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Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by artbissell, Jan 18, 2016.
Here an 18 size unknown and a 6 size Waltham O'Hara. Like to see more here. artbissell
Here a 6 size Elgin with a probably Swiss made O'Hara type dial. art
I can't explain why I agree the Elgin dial is Swiss. It doesn't seem to match in style those dials I associate with O'hara yet it is hard to put one's finger on those differences. Could you say what led you to conclude it is Swiss? I have numerous ornate dials on my Waterbury Addison watches, some of which I believe are O'hara and many I am sure are Swiss but I would be pleased to learn if there is some litmus test to discern one from the other.-Cort
O'Hara type to me means prominent hour numbers in circular surround, with or without floral paintings, brilliant colors and white backgrounds. Also some tendency for hairline cracks. I show the blue one as a Swiss, but it could be from anywhere since my judgement of source is hopeless. art
First, here is one that is signed on the back, but the front is pretty plain -- a simple private-label dial for a 21-jewel Waltham for Bigelow, Kennard & Co.
View attachment 288585
View attachment 288586
Now one that is, I believe, more in line with what you are looking for, but it is not signed --
Appreciate seeing signed and unsigned dials very much. Thankyou Jerry. art
Jerry, is the B&K a bridge model?
Here is a dial from a custom made Waltham with the back signed Waltham dial Co. The dial was made shortly after O'Hara left Waltham with the closing of the case department to join the Waltham Dial Co. which later became OHara.
Interesting Tom. So genuine Waltham and O'Hara dials were usually marked?
Almost. I call it a semi-bridge model and it is Riverside Maximus grade with special finish for BK&Co.
The Waltham Dial Co. had no relation to the Waltham Watch Co. It was the precursor to O'Hara. The signed dials are much less common that the production level of the dial company would imply. The dials signed Waltham Dial Co. are less common that the O'Hara ones.
O'Hara himself was in charge of the silver case department at Waltham for many years and has many case patents between 1884 and 1890. I believe 1884 was when Waltham cosed the silver case department and O'Hara went to be a partner in the Waltham Dial Co.
This dial, made for an 18s Aurora, is signed O'Hara on the back:
Fine one but oddly with dark blue floral rather than usual green. I suppose they did both silk screen printing and hand painting. art
I think it is important to keep in mind that O'Hara painted dials are painted with glass enamel that is fired onto the surface with a different temperature for each color. It is possible to do that with multiple screens with a silk screen but I would think it expensive for a once off use of each in addition to the registration problem.
Example of a typical hand painted multicolor dial with its often seen glazed surface cracks. Amazing color and detail in this 6 size dial. The monochrome 18 size blue one might be a screen print or other simple image transfer. Art
A few of Bill Tapp's copywrited OHara dial photos:
This dial is on an 18S 17J model 83 Crescent St. O'Hara?
I think it is based on pattern and quality although unusual on a Waltham without lettering. Art
I this an O'Hara Dial?
Most likely is, in my opinion, and a nice one. That is O'Hara would be involved in its design and manufacture
although maybe not from his period when with his own company. Seems a little old style. What is the movement? Art
16S 16J AMn Grade model 1888
This one is not signed. It fits a 16-size 1899 model Waltham.
Interesting similarity of these last 2. Have never seen image or real identical O'Hara dials, except State dials, in more than 50. Art
There are many neat dials in this thread, but we should be wary in calling them all O'Hara dials. Waltham, for example, exhibited fancy dials having "jewels" and crenulated gold at the Columbia Exposition in Chicago in 1893 and there's good reason to believe that they were dials made by Waltham not O'Hara. There were also Swiss firms making fancy dials for American watches in the late 19th century.
So, I think it would be helpful if we restrict the use, for the time being anyway, of the term "O'Hara dial" to ones that are either marked "O'Hara" or that closely match examples shown in O'Hara's sales catalogs.
Right, notice I write in title O'Hara style. Did he not work as dial maker for Waltham? Actual O'Hara dials rightly would be the catalogued ones, but I have heard even those were not all marked. i admit only for sure O'Haras here are the Bill Tapp ones. Art
O'Hara was foreman of the case department at Waltham. When Waltham exited the case business (for silver and filled cases) he left and bought into the Waltham Dial Company. He probably had financial banking from Waltham for the venture and Robbins may have been an investor also.
O'Hara had quite a few patents on case features and designs. I have not seen any personal patents on dials.
Thanks for repeating your clear statement about O'Hara's personal working history. Art
A beauty that I just picked up. Unsigned. On an equally nice model '72.
What is age of this fine complex dial and watch, and when were these first made? Art
This model '72 dates to 1886/7.
I recently learned that the O'Hara dial factory is going to be (or already has been) demolished.
Old Waltham Watch Face Factory Building To Be Demolished
Sad to see these relics of a great industry disappearing.
But interesting to see this appreciated detailed report. Art B.
What a shame. It seems like for every factory that is saved and transformed for modern use, another is destroyed. On a positive note, it looks like the Rockford factory is on the path for being preserved (hopefully).
This is the only watch I currently have with an Ohara style dial. It's a very nice 3/0 Hampden Molly Stark in what I believe to be the original presentation box. I suspect the chain was sold with the watch as well though I have absolutely no proof of any of that.
Interestingly enough, the case is not marked at all except for the serial number on both lids so I have no idea other than a guess that it's gold fill.
It's on the "eventually I'll get around to servicing it" list. When I do I'll probably have the seconds bit painted gold to match the other hands.
These four are all 18 size.
O'Hara or O'Hara-like dials are interesting, but I have few or none in my collection. My 14k OF Model 1888 Riverside Maximus had a lovely fancy dial, likely an O'Hara, on it when I bought the watch, but I replaced the dial with a correct Maximus dial (for which I paid $200) and sold the fancy dial for $260 to a dealer who resold it for $275. Here are before and after photos of this watch.
The watch was more interesting looking when it had the fancy dial, but I prefer the correct dial that's now on it. Dull me.
Stunning dials, everyone. I always enjoy studying the artistic detail adorned on the O'Hara dials.
I believe this may be of interest to the participants in the thread.
These pages illustrate the wide variety of O'Hara dials offered in the c.1907 Otto Young & Co. catalog.
Amazing! I doubt any company will ever top that product line. -Cort
I keep thinking I'd like to learn how to "remake" the fancy dials that are broken. The pattern is there already so what's really needed is the knowledge to copy the pattern and silkscreen all the colors into 1 transfer (I know how to do this) on the proper transfer medium for glazing (don't know what this is) and then strip the glass off the metal backing plate and rebuild it from bare metal with all new glass and the colored transfer.
Unless they're real gold or silver, the raised gold "dots" are likely gesso (which is an artists primer but which is really thick and can easily make those kinds of dots) with gold/silver leaf on top. The dots and the "gems" are probably hand applied once it's all done.
It would take a lot of time to learn, and the cost of the equipment would be in the thousands (mostly for the kiln), but it'd be interesting to learn how to do it.
Rob's comment that "the 'gems' are probably hand applied" reminded me that I once had a 19j American Watch Co. Model 1888 that had what might have been an O'Hara or O'Hara-style dial.
I sold this scarce, collectible watch long ago for four reasons. The dial wasn't original or correct. It also had some hairlines. The movement was in a lovely hunter case, but it was a gold-filled case, not the solid gold on which I normally insist. But the most important reason was that the watch had incorrect winding wheels. I chose to sell it rather than search for a new dial, winding wheels, and a solid gold case. I have since acquired nice and correct solid 14k and 18k 19J AWCO Model 1888s, one OF and the other hunter. They do not have O'Hara or O'Hara-style dials.
I have always been curious as to the input a jeweler may have had on the design of their private label dials.
A Waltham fancy dial. In my experience similar 18 size fancy ones marked "American Waltham" show up on 1883 model mvts with serial numbers in the 5 or 6 million range.
I found these various sized dials in one of my spares cabinets. None have any identification marks on the reverse, just a mottled pale green enamel finish.