Was there a general consensus on brand rankings?

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Meyers

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Hi,
I've been curious about this topic for a while.
I'm sure at the time, people must have percieved some brands to be better than others, but I've never seen any such rankings around.
I know that Elgin and Waltham were the big players, and being the longest living companies probably helped build prestige.
But how about others?
Like say South Bend or Illinois? Were they deemed as luxury watch brands? Or reliable tool brands? Or did that sort of concept exist at all?
Thank you.
 

musicguy

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but I've never seen any such rankings around.
Thanks for the question, we have had similar questions before.
It's a very hard and subjective question to answer because
using Waltham as a starting point in 1850 and going to the
1950's that's 100 years and many American companies that
came and went, and had different leadership as well and
many mergers and name changes as well. Many high end
Priavte labels used many different American watch
company's movements over the years as well.


Rob
 

topspin

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Choosing between the major watch manufacturers back-in-the-day, would be like choosing between (say) Ford, Renault, VW, GM (etc) today. They all had/have a range of products, to suit every taste and budget.

As for collecting nowadays - we all collect different things, in different ways, for different reasons. Some brands (not necessarily the same thing as manufacturers) do tend to sell for higher prices, for which "prestige back-in-the-day" is probably a much smaller factor than (say) rarity or interestingness.
 

Ethan Lipsig

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Here's my personal take on the ranking issue, there being no consensus.

All significant U.S. makers of jeweled watches made watches that kept good time. Most of them produced a wide range of products, from low-end to high-end, though Illinois and Hamilton mainly, and Howard and Keystone-Howard exclusively, limited their production to higher-end products. How one ranks them depends on the ranking criteria.

If you rank the significant U.S. makers of jeweled watches based on the reverence collectors accord their most treasured output, I think they would rank as follows:
  1. Waltham, based on the American Watch Company line, especially the Model 1872, and the Premier Maximus
  2. Elgin, based on the 21 jewel interchangeables, Models 72 and 91.
  3. Keystone-Howard, based on the Edward Howard model
  4. Howard, entire output
  5. Hamilton, Illinois excellent quality but few really highly revered collectibles
  6. All the rest, e.g., South Bend, Rockford etc.
My ranking of significant U.S. makers of jeweled watches based on the absolute quality of their best movements:
  1. Hamilton, because it was producing quality PWs after all other U.S. firms had stopped. Its late models incorporated a century of U.S. experience making PWs, and its manufacturing became so precise and parts so interchangeable that serial numbers no longer were needed.
  2. All the rest.
My ranking of significant U.S. makers based on the number of interesting collectible models is:
  1. Waltham
  2. Elgin
  3. Howard
  4. Illinois
  5. Hamilton
  6. All the rest
Coincidentally, I have 41 Elgin's, 38 Waltham's, 28 Illinois, 18 Hamiltons, 5 Howards, 5 Keystone-Howards, 2 South Bends in my pocket watch collection

My ranking of significant U.S. makers based on their contributions to U.S. watchmaking:
  1. Waltham
  2. Howard
  3. Hamilton
  4. Elgin
  5. Illinois
  6. Keystone-Howard
  7. All the rest
 
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darrahg

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Its brief existence of 39 years, production of less than one million, and financial difficulties of the Rockford Watch Company didn't seem to affect its production of a significant number of high quality watch movements. However, I do appreciate their being considered underrated by others as I still need to purchase 2 or 3 for my collection and would like to acquire them at reasonable prices.
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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I particularly like the Howard keystone watches even though they are quite despised.
My dad work for Elgin and then learned watch repair in the early 1950s. For his era Howard (and by that we should assume Keystone-Howard) was considered the "Cadillac" of watches. Not the Ferrari, Porsche or other fancy European, but the overall "premium" American make.

All FWIW.
 

John Cote

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I love these discussions. Who is the greatest ball player?....who is the best jazz pianist?....what is the best or how do you rank anything. Subjective questions like this have one answer....It depends.

I'll subjectively go with Waltham as the most interesting American watch company and the company which probably, without much dispute (ha ha) made the best American watch. However, if you are interested in 16s RR watches from the 1920s, like a lot of folk do, you probably don't collect Waltham first.

It just depends.
 

Allan C. Purcell

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You know how things go sometimes, the sun is shining, the wife has gone out shopping, and then the postman calls with a wonderful parcel you have waited three weeks for. (From Australia ). You open the packet, then fight through the plastic bubbles and tesa, and there it is the little wonder. So you wind it a little, set it to time, and wait a couple of hours, and your wonderful little watch (16s) is doing what you wanted. "It Tells The Time"

All is well in the world :emoji_sunglasses:

Then you turn on your computer, thinking of a name for your new thread, must get it right, or Rob will screw your head. Then out of the corner, you notice "Was there a general consensus on brand ranking?" (So what the hell is that, I ask myself?)

So I had to look at it (curiosity kills the cat- or it killed my sunshine) Now everyone knows that the Fredonia Watch Company and the Dueber Watch Company are the best watchmakers America ever turned out.

Then this,
1664374636770.png

1664374735250.png

Now I like Ethan Lipsig, who wouldént, it´s not like him to make such a mistake, I must send him a PM, and put him right. Fancy writing all that, and then forgetting Fredonia and Dueber, OK I know Dueber got some help from the Hampton Watch Company, but only because the other companies could not make cases as good as they did, or was it because they didént start having a watch company. Anyway, I was going to tell you all about my new watch in my collection, but I am afraid I will go and sulk for a while, but when I do it will be on the "DUEBER WATCH COMPANY " thread.

Have you got one?

Allan.

PS. Bernard, it was Stanley Matthews.
 

Ethan Lipsig

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Allen, I recognize that your humorous response may not warrant a serious answer, but I did not mean to slight any significant U.S. maker of jeweled watches. Hampden before and after the Dueber takeover certainly was a significant maker. It and all the other significant U.S. makers all made fine, high-quality watches, but I don't regard Hampden as a standout under any of the ranking criteria Ilisted, I know nothing about Fredonia, but don't think of it as a significant maker.
 

Clint Geller

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For the question of which American watch was the "best" to make any sense at all, I think you would at very least need to specify a date. In 1855, the Boston Watch Company was both the best and the worst American watch manufacturer, because it was the only American watch manufacturer. In 1863, you had your choice between the American Watch Co. and E. Howard & Co. At the time, the average quality of Howard watches was higher than that of Waltham watches, but I make no claims about the relative quality of the best Waltham and the best Howard watches circa 1863. Not long after, five new companies entered into the field, in addition to small makers like Fasoldt and Reed, and later came other small makers such as D. D. Palmer, Fred MacIntyre and a host of additional watch manufacturers. Confounding the question still further is the fact that once relatively inexpensive American watches began keeping time about as well as the average consumer needed, American watch manufacturers made a concerted effort to broaden the definition of watch quality in order to sell more expensive watches.
 
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Jerry Treiman

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Were they deemed as luxury watch brands? [ ... ] Or did that sort of concept exist at all?
As so many have pointed out, identifying "the best" American watch company is very subjective, with no valid single answer. However, if we revisit the original question, which appears to be posited in a historical sense, this can be addressed a little more objectively. Rather than what do WE think was the best watch company, the question was what the concensus was of the public at some particular point in time. As Clint has indicated in the previous post, that too will change depending on what era we are considering and what companies were in the business at that time. But the answers may lie with discussions and judgements made "back then". And, of course, bias and commercial interests can affect the judgements even then.

One possibly less-biased opinion may be indicated by the choice of Waltham, for a period of several decades, for the very special presidential presentation watches for heroism and bravery. Are there some other indications, not from the watch company PR departments, to indicate what watch company was highly esteemed by the public at a particular time? For instance, which American brands were chosen by the elite jewelers of the day? For example, at different times Tiffany & Co. sold Waltham, or Illinois or Hamilton watches.
 

Steven Thornberry

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Perhaps the style/type of pocket watch might have to be factored in. By that I mean 12S, 16s, 18s. But, as has been said, it is all subjective.
 
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miguel angel cladera

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As a European observer I see that many of the more collectible American watches such as the Howard watch keystone, the waltham maximus premium and so on, were made or developed in a distinctly European styling exercise... to European taste and perhaps many of us are looking for just that resemblance in general. Even the early grades of waltham were very similar aesthetically to watches imported from the UK. As a fan of American watchmaking, that which imposed a new method of mass and mass production and in many cases striving for excellence, Hamilton represents (to my mind) the highest degree of that same industry which revolutionised the world of horology. That does not detract from the fact that in my small collection I would not trade my Howard Boston series III for any Hamilton.
 

Tom McIntyre

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Gee... I thought I posted the best 3 American watches as my entry in the three of a kind discussion.:)
 

topspin

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We haven't covered the geography aspect of this yet. Some of the brands did a much better job of marketing themselves in certain locations than others.

For example. Based on what I have seen turning up in antique shops and other non-online outlets, I would say that the prestige ranking here back-in-the-day went something like this -

1. Waltham - wide variety of low-to-middling grades.
2. Elgin - mostly low-grade 16s.
3. Er, that's it. Everyone else was buying Swiss or occasionally British watches.
 

Allan C. Purcell

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Ethan, you are more than right about what you say, though humorous, there was some truth in how it came about. I did want to talk about my new Dueber Watch Company, though sold under the firm name of the Hampton Watch Company. So let us have a look at it.

IMG_1661.JPG
Double sunk dial, I believe is loved by American collectors, the seconds marked in red, indicating an RR-type watch.


IMG_1659.JPG IMG_1660.JPG

16s Dueber Watch Company, Double Roller, adjusted in 5 positions, Safety Pinion, 21 Jewels, Compensation Balance Wheel, Stem wound and pin set.
Serial Number 2713855. It is said there are only five known at this time (I think that will change)

On, a personal opinion, I would say they should have put these in gold cases or at least coin silver, but they chose to use Silverine. I also don´t like screwed-on front and back bezels, I would have preferred a swing out. I know I can wind and set an English Single Table Roller, key wind and key set quicker.

I won´t mention Fredonia unless you want to talk about that firm, they were only around for four years.

Going back to your post 14 Ethan, it is an inspiration to open thoughts not usually given on this forum. Fredonia and Dueber were the worms on the hook in my post. I know quite well that these two firms today, are a little ignored. (To say the least). In the short time, this thread started, I have been given the information I knew nothing about, and I have done an awful amount of reading about American watches. You could compare the history of the English watch with that of other countries. The History of the English watch a hundred years ago was based on London in the main, and anything outside was really not worth looking at, of course, it changed (Slowly) and at the present time, some of these historians mention Liverpool/Prescot and Coventry. What really happens is the collectors of today cannot buy the history they have read, they are in Bank faults, and Museums. The collector then moves on, and the historical changes suit him. We see it today in the race to buy the best wristwatch, which leaves pocket watch collectors with their old books. It´s just the way things are, and we cannot change it, in America, their watches were made in huge amounts, so are still easy to find and the price is right.

Here is another a little later.

IMG_1667.JPG Dial much the same, but only the second's dial is sunken, and it´s an 18s now.

IMG_1664.JPG 21 Jewels, Adjusted to 5 positions, double roller, safety pinion, compensation balance., though again they use a nickel case, this time Fahys Oresilver. Serial number 3268544.

I was given today in a PM, that all American watches were by 1881, stem wound or either lever or pendant set. I accept that because I know the gentleman knows more about American watches than anyone else I know. Now that is historical advancement over a period of twenty years, but where does that leave or interest the guy who collects key wound watches? Collecting is, after all, something like smoking, you try a few times, then you find you are stuck with it. (Took me thirty-five years to get rid of smoking, (I could do with one now) This American watch interest is also getting into my blood, a few weeks ago I bought a Waltham Riverside, just because everyone has one. (I think) It has everything the Hampton has, though only 19 jewels, Oh and a 14K rolled gold case. Now that´s progress.

IMG_1665.JPG

I suppose all I am saying is, to take a step back and give the little guys a chance, they tried their best, and gave their all.

Allan. IMG_1660.JPG
 
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topspin

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Regarding " I was given today in a PM, that all American watches were by 1881, stem wound or either lever or pendant set. I accept that because I know the gentleman knows more about American watches than anyone else I know. "

Can I politely disagree, or at least suggest that the statement seems to be either unclear or missing at least one caveat?

 
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Clint Geller

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Regarding " I was given today in a PM, that all American watches were by 1881, stem wound or either lever or pendant set. I accept that because I know the gentleman knows more about American watches than anyone else I know. "

Can I politely disagree, or at least suggest that the statement seems to be either unclear or missing at least one caveat?

Topspin, there were caveats stated in the PM that Allan mentioned. Here is what I wrote him:

"By 1881, top quality American watches were all stemwound and either lever or pendant set, and all had at least fifteen jewels (and except for Howards, more than fifteen jewels)."

We have been discussing "the best" American watches, so my post referred only to "top quality" American watches.
 
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Allan C. Purcell

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Topspin, there were caveats stated in the PM that Allen mentioned. Here is what I wrote him:

"By 1881, top quality American watches were all stem wound and either lever or pendant set, and all had at least fifteen jewels (and except for Howards, more than fifteen jewels)."

We have been discussing "the best" American watches, so my post referred only to "top quality" American watches.
Clint, I apologise for missing out "Top quality", I was writing from memory.

Allan.
 

Dr. Jon

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I like Keystone Howard for their overall high quality level but to me the best outfit was Illinois.

To me the essence of the America watch is high technology and high quality in quantity.

All the companies could assemble a tiger team and knock out few very high end watches but the American companies could make a very fine watch in quantity.

The 60 hour Bunns and Sangamos were America originals . They got to 60 hour with and exceptional train and mainspring. They are wonderful watches and they made a bunch of them. They also initiated 6 position adjusting.


Technically, I like the Lossier coil Walthams, Vanguard an Maximus. Lovely technically and also in quantity, but late in the life of the industry.

I also regard the World War 1 freesprung Elgin Father Time watches as magnificent and highly under regarded. I believe they had Guillaume balances and in trials against Swiss and English box chronometers these held up. They did not win but they punched way above their weight, met the standard for competitive buy in and they are lovely. Again it is quantity, not enough for rail use but enough for the small ship US Navy and US Merchant Marine.

For World War 2 it has to be Hamilton. As magnificent as the model 21 is, it was a mistake in my view. They should have just used 22's. Not Hamilton's call and they tell the US Navy this

The model 22 is stunning and the 4992b for the Air War. Both used research in improved balances and springs to improve timekeeping and they made them in quantity.

The essence of American watches is production. They made some nice "Prestige" stuff but the Swiss and English did these better.
 

Clint Geller

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I like Keystone Howard for their overall high quality level but to me the best outfit was Illinois.

To me the essence of the America watch is high technology and high quality in quantity.

All the companies could assemble a tiger team and knock out few very high end watches but the American companies could make a very fine watch in quantity.

The 60 hour Bunns and Sangamos were America originals . They got to 60 hour with and exceptional train and mainspring. They are wonderful watches and they made a bunch of them. They also initiated 6 position adjusting.


Technically, I like the Lossier coil Walthams, Vanguard an Maximus. Lovely technically and also in quantity, but late in the life of the industry.

I also regard the World War 1 freesprung Elgin Father Time watches as magnificent and highly under regarded. I believe they had Guillaume balances and in trials against Swiss and English box chronometers these held up. They did not win but they punched way above their weight, met the standard for competitive buy in and they are lovely. Again it is quantity, not enough for rail use but enough for the small ship US Navy and US Merchant Marine.

For World War 2 it has to be Hamilton. As magnificent as the model 21 is, it was a mistake in my view. They should have just used 22's. Not Hamilton's call and they tell the US Navy this

The model 22 is stunning and the 4992b for the Air War. Both used research in improved balances and springs to improve timekeeping and they made them in quantity.

The essence of American watches is production. They made some nice "Prestige" stuff but the Swiss and English did these better.
You raise interesting points, Jon. In some sense, you seem to have addressed a somewhat different question than the one asked by the OP. You seem to have addressed the question: "Who was the best American watch manufacturer?" rather than "What was the best American watch?"

I completely agree with you that quality production in quantity was the great historic achievement of American watchmaking. However, the drive for production efficiency drove out individual character and did its best to minimize the need for the use of craft skill. I am one of those collectors who is most attracted to the period when the tension between craft skill and the drive for production efficiency was still playing out in delightful, creative ways. Clearly, dazzling damaskeening has nothing at all to do with timekeeping accuracy, reliability, or functionality, but it is one of those endearing attributes of a watch that makes it worth having more than just one of a particular make and model. Like many collectors, I am drawn at least as much to the noble failures and techical dead ends, which often reveal aspects of the creators' motivations, limitations, ingenuity, and occasionally, their hubris. I especially like early Howards, for example, specifically because Howard had one foot still in the Old World and his penchant for experimentation caused his early products to evolve almost continuously. Clearly, if I had been an investor in Howard's enterprise, I would likely have had a different attitude towards his eccentric and inefficient production practices, but I was not. I am a contemporary collector.

So if I were looking for a single 20th century watch that most perfectly epitomizes the greatest ultimate achievement of American watchmaking, I might indeed choose an Illinois or a Hamilton product, for exactly the reason you gave. However, their precision sameness is one of their great functional strengths, which to me, makes them less interesting to collect. I guess that's why I prefer to collect 19th century American watches. Obviously, other collectors will differ on this.

Oh, and by the way, I believe E. Howard & Co. was first with 6 position adjusting.
 
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Dr. Jon

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For high end watches I prefer the Swiss and English. I like some American watches. I think the American grade '72 is one of prettiest watches ever made but for what it costs I can two or three very fine Swiss or English watches of similar quality with no worry about stuff having been switched around. For me much as I like the '72 American, I can buy a Kullberg freesprung keyless fusee all original for less and it is far better watch.

As to six position adjusting, it began in 1872 with the Geneva Chronometer service. Neuchatel has begun certifying timepieces to temperature and five positions in 1868. Geneva went "one better" to six positions but they abandoned it after a few years.


Howard was not a mass maker Illinois was and 60 hour Bunns and Sangamos are lovely and exemplify American making. I especially like the true bridge Sangamos.
 
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Clint Geller

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For high end watches I prefer the Swiss and English. I like some American watches. I think the American grade '72 is one of prettiest watches ever made but for what it costs I can two or three very fine Swiss or English watches of similar quality with no worry about stuff having been switched around. For me much as I like the '72 American, I can buy a Kullberg freesprung keyless fusee all original for less and it is far better watch.

As to six position adjusting, it began in 1872 with the Geneva Chronometer service. Neuchatel has begun certifying timepieces to temperature and five positions in 1868. Geneva went "one better" to six positions but they abandoned it after a few years.


Howard was not a mass maker Illinois was and 60 hour Bunns and Sangamos are lovely and exemplify American making. I especially like the true bridge Sangamos.
Jon,

The surviving factory records show that Howard was adjusting to positions at least as early as 1862, if not earlier, and I believe their positionally adjusted movements were always adjusted to all six positions right from the beginning. I don't, however, have a source for that last piece of information right at the top of my head. I would have to go back and research it again. Most fully adjusted Howard movements with serial numbers below about 12,000 can only be identified by consulting the records. However, there was one short run of perhaps ten experimental half plate N Size movements at SN 3,201 which were engraved "Adjusted" on their top plates. These movements have dial plates with integral sidewalls, dispensing with the six pillars of the earlier split plate movements, and they are equipped with Breguet overcoil hairsprings, making them the only Howard movements ever produced with Breguet hairsprings until after Edward Howard's retirement from management. Howard was experimenting with helical hairsprings in the same period when these Breguet hairspring movements were produced. The pictures of movement SN 3,208 below are from Chris Abell, with whom I coauthored a short Bulletin article about these experimental watches that was published in August 2007.

As for the merits of Swiss and English watches, that would be getting even further off topic. However, Howard made about 120,000 watch movements in about 45 years. That number is very small compared with the likes of Waltham and Elgin in the same period, but possibly not as small compared with many foreign makers in that same period (1858-1903). Besides, there was no minimum output specified by the OP to compete for the title of "best American watch."

1664629501478.jpeg

1664629547867.jpeg

1664629578396.jpeg
 
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Dr. Jon

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Position adjustment is an interesting topic.

Unlike the Americans, the Swiss identified the limits of position adjustment. Six positions for 30 seconds a day is one thing but 5 positions to 5 seconds as required for a first class certificate is quite another and the sixth was probably still well within what most US companies were doing at 6; but, I do not know what the Howard standards were.

Wayne's Elgin site has some information on it this. It identifies levels but I have not found any way to associate the level with any of their watches. My analysis , based on rules of thumb, is that if do five positions to 30 seconds per day 99% of these will meet railroad 30 seconds per week. I have seen a statement that Hamilton 950's were adjusted to 15 seconds per day in the five positions which made them excellent railroad watches.


My experience has been that this works for the times I have carried such watches.



It is a matter of taste. I like American watches for what I think was their unique contribution. They gave the buyers a lot for their money and their ads educated their buyers. That is how I think they should be judged.

If you are lookng to top end possessions of a few, they made some nice stuff and it is specialty area of collecting. I like them but not enough to actually own many.

US Presidents gave foreign watches to ship captains who rescued Americans at sea, so I am not unique in my view.
 

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US Presidents gave foreign watches to ship captains who rescued Americans at sea, so I am not unique in my view.
Welllllll....not early on. The best of the Presidential presentations are the 20s Nashua/Walthams with the enameled cases. These are pretty difficult to beat.
 

Clint Geller

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Prior to the advent of Waltham KW20's, the Buchanan administration awarded at least one Jules Jurgensen watch, a pocket chronometer, as I recall, to a foreign ship's captain, but the Lincoln administration switched over to the 20 Size Walthams once they became available, probably if for no other reason than that they were American products.

Writing in 1885-87, Crossman stated that the sum of all six positional errors that Howard allowed for a fully adjusted watch was 8 seconds per day.
 
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Greg Frauenhoff

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Position adjustment is an interesting topic.

Unlike the Americans, the Swiss identified the limits of position adjustment. Six positions for 30 seconds a day is one thing but 5 positions to 5 seconds as required for a first class certificate is quite another and the sixth was probably still well within what most US companies were doing at 6; but, I do not know what the Howard standards were.

Wayne's Elgin site has some information on it this. It identifies levels but I have not found any way to associate the level with any of their watches. My analysis , based on rules of thumb, is that if do five positions to 30 seconds per day 99% of these will meet railroad 30 seconds per week. I have seen a statement that Hamilton 950's were adjusted to 15 seconds per day in the five positions which made them excellent railroad watches.
Jon,

Regarding Elgin, the so-called Master Grade books give a number code for the adjustment standards of various grades. Below is some info I posted a while back about the Ball-Elgin grades. If there is a specific grade that you'd like to know more about, adjustment wise, let me know and I will take a look for such.

"Here is the relevant info from Elgin records showing that the mvts they made for Ball were not fully adjusted at the Elgin factory. The first two are from the page in the so-called Elgin Master Records for the grade 333. Note the line "Adjustment 30". And if we check what this code meant (third pic) we see that the mvts were only checked in 2 positions and that the tolerance was 30 seconds in 24 hrs.

img898.jpg img899.jpg img897.jpg "

Greg
 
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Dr. Jon

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Another slice at this still consistent with the OP's request is what brand did repair shops prefer.

The most common repair isssue is broken balance staff and my experience is that the old Howard company did htis the best. When I have repalced their staffs they needed no adjustment, but they were hard and required a lot of effort to rivet them.

From what I have read, and from conversations with repair people I think Hamilton was the best.

All the other parts were pretty much the same high grade so one pallet assembly, for example, fit a lot of models and the parts stock was a lot smaller.
 

Incroyable

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What about Gruen?

I was always under the impression Dietrich Gruen watches were considered quite high end. Things like the 50th Anniversary pocket watch.
 
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Barney Green

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I think one has to differentiate. There were some completely Swiss made Gruen's, Gruen made or sourced most of it's movements in Switzerland, also some of their cases, but the majortiy of their watches were "made" aka assembled in the USA using mainly US made cases. Around 1950 there were even completely US made watches.
 

musicguy

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In the end I think the question is all about watch collecting, and which are the best
American Pocket Watch Companies to buy. This is a question that all new collectors
have. We all have our different favorites (as seen above) and I personally buy what
I like from each of the Watch Companies I like, that's the best part of collecting. I make my own
subjective choices of which watch companies I do not collect as well.

For me it's not what people thought about the companies in the past
or present, the watches do speak for themselves. Hold a few nice ones in
your hand, open them up, wind them, look at the movements,
watch the secondhand move, from any of the top named companies above
and you will be impressed. In terms of time keeping even a Waterbury
kept good time and it was absolutely not a luxury brand.



Rob
 

Dr. Jon

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A few years ago I had lunch in Glasshutte with the head of marketinbg for Glasshutte Original.

This is very high end brand with an unusual history. In summary the town of Glasshutte had several very high end makers such as Lange, Assmann, and others. After the war the Soviet occupation and looting of machinery what was left was set up as givernmetn owned collective which made a lot of medium to good watches. Afer the wall came down a Lange descendent regained teh parts of this had been Lange. What was left became Glasshutte Original and they went from packagingh Swiss movemetn to making very fine watches.

While at lunch I took out my Hamilton 950B I and showed it to the guy. He was blown away.
 

musicguy

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While at lunch I took out my Hamilton 950B I and showed it to the guy. He was blown away.
There is absolutely no question that Hamilton was one
of the best American Watch Companies and the 950B is a 23j beauty (With visible jeweled barrel).


Rob
 

Allan C. Purcell

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Like say South Bend or Illinois? Were they deemed as luxury watch brands? Or reliable tool brands? Or did that sort of concept exist at all?
Thank you.
Going back to the question given at the top of this thread, the question is two-sided. I don´t think for a minute that it was even considered when for instance, the first watch companies got started, the race then was a good watch but a factory-made watch with Interchangeable parts, it made gods out of the mechanics, and to ensure them. patents galore. Money of course was also very important in how things would move, finance was at first a huge risk, and many lost all. In fact, many of the firms that came through were run by rich investors, it's just the way things had to go. I would say at this stage that when you heard of another company starting up, you were a little worried. I must say from here, the early firm's watches were surprisingly well made, and a lot of thought had gone into the plans for these watches. We all know the stories of Howard and the American Watch Company, once they had roots, others followed, and here we start to get competition, which is the other side of the question. Competition is one thing, another problem was who is going to sell them, and where. Now the newspapers would need to fill their pages with the wonders of their wonderful watches. Here we meet exaggeration and the good price of a pocket watch. Without saying it, each firm was indicating, my watches are the best, and at the best price. It´s here we come into this story, the customer, the collector, and the investor. Each one of these has a different outlook, a different taste even, the customer in many cases just wants one watch, and the collector will go for as many as he can afford, (maybe). The investor hopes he will have a long life. There is a little of this in all of us. My part in all this is my interest in the history of pocket watches, and at times I buy watches to support my interest at any given moment, so that is the collector in me, which makes me a customer, and yes an investor, some of the junk I bought over the years, is more valuable than I ever dreamed of.

This then leads me to a pocket watch I bought some months ago, and like all my watches I get around trying to find out everything about them. Let us take a look at it.



IMG_1668.JPG IMG_1669.JPG
Hunter Case, Dueber Coin. Gold hinges, push button to open the dial cover

IMG_1671.JPG IMG_1672.JPG IMG_1670.JPG
The regulator was patented by C. M. Howard No 314,672 Mar. 31, 1885. (More on that later)

IMG_1674.JPG IMG_1675.JPG
Here the dial side. Here you need to open it with your fingernail, outer and inner cover.



Now when I looked up the watch serial number 11008 on the NAWCC board, this is what I found. Now if I had seen this earlier, I don´t think I would have bought it. So my first question is "How do you insert photographs on the Fredonia lists? Or any other of these files?
1664612114620.png

I think we will be talking quite a lot about these lists. Though first I would like to talk about the introduction to the Fredonia Company N.Y.

1664653290713.png

1664653504025.png



1664653628363.png

So this introduction gives us a very thin history of the factory owned by the Howard Brothers of New York. Each paragraph leaves you with your head full of questions. Take paragraph one 1879, did the Swiss arrive? Were the first watches made on Swiss ebauche´s? Paragraph 2 gave me a shock, I was under the impression that the Mark Twain watch was first made by the Fredonia Watch Company after the new start. (From another article). (I do now know it was indeed first made by the Independent Watch Company at Fredonia New York) (Photographs later)

I am going to leave this for now. it´s getting too long, and Rob just might move it to some other or new thread.

So, to be cont.....
 

musicguy

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musicguy

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Now when I looked up the watch serial number 11008 on the NAWCC board, this is what I found. Now if I had seen this earlier, I don´t think I would have bought it. So my first question is "How do you insert photographs on the Fredonia lists? Or any other of these files?
Also,
This site you reference above is Not a NAWCC website or board. You should join that
private website and then you can add your watches there. But
anything that you post from that website here on the NAWCC Forum you MUST give
them full credit if you post exact quotes or
screen shots from that privately owned website.
Screen shot's or copy pasted parts usually also need permission.

Rob
 

musicguy

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This thread is complete.

If Alan wants to start a new thread on Fredonia
or anyone else wants to start a new thread on one of the topics above that
would be great.


Rob
 
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