Waltham Mod. 57 Private Labels

Jim Haney

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I looked in the old threads and didn't see any Waltham Mod.57 or other models private label threads,so here is one I ran across.

Serial # 380897 Wm. Edwards, New York.
 

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Jerry Treiman

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Unfortunately I do not have the movement anymore, but I have a pinned-foot dial marked "L.A. Benton, Cleveland, O". I seem to recall it may have been on a Bartlett.
 

Fred Hansen

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Great subject and I used to record these when I saw them. Here's some for the list and I'll see if I can find any others also ...

25,318 - Saml B. Young , Laconia N. H. (on both the dial and mvt. A. T. & Co case)

388817 - Chas A. Willard, Painesville O. (marked movement, SS Roman "American Watch Co." dial)

388980 - R.O. Gottfredson, Kenosha Wis. (marked movement only, SS Roman "American Watch Co." dial)

411799 - Shreve, Crump & Low, Boston Mass (marked movement, SS Roman "American Watch Co." dial)

411849 - Slayton & Jenks, Meadville PA (marked movement, SSR "American Watch Co." dial)

416005 - Made for Howard & Co., New York (marked on barrel bridge but movement also with usual Appleton Tracy grade markings, SS Roman "American Watch Co." dial)

430284 - R.S. Mershon, Zanesville Ohio (marked movement, SS Roman "American Watch Co." dial)

430576 - A.R. Brattin, Greencastle Ind. (Marked movement, SS Roman "American Watch Co." dial, coin case marked "Brattin")

450816 - F.H. Bennett, Waltham Mass (marked movement, SS Roman "American Watch Co." dial)

471269 - Jasper Stone, Charlestown Mass. (marked movement, SS Roman "American Watch Co." dial)

477915 - American Agriculturist made by the American Watch Co. (marked movement only)

555397 - Christian King, Conshohocken PA (marked movement, SS Roman "American Watch Co." dial)

555833 - Schenek & Will, Pittsburgh PA (marked gilt movement, spelling may be incorrect on first name)

695048 - Howard & Bros., Fredonia N.Y. (marked movement, unsigned Roman dial)

695061 - Gus E. Smith, Parkersburg W. Va. (marked movement, SS Roman "A.W.Co., Waltham" dial, coin "G.E. Smith" marked case)

695637 - P.S. Hyde, Piedmont WVa (marked movement, SSR "American Watch Co." dial)

695736 - James P. Tryner, Bloomington Ill (marked movement)

771551 - James P. Tryner Bloomington Ill. (marked movement, typical AWCo dial, OF coin case marked D&Co)

771588 - Howard Bros., Fredonia NY (marked mvt, unsigned flat enamel dial)

778126 - A. Frankfield & Co., New York (marked gilt SW movement)

842837 - Excelsior, Made only for Howard & Co., Fifth Avenue New York, at Waltham Mass (marked 57 model nickel KW/SW movement, SS Roman "American Watch Co." dial)

842873 - Excelsior, Made only for Howard & Co., Fifth Avenue New York, at Waltham Mass (marked 57 model nickel SW movement)

842909 - George Washington (marked nickel KW movement)

842918 - George Washington (marked on nickel KW movement, SS Roman "American Watch Co., Waltham" dial)

877246 - Wm Owen & Co., Cincinnati O. (marked movement, SS Roman "American Watch Co." dial)

877295 - M.S. Smith & Co., Detroit (marked nickel movement, single line "American Watch Co." dial)

877300 - Bonanza (marked nickel SW movement)

877340 - P.S. Hyde, Piedmont, W. Va. (nickel cock)

877441 - Excelsior, Made only for Howard & Co., Fifth Avenue New York, at Waltham Mass (marked 57 model nickel SW movement)

877661 - General Lee (marked nickel SW movement, SS Arabic "A.W.Co., Waltham" dial)

877762 - Joseph Bevan, Williamsport Penna (marked nickel KW movement)

877991 - Geo. Washington (marked nickel movement)

933008 - John Rose, Bay City MI (marked movement, SSR "American Watch Co." dial)

958866 - J. Olsen, Astoria Oregon (marked movement, SS Roman "Columbia River Watch" dial)

971954 - W.S. Clarke, Chatteris (marked movement missing balance, unsigned dial, English hallmarked silver case)
 

Fred Hansen

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Two more ...

380689 - B.T. Tobin, Chicago Ill (marked mvt, SS Roman "American Watch Co." dial)

426684 - Made for Howard & Co., New York (marked on barrel bridge but movement also with usual Waltham Watch Co. grade marking, SS Roman "American Watch Co." dial)
 

4thdimension

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25,318 - Saml B. Young , Laconia N. H. (on both the dial and mvt. A. T. & Co case)
This begs the question-What is the earliest recorded American P.L.? I've had an 1850's Lange signed for a S.F. jeweler but this Waltham is the oldest all-U.S. P.L. I've heard of. -Cort
 

Fred Hansen

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This begs the question-What is the earliest recorded American P.L.?


About 12 years ago there was a discussion on this board about a Samuel Curtis grade movement with a private label name, so I believe this would be something 1853-1854ish at the Boston Watch Company.

I think somewhat wider production of private labels occurred in the 5000's serial range of Appleton Tracy & Co. production.


 

Fred Hansen

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A few more including a consecutive to 411799 above ...

6547 - Simmons & Walter, Lockport NY (marked mvt and SS Roman dial)

6564 - Richd Gove, Laconia NH (marked mvt, SS Roman "Made Expressly for Joseph Fifield, Plymouth NH" dial)

411798 - Shreve Crump & Low, Boston Mass (marked mvt, SS Roman "American Watch Co." dial)

555996 - L.S. Howard & Bros., Fredonia NY (marked mvt, SS Roman "American Watch Co." dial)
 

4thdimension

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I wonder if there was a European model for the P.L. marketing scheme or if was an American invention? The Lange I referred to above was ordered by a S.F. jeweler in the mid 1850's. San Francisco wasn't much of a metropolis at that time so it impresses me that someone would order a P.L. from Germany by this young maker (ser. # low 2xxx). Mail transportation was quite different then.
I have had P.L. '57's before but I never recorded these things. I wish I had and will try to do it more because I do enjoy and employ all the lists folks have been keeping. -Cort
 

ben_hutcherson

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771546- Quintard Bros. Poughkeepsie, NY on mov't, AWCo dial(Ellery)

551018-IF Sargent, Mt Pleasant Iowa on mov't, AWCo dial (WWCo)
 

Daniel W.

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I saw one of these Samul Young's on ebay just the other day. I thought it looked very odd and passed by it.
 

artbissell

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This begs the question-What is the earliest recorded American P.L.? I've had an 1850's Lange signed for a S.F. jeweler but this Waltham is the oldest all-U.S. P.L. I've heard of. -Cort
Here all original Appleton Tracey 57 for Clark Brothers, Rutland, VT 11977. Maybe only one for this very small jeweler in a poor rural area. Seller photos aknowledged ok here.

a_t%2Cxx.jpg a_t_8x.jpg a_t10x.jpg a_t4x.jpg

a_t%2Cxx.jpg a_t_8x.jpg a_t10x.jpg a_t4x.jpg
 

Fred Hansen

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114.jpg

471608 - J.F. Sargent, Mt. Pleasant Iowa (marked mvt, SS Roman "American Watch Co." dial)
 
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Fred Hansen

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SEEMS 11977 IS OLDEST listed here if numbers are consecutive?
That's a great early watch but there are a few older listed in this thread.

The one I referred to in post #9 is serial 170 and signed John Warren. I also listed two in the 6500's serial numbers in post #10, and from others I've seen and those listed in Ron Price's book it seems that most of the 6500's range was various private labels.
 

Tom McIntyre

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here are some pictures of the Warren that Fred refers to. Its writeup is on the site with the 2002 Seminar in Boxboro MA. The owner lent me the watch to take the pictures.

The earliest "Private Label" from Waltham is probably the D. B. Fitts 8 day watch if you leave out the Marsh Brothers' watches as prototypes and made for themselves. I think ot the Fitts watch as an Employee Watch rather than a private label. My thoughts on Employee Watches are in this article here on the essage board https://mb.nawcc.org/content.php?35-The-Employee-s-Own-Watch.

warren170movement.jpg
 

Fred Hansen

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771572 - W.G. Jameison, Seattle W.T. (marked mvt)
771648 - Jasper Stone, Charlestown Mass. (marked mvt)
 

Fred Hansen

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Serial 930071 export to the English market, signed "Thos. Earl, Blackburn" on the movement, SS Roman unsigned dial, silver A.L. Dennison case hallmarked to 1876 Birmingham ...

911.jpg 916a.jpg 917.jpg 919.jpg
 

Fred Hansen

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Serial 555474 marked "Chas S. Massey, 625 Hamilton St., Allentown PA", SS Roman "American Watch Co." dial ...

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Fred Hansen

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380870 - Wm. Edwards, New York (marked dial and mvt, mvt also signed "Adjusted")

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Nick23

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Serial number 895938. Shipped to England and movement signed Thomas Moore, Derby who had premises at 22 Queen Street, Derby. It is cased in a rare silver case with the hallmark for Chester for the year July 1875/July 1876 with the makers initials of F.F.S for Frederick Francis Seeland the assistant manager at Waltham London. Seeland's mark was only registered for two years as he left Waltham to manage the International Watch Company in Switzerland. His mark is only found only on Waltham watches and very few have been seen. (Only six were recorded by P.T. Priestley). DSCF0023.JPG DSCF0024.JPG DSCF0026.JPG DSCF0028.JPG
 
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Fred Hansen

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809381 - Elijah Knight, Concord N.H. (marked mvt, SS Roman "American Watch Co." dial)

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Fred Hansen

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695203 - American Agriculturist, Made by the American Watch Co. (marked mvt, SS Roman "American Watch Co." dial)

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The American Agriculturist was a monthly magazine, and these private label 57 models in silver cases were one of a number of premiums that could be received for selling a given number of subscriptions.
 

Fred Hansen

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411635 - B.F. & T.M. Davies, Utica NY (marked mvt, sunk-seconds "American Watch Co." dial)

471106 - Walter H. Ellis, Canandaigua NY (marked mvt, flat enamel "American Watch Co." dial)
 

Clint Geller

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I find it interesting that S#'s 6,547, 6,564, 11,997, 25,318, and the pinned plate movement that Jerry mentioned (which is obviously quite early), all have marked P.L. dials, whereas all the many later P.L. movements except for one or two (e.g., 958,866) have, or are reported to have either standard dials or unsigned dials (if made for export). I wonder if this trend could reflect the growing prestige of Waltham products, and the consequent desire of retailers to have both their own name and the AWCo name somewhere on them.

I am guessing that the company reorganization and name change in 1859 does not in and of itself explain the change, inasmuch as the 1862 AWCo factory catalog states: "We manufacture to order, Enamel Dials of all styles for all kinds of Watches - as well as for our own Watches - ..."

It is equally interesting that among the 50 or so P.L. M57 S#s recorded on this thread, there is a huge gap in the recorded examples between S#s 25,318 and 380,064. The period of the gap coincides approximately with the company reorganization in 1859, and extends considerably beyond the end of the Civil War, to late 1868. So perhaps the new company had decided, for a time, that engraving private label movements was too disruptive to production, even if custom dials continued to be offered. (An alternative explanation might be that the newly named AWCo was singularly focused on establishing its own brand, and did not wish to dilute its market presence by selling watches under private labels.)
 
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hc3

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An interesting and reasonable theory, but here's one marked G Grant, serial 48879 which is an Ellery from 1862.



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Clint Geller

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An interesting and reasonable theory, but here's one marked G Grant, serial 48879 which is an Ellery from 1862.



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Interesting watch, HC3. This potentially shrinks the big gap in M57 label serial numbers a bit, but it is still large. I notice, however, that S# 48,879 lacks a private label dial, like nearly all of the post-gap P.L.'s shown in this thread, but none of the pre-gap P.L.'s. Well, allow me to offer for your consideration some longshot speculation on that basis: Could this movement have not been a "private label," but a very short-lived experiment, perhaps even a one-off, with a trade name targeted at soldiers? If soldiers were the intended market, the movement chosen would indeed have to have been cheap, so a seven jewel, Ellery grade movement with an unmarked dial would have been ideal. The "G" could conceivably have stood for "General." Movement 48,879 was finished in May of 1862, which was only a few months after U. S. Grant's first significant victories at Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, and scarcely a month after his even more signal victory at Shiloh, which really catapulted him into the national limelight. So the timing of the movement's manufacture would also make sense, if indeed the name on it has something to do with the general.
 
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Clint Geller

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Interesting watch, HC3. This potentially shrinks the big gap in M57 label serial numbers a bit, but it is still large. I notice, however, that S# 48,879 lacks a private label dial, like nearly all of the post-gap P.L.'s shown in this thread, but none of the pre-gap P.L.'s. Well, allow me to offer for your consideration some longshot speculation on that basis: Could this movement have not been a "private label," but a very short-lived experiment, perhaps even a one-off, with a trade name targeted at soldiers? If soldiers were the intended market, the movement chosen would indeed have to have been cheap, so a seven jewel, Ellery grade movement with an unmarked dial would have been ideal. The "G" could conceivably have stood for "General." Movement 48,879 was finished in May of 1862, which was only a few months after U. S. Grant's first significant victories at Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, and scarcely a month after his even more signal victory at Shiloh, which really catapulted him into the national limelight. So the timing of the movement's manufacture would also make sense, if indeed the name on it has something to do with the general.
No. I talked myself out of it. The movement is engraved, "Boston," not "Waltham," so that suggests that it is a private label. It is, however, an anomalous one.
 

hc3

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Actually that makes sense. The Ellerys said Boston not Waltham, I can see trying to build a "brand loyalty" too. Just the sort of thing Dennison would do. And the Ellery brand was new anyway, not yet established.

I can hear the board now- " Good idea Aaron, but you know that generals come and go. If it was last year you would be pushing the "McLellan", and the year before the "Fremont". We'll let you keep on with your stupid low grade Ellerys, but that will have to do for your "soldiers watch". No more diversions."

I thought the lack of a place name was strange. A private label was an advertisement after all. And the watch came to me from Mass. I wonder if there is any internal Waltham correspondence about it?
 

Clint Geller

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Actually that makes sense. The Ellerys said Boston not Waltham, I can see trying to build a "brand loyalty" too. Just the sort of thing Dennison would do. And the Ellery brand was new anyway, not yet established.

I can hear the board now- " Good idea Aaron, but you know that generals come and go. If it was last year you would be pushing the "McLellan", and the year before the "Fremont". We'll let you keep on with your stupid low grade Ellerys, but that will have to do for your "soldiers watch". No more diversions."

I thought the lack of a place name was strange. A private label was an advertisement after all. And the watch came to me from Mass. I wonder if there is any internal Waltham correspondence about it?
Hmm. OK, well then maybe my suggestion was not quite so implausible after all.
 

John Pavlik

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Implausible, I think not..but, The question I might add is the letter G... First it has a period following.. 2nd, today, understanding the importance in history of Grant, and with all the communications available today, would a G. Grant make sense to the public as General Grant in 1863 ? At least a Gen. Grant, maybe.. Even the Ellery had Wm.
 

ben_hutcherson

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As far as the "Boston" marking goes-it's worth mentioning that(generally) the lowest grade at any given time of 1857 models was marked "Boston" rather than "Waltham." You saw this first on Bartletts, followed by Ellerys then Homes and Broadways.
 

Clint Geller

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Implausible, I think not..but, The question I might add is the letter G... First it has a period following.. 2nd, today, understanding the importance in history of Grant, and with all the communications available today, would a G. Grant make sense to the public as General Grant in 1863 ? At least a Gen. Grant, maybe.. Even the Ellery had Wm.
Yes, that concerned me too, John. That's why I thought my speculation was a longshot.

- - - Updated - - -

As far as the "Boston" marking goes-it's worth mentioning that(generally) the lowest grade at any given time of 1857 models was marked "Boston" rather than "Waltham." You saw this first on Bartletts, followed by Ellerys then Homes and Broadways.
Thanks, Ben. I didn't know that until hc3 and you pointed that out. All of us are usually smarter than only one of us.
 

ben_hutcherson

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Thanks, Ben. I didn't know that until hc3 and you pointed that out. All of us are usually smarter than only one of us.
The train of thought(I've heard) was supposedly that if the low grade was unsuccessful, they could distance themselves from it if it didn't sell.

You saw the same idea resurrected in the 1920s with the "Equity" watches.
 

hc3

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I reviewed the private labels listed above, and those listed in Price.

I keep coming back to the date, lack of a private label town and the low grade, and they lead me to the experimental/short run brand/grade theory.

The date and Grant's first fame match up well. And there is the wartime gap in private labels.

Almost all the private label watches are also identified with a town. The only exceptions are those which are names NOT connected with a jeweler- the American Agriculturist, George Washington, and Robert E. Lee. Those retain the genuine Waltham place name.

All the jeweler private labels are better grades. None are bottom of the line.

I am inclined to say that this is not a "private label" in the usual sense, that is a watch ordered for sale by a jeweler with his own name on it. It is instead, like the later Lee and Washington, an experimental or test watch for a contemplated factory brand or grade, made to see if capitalising on Grant's fame would take off. It's one of a run of 50, maybe they shipped them to a "with the troops" sutler to see if they sold better.

Or maybe it is a one off, made by an employee to send to the General as a present. In any case, it's different.
 

Fred Hansen

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Almost all the private label watches are also identified with a town.


Even though "Boston, Mass." matches to what's marked on the equivalent Ellery grade movement, its too soon to dismiss the possibility of Boston as also being a private label location. It would be useful to
search civil war era Boston directories to find if there was a "George Grant" or other potentially corresponding name that was a known retailer in Boston during this time.

All the jeweler private labels are better grades. None are bottom of the line.


Most private label 57's I've seen are 11 jewel or better, but not all. The two English private labels pictured in posts number 20 and 23 of this thread are 7 jewel movements. A few other 7 jewel private labels are listed in Ron Price's "Origins of the Waltham Model 57" book.

The question I might add is the letter G... First it has a period following.. 2nd, today, understanding the importance in history of Grant, and with all the communications available today, would a G. Grant make sense to the public as General Grant in 1863 ? At least a Gen. Grant, maybe.. Even the Ellery had Wm.

I think John's question here is very important. Was the specific abbreviation of "G. Grant" in fairly common use during the civil war to refer to General Grant, or was this not a commonly used abbreviation for a General during this era.
 

Clint Geller

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...

I think John's question here is very important. Was the specific abbreviation of "G. Grant" in fairly common use during the civil war to refer to General Grant, or was this not a commonly used abbreviation for a General during this era.
Yes, I agree that the idea that the "G." stands for "General," is likely the biggest hard spot with the experimental new grade hypothesis. I will ask the question on another Civil War focused website I participate in whether "G." was a standard abbreviation for "General" in the period, but I am doubtful. After his victory at Fort Donelson, Grant was popularly known as "Unconditional Surrender Grant," so you would think that Waltham would have engraved the plate "U. S. Grant" if the name indeed referred to the general.
 

Clint Geller

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Good work, hc3. That tilts the evidence a bit more towards the experimental grade designation idea.
 

Clint Geller

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Yes, I agree that the idea that the "G." stands for "General," is likely the biggest hard spot with the experimental new grade hypothesis. I will ask the question on another Civil War focused website I participate in whether "G." was a standard abbreviation for "General" in the period, but I am doubtful. After his victory at Fort Donelson, Grant was popularly known as "Unconditional Surrender Grant," so you would think that Waltham would have engraved the plate "U. S. Grant" if the name indeed referred to the general.
Well, I posted the question on the "Civil War Talk" Forum, where quite a few very knowledgeable Civil War authorities, including avid "relic" collectors, hang out, and got no definitive responses either for or against the suggestion that "G." could stand for "General" in our context.
 

Dave Chaplain

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About 12 years ago there was a discussion on this board about a Samuel Curtis grade movement with a private label name, so I believe this would be something 1853-1854ish at the Boston Watch Company.

I think somewhat wider production of private labels occurred in the 5000's serial range of Appleton Tracy & Co. production.


[/COLOR]
Hi Fred,

Unfortunately the consensus at this point on that early watch is that it's English made (or at least an English ebauche), although nearly an exact copy of a Curtis grade Waltham, except with 16 jewels (the winding arbor is jeweled) ... and most interesting about it (to me) is that it's signed with the name of a person known to have been working in Waltham as a watchmaker in 1855!

Dave
 

Fred Hansen

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762103 - Bailey & Co., Philadelphia (marked mvt and case)
 

Jeff Hess

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I am working on my weekly column for the Tampa Bay Times about a 57 I just acquired: (rough outline)

Gold value vs. historical value vs. St. Petersburg history.

What got us into the fine and decorative arts "business" was a basic love of history. We were collectors and researchers long before we were "dealers". At our core, we are simply "historians".

When a historic piece was recently presented to us for purchase, we quickly identified it as a multi-interest collectable of very high desirability and made an offer far beyond its gold price. We prevailed after the seller had taken it to several high profile buyers in Tampa Bay, all of whom only offered "gold value"

The subject watch has within it's DNA several exciting aspects. 1) It is a 5 digit serial number from Waltham watch company, made within the first 2 years of the company's existance. 2) It is a rare "private label" Keywind Waltham made for a private Jeweler, one of the earliest private labels ever made. (It does not say "American Watch" or "Waltham" anywhere...we discerned it's origin because we recognized the plate design) 3) it was made for a Southern (Alabama) Jeweler during the time of the confederacy and 4) The Jeweler after serving in the confederate army, left Alabama and actually became one of the founding fathers of St. Petersburg!

The jeweler Spurlin & Barnaby was located in Camden Alabama and Mr. Spurlin and Mr. Barnaby were active in local politics donating goods and services to the Confederacy. Later both men abandoned their store and joined the Confederate army. (Mr. Spurlins canteen used in the war was donated to the Confederate Museum in Richmond). After the war Mr. Barnaby moved "up north" settling in Massachusetts. Mr. Spurlin, however, seeking a new start came to Pinellas county and invested in property in what would later become downtown St. Petersburg. He found one "Dr. Hackney" who owned a house and land near the area around current beach drive and bought his land for $3500 and bought a surrounding 120 acres from the state for 25 cents per acre. He eventually according to "The Story of St. Petersburg" by Karl Grismer secured "625 acres with a mile frontage.on Tampa Bay, paying $4,300. Not only did he get one of the choicest town sites in all Florida but he also got two homes, two orange groves, many acres of cleared land and150 head of cattle and hogs." A few years later he decided to get rid of all of the property selling most of it to John C. Williams from Detroit who built the Detroit hotel on part of the land he bought from Mr. Spurlin.

The watch is housed in the original low carat gold "Eagle hallmark" hunter case and is sifned Spurlin & Barnaby on the dial and movment and is listed in the Waltham serial number records as "special".
 

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Watch Inspectors by Kent