Herrick:

1) Hampden did not assign any Grade No's of 220, 240, and 260
2) Private Labels (quite a list in the observations clumped around serial number 2275xxx-W.J.Johnston Co.-220, or W.J. Johnston-240 or W.J.Johnston-260.
3) Note in the Hampden Book that damasking for W.J. Johnston were a different finish.


 

Fred Hansen

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Do any regular production Hampdens have the same large script "Hampden" signature as the Johnston watches?

Is it proper to consider these a private-label? I would probably think to refer to them as a customized damaskeen more than as a private-label.

The Johnston watches are pretty neat looking with some terrific damaskeens, but seem to go unnoticed by most collectors and are a nice thing to search for.

Fred
 

Kent

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I think that we're going to have to ask Bob Arnold about these.
 

Fred Hansen

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I have questions for Bob every time I see him. Fortunately he is patient enough and enjoys Hampdens enough to put up with me ...

:thumb:

Fred
 

HenryB

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Hampden book page 107 summarizes the W.J. Johnston Co. for the Hampdens.

Fred, I could not quickly find any "regular" Hampdens with that BIG Script Signature.

Maybe like a Hayden Wheeler for the Hamiltons ?:?|
 

Kent

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HenryB said:
Hampden book page 107 summarizes the W.J. Johnston Co. for the Hampdens. ...
That was ten years ago. There's been a lot of watches pictured on the internet since then.
 

bernie levine

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I have looked at all these wonderful questions and wonderful answers about private label marked watches and I am just curious about what roll
or influence the American watch Companies may have had direct or
indirect on the prevention of PL marked watches for railway service ?
 

Kent

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Bernie:

The basic problem of accepting private label watches into railroad time service is that there was no way for the average inspector to know to what specifications and tolerances the watches were adjusted.

Factory grades were in recognized progression of quality so that a list published by the chief inspector could serve as a useful document. The lists did not include each and every grade, but listed the minimum accepable watch grades. Higher grades would then be accepted.

Here's an example from a railroad whose time service inspection contract did NOT go to the Ball Time Inspection Bureau, thus although accepted, Ball ORRS watches weren't listed:

[colour=blue]The following courtesy of Alan Walker and the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum[/colour]
Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Company (The Milwaukee Road)
Circular from the Office of Vice President, December 1, 1921

1. Effective December 1st, the NATIONAL RAILWAY TIME SERVICE COMPANY of Chicago, Illinois will have general supervision of the watch inspection for this Company.

...

4. The minimum standard of excellence adopted by this Company for new watches going into service is a type(?) known among American movements as "16 size, Nickel, 19 Jewel, Lever Set Double Roller, Patent Regulator(?), adjusted to heat and cold, and not less than Five Positions," the variation of which must not exceed thirty seconds(?) per week.

The grades are plainly specified as follows:
ELGIN MANUFACTURE, 16 size, 19 Jewel and upward;
HAMILTON MANUFACTURE, 16 size, 19 Jewel and upward;
HAMPDEN MANUFACTURE, 16 size, 19 Jewel and upward;
HOWARD MANUFACTURE, 16 size, 19 Jewel and upward;
ILLINOIS MANUFACTURE, 16 size, 19 Jewel and upward;
SOUTH BEND MANUFACTURE, 16 size, 19 Jewel and upward;
WALTHAM MANUFACTURE, 16 size, 19 Jewel and upward;

5. All new watches in service must show manufacturers' grade, name or number engraved on movement. No watches specially made or named by or for any jeweler will be accepted.

6. The minimum standard of watches now in service shall be 16 or 18 size, 17 jewel, single roller, lever set, adjusted to three positions and in such condition and repair as will enable them to run with a variation of not over(?) 30 seconds per week.

...

Note: If the Milwaukee Road allowed these watches (described in section 6) to continue in service, than at one time they must have allowed them to enter service!

[colour=blue](?) = text not entirely legible.[/colour]
 

Kent

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I just realized that I didn't directly respond to your point of watch company influence. I think that it was influenced much more by the inspecting authorities (both contractors and internal railroad time service departments).

One advantage of a private label watch is a lesser selling price. That being the case, something had to be skimped upon and the watch may not have been up to required quality.

Or, there may have been a belief that the inspector would accept his own labeled watches and give a hard time to railroaders who didn't use his watches. The appearance of this possible conflict of interest is definately something the inspecting authorities wished to avoid. There was some basis for this employe (this spelling isn't all that old) discontent.

Page 12 of the July 15, 1891 issue of the Jewelers Circular and Horological Review reported (in part):

"A Remarkable Report of Watch Inspection from the Wabash R.R.

"Kansas City, No., July 8.-The report of the superintendent of time service and watch inspection of the Wabash railroad for the quarter ending June 1st has just been issued. When the inspection of watches was first begun on the Wabash great opposition was encountered. Matters were smoothed over, however, and certain objectionable features eliminated, and a better idea of the system was entertained by the men when it was not made obligatory to buy one certain kind of watch. Now any make of watches is accepted so long as it is of a certain standard. ..."

In July of 1900, the Union Pacific had some trouble with time service rules. The Jewelers' Circular - Weekly and Horological Review had this story on page 21 of their July 18, 1900 issue. It said (in part):

"U.P.R.R. Time Inspection

"Little or No Ground for Reported Anticipated Strike of Employes

"Chicago, Ill., July 14.-The story originally published in a sensational daily paper at Omaha, Neb., July 11, regarding differences said to exist between the firemen on the third district of the Union Pacific Railway, from North Platte to Sidney, and the management of the road over the question of time inspection is absolutely without foundation. ...

"It is now thought that the report of the threatened strike of Union Pacific employes over the new regulations with regard to watches was unfounded. ...

"... it was thought both the Howard and the Rockford watches were barred and none less than 17 jeweled of the Waltham or other make on the list, allowed. When the details of the change became noised abroad the employes took it up in their lodges, and it was reported they decided to go out on a strike before they would make a change, which they looked upon as an arbitrary one to put money in some one else's pocket. A high official of the road has stated that no particular make of watch would be discriminated against or for. It is believed that next week will see the end of the trouble."
 

HenryB

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Ebay Item 110201570687

Another W.J. Johnston No. 220 - 2775687

This one is only about 300 serial numbers from the previous one I posted.

Special damasking is more evident in these pictures.null [comment][EDIT=1150=1197079785...=1150=1197080120]Fixing Link[/EDIT][/comment]
 

bernie levine

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Gan said:
The name ‘private label’ is associated with placing on a watch the name and often the location of the watch distributor/retailer in addition to, or instead of, the name of the watch maker. Such labeling certainly was a good advertisement for the watch retailers, mostly jewelers, and increased their local prestige.

The pocket watches with ‘private labels’ can be studied as a group of watches made by a specific makers but distributed by different retailers, who ordered their names and locations to be added to the watch back plate or even to the watch dial. Another approach is to study the ‘private labels’ of a specific retailer, who possibly was buying such watches from different makers. The first analysis allows finding some geographical information on the distribution of watches made by specific makers, and on some aspects of the watch makers and watch retailers marketing strategies; the second one - provides the information on the watch supply sources for the specific retailers at the specific locations. It appears that the current studies on ‘private label’ watches concentrate rather on the first approach.

Some general comments on the issue of ‘private label’ watches are sought. The collectors of such watches are certainly interested in their relative rarity. Are listings of specific ‘private label’ watches provided on this MB (or associated with it), the only practical ways to generate respective estimates?
 

bernie levine

Registered User
Aug 10, 2003
293
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Would it be accurate to state that Illinois marked RAILROAD
KING movements are the private label movements of the Illinois
watch Co?
 

Sheila Gilbert

Registered User
Apr 30, 2004
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Since I started collecting my Pansy watches, I have learned a lot, and one thing I would like to add is, that sometimes you can get a lot of additional information about the jeweler.

My Pansy's are the Trademark of Max J. Lissauer of Lissauer & Co. on Maiden Lane in New York. His trademarks are L&Co, the word Pansy, along with an engraving of a pansy on the movement, and an enameled Pansy on the dial.

I have since learned that he was well known in the Jewelry trade, he was in the papers often, he helped the mayor with feeding the poor in NY, and the entire Jewelers community (Every Store) closed their doors to attend his funeral. There are many other things I could mention, however I could never list them all.

Our hobby takes us to new places, and I find all of it very interesting.

I have only seen 11 Pansy's in years of searching, and I own 9 of them.

John was a big influence in my continued search for my watch. He posted my watches in his Private label database, and all the names there got me hooked.

I have searched, and found so many watchmakers, and jewelers with my Ancestry program that I find myself there almost every day.

All this because of Private Labels. It just keeps getting better and better.

Great Post!
Thank you!
 

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Kent

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Hi Sheila:

Welcome back!

The NAWCC Library used to be able to do a keyword search of the Jewelers' Circular - Weekly and Horological Review within a range of dates (the extent of which, I don't remember). Perhaps that will turn up something on either Max J. Lissauer or Lissauer & Co.

Also, microfilm copies of The Jewelers' Circular and Horological Review are available on loan, by mail, to members, from the [colour=red]NAWCC Library & Research Center[/colour]. These cover the years 1881 - 1910 (which might have been extended to 1920 by now). A microfilm reel contains year's worth of monthly issues, up to 1891 when the magazine changed to The Jewelers' Circular - Weekly and Horological Review. Thereafter, there are 26 weekly issues on a reel, available up to January 1911. Microfilm readers and reader-printers are usually available in most public libraries. College libraries tend to have better facilities and equipment.

The important fact is that each issue contains an alphabetical list of advertisers, showing the page number on which their ad appears. This list is always in the same location within the issue, enabling you to rapidly check each issue to see if it has any Lissauer & Co. ads. Of course you run the risk of getting bogged down in other fascinating material that is in those issues, but what the heck, its good to be exposed to new experiences.

Good luck,
 

Sheila Gilbert

Registered User
Apr 30, 2004
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Hi Kent,
It's nice to see ya!
I did every possible search for 2 years and only turned up a couple of things back then. Not even a genealogy site had him.
Then all of a sudden, he popped up all over. I guess my constant searches finally paid off.
Today I have a lot of information and even picked up a couple of his papers from the 1870's. I have Ads, and other material too. I have been looking for the Jewelers Circular for a while now, and I never find them on ebay or the net, so thank you for the information.

Max is an early Jeweler on Maiden Lane, he started in the early-mid 1800's and moved from 29 Maiden Lane to 12 Maiden Lane.

I did find 2 items in the NAWCC Library early on, but that was all I could find a couple years ago, so I will check that again too.

My biggest problem is, I want to write a paper about it, but boy, there is so much, and I was never good at writing papers, so I will just keep adding information until I talk my (writer) sister into helping me with it. hehehe

I have a microfilm machine so that looks like my next step. Thanks again for the connection!

Bless,
Sheila

This picture is of Lissauer & Sondheim in the early days when he was at 29 Maiden Lane.
 

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Kent

Gibbs Literary Award
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Wow!

That's my scribbling at the top of the ad, but I can't believe I sent it out to somebody or posted it looking like that, without crediting it to the NAWCC Library. I must have done it a long time ago, I still have the print I made from the microfilm, but I can't find a copy of the scan.

I've got two more ads, for Lissauer & Sondheim, from the September and October 1887 issues of the The Jewelers' Circular and Horological Review. If you don't have them, send me an email (you can get my email address by clicking on my name in the upper left-hand corner of this post and viewing my Public Profile) and I'll send high resolution scan of the ads.

Oh, and please get the article written.

Good luck,
 

Nathan2307

Registered User
Apr 20, 2005
57
2
8
Maryland
I have a Hamilton 925 marked Park and Morrison on the dial and Park and Morrison Roswell NM on the movement. Serial number is 109306 which dates it to around 1900. I would love more info on this retailer. I contacted the Roswell historical society and they fould a listing for them as jewelers in downtown Roswell on the 1904 census. Roswell around the turn of the last century was still a pretty wild and wooley place. It's so cool to be able to place this watch there, at that time...Any of these old periodicals on line anywhere? Thanks, Nathan
 

Fred Hansen

NAWCC Member
Aug 18, 2002
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Nice find Nathan!

As I'm sure you know private-labels from New Mexico are tough to find. Other challenging ones to find from this part of the country include Arizona, Nevada, and Utah.

Like yourself I also like the added layer of history the private-labels give to these watches!

Fred
 

grampa4

New User
Apr 21, 2011
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I have a pocket watch with Geneva on the face. On the movement is O L Clayton, Aurora Ill. ( The scroll is somewhat difficult to read but I believe it is an O and a L then the name Clayton). the number on the movement is 219445... I am attempting to get information on this pocket watch. I would appreciate any help anyone can give me on identifying this pocket watch.
 

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