What Are the Rarest Watches in Your American Collections?

PapaLouies

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Well, I have shown these watches before on other threads. They are examples of watch models and grades that are only scarce, rather than truly rare, but with rare or even unique particular features. One is a 21 jewel American Watch Company Grade 20 Size keywind with Fogg's vibrating hairspring stud, which was a patented regulator design that was claimed to preserve isochronism. All AWCo Grade KW20's with Fogg's stud come out of the same hundred lot at SN 150,001, but not all movements in this run had them. Nearly all known AWCo Grade examples with Fogg's stud have 20 jewels, including the usual 19 plus one for the upper pivot hole of the vibrating stud arbor. However, SN 150,024 pictured here, has both pivot holes of the stud arbor jeweled, raising the jewel count to 21. There is reportedly one other such 21 jewel example known. Depending on which of these has the earlier serial number, SN 150,024 may be the earliest 21 jewel American watch movement. It is in a correct and pretty magnificent Celestine Jacot & Brother 18K case with elegant machine engraving on three interior surfaces.

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The second watch is an AWCo Grade Model 1872, SN 999,960, with Charles vander Woerd's patented sawtooth balance, which was a fanciful attempt to reduce middle temperature error. I believe that all but one or two known examples, and all marked examples come out of the hundred lot at SN 999,901. But again, most known examples from this run do not have Woerd's balance. I'm guessing far fewer than half of the movements in this run actually did. Movement SN 999,960 was placed in this gorgeous 18K AWCo case.

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The third watch, which may be unique, is an American Grade Model 1868 with later, elaborate damaskeening, SN 410,435, in a heavy 18K AWCo case.

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The fourth watch is a nickel American Grade 16 Size Keywind with a total production of fewer than 80. It is contemporaneous with the second short run of American Grade Model 1868's, of which I also have an example, but it is even rarer than the Model 1868. SN 501,586 has especially nice damaskeening. It also has a flat hairspring, which is unusual but not unheard of for this kind of watch. The case is 18K AWCo.

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I also have a marked "NONMAGNETIC" American Grade Model 1872 with a nonmagnetic double roller escapement, but my watchmaker is still cleaning it up, so I don't have pix to share.
Clint, Is not Word's Balance on your American Watch Co. S/N 999960, extremely rare.
Regards, P/L
 
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Ralph

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I've posted this watch before. It is a Rockford 22 jewel. It is labeled Walthier Superior Railway Chronometer. It has M. Young's "Railway", on the dial. It needs a better set of hands and a new staff.... and maybe a better case. It was in an open face case when I got it many years ago.

rockdial.jpg rockford2.JPG rockford5.jpg
 

Clint Geller

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Clint, Is not Word's Balance on your American Watch Co. S/N 999960, extremely rare.
Regards, P/L
Hi P/L, to my knowledge there is one run of a hundred movements beginning at SN 999,901, which is the third run of AWCo grade Model 1872's, which carry the sawtooth balance patent marking, but fewer than half the known examples from this run actually have the sawtooth balance. Other than those examples, I believe there is one recorded unmarked example with Woerd's balance in an earlier run of AWCo grade Model 1872's. I think there may be 20 or so open face movements that carry the patent marking as well, but I don't know whether any open face examples originally had the sawtooth balance. So yes, I would say it is "very rare," especially compared with the number of people who would like to own one.
 
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PapaLouies

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Hi P/L, to my knowledge there is one run of a hundred movements beginning at SN 999,901, which is the third run of AWCo grade Model 1872's, which carry the sawtooth balance patent marking, but fewer than half the known examples from this run actually have the sawtooth balance. Other than those examples, I believe there is one recorded unmarked example with Woerd's balance in an earlier run of AWCo grade Model 1872's. I think there may be 20 or so open face movements that carry the patent marking as well, but I don't know whether any open face examples originally had the sawtooth balance. So yes, I would say it is "very rare," especially compared with the number of people who would like to own one.
Hi Clint,
Back in 1983 I was shown an American Watch Co. watch that had a balance with several extra long balance screws which I had never seen before. I wonder if this my have been another variation of Woerd's balance.
Regards, P/L
 
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PatH

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watchbob

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I'm not sure if it winds backward - haven't had it out in a long time & I'm not where it is now. - Had it apart many yrs ago to check if reverse was done under the dial & it wasn't ! - showed this at a show many yrs ago & like Rick many had a hard time until I pointed out it's backward numbers ( it is an original factory fired waltham type dial)

ALSO It does say C H Higbee -if you can point me to that Civil War info I'd like to look at it.
I thought C H Higbee might have been a Waltham worker - does he show up in the waltham info ?
 
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musicguy

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Rare United States Watch Co model USWCo Marion NJ - 19J Raised gold jewel settings - Breguet hairspring - Lord's Prayer in seconds bit - 18K button set USWCo hunter case -- not many of these very expensive watches made in it's day
Spectacular!


Rob
 

PatH

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ALSO It does say C H Higbee -if you can point me to that Civil War info I'd like to look at it.
I thought C H Higbee might have been a Waltham worker - does he show up in the waltham info ?
I haven't looked at Waltham info, but here are a couple of links. Not saying it's the right C.H. Higbee, but probably worth a look.
 

Clint Geller

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Clint Geller

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Hi Clint,
Back in 1983 I was shown an American Watch Co. watch that had a balance with several extra long balance screws which I had never seen before. I wonder if this my have been another variation of Woerd's balance.
Regards, P/L
Hi P/L, I would need more information to assess the possiility you raise, but I recognize you are trying to remember something you saw thirty eight years ago.
 
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Clint Geller

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I find a C H Higbee working for Potter & Buffinton in the 1890s

Potter & Buffinton seem to be a jewelery and silver jobber.

No telling if it's the same person.
Inasmuch as the dial of the watch is signed "maker," the person who signed the watch, and who may have been the seller rather than the consumer, seems to have been in the trade, so I'd say it is a pretty decent chance it is the same person you found, Rick. The movement was finished in early 1866, so that is quite a significant time difference to the 1890's, but still it is very possibly the same person. I would also say that without even a named city of residence to go by, much less an actual Civil War related inscription, it is too tentative to identify the name on the watch with a Civil War veteran. Perhaps the original case might have carried such information, but the current case has an extra screw mark in it.
 
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Ethan Lipsig

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In post #84 of this thread, I showed my Howard Series III with Cole's Resilient Escapement. Perhaps because of that posting, another collector called me, asking me to sell the watch to him because it had been one of the favorites in his very large and impressive collection. This collector had the original 1870 sales receipt hanging framed in his "watch room". He told me that the watch accidentally had been sent to Bonhams to be auctioned off and that he hadn't realized he no longer owned the watch until he learned that I owned it. He asked me to name any price I wanted for the watch. Naturally, I instantly sold it back to him for what I'd paid for it plus shipping costs. Though I was sad to see it go, the pleasure I got from reuniting the watch with its former owner and its original receipt more than made up for any sense of loss.
 

Clint Geller

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In post #84 of this thread, I showed my Howard Series III with Cole's Resilient Escapement. Perhaps because of that posting, another collector called me, asking me to sell the watch to him because it had been one of the favorites in his very large and impressive collection. This collector had the original 1870 sales receipt hanging framed in his "watch room". He told me that the watch accidentally had been sent to Bonhams to be auctioned off and that he hadn't realized he no longer owned the watch until he learned that I owned it. He asked me to name any price I wanted for the watch. Naturally, I instantly sold it back to him for what I'd paid for it plus shipping costs. Though I was sad to see it go, the pleasure I got from reuniting the watch with its former owner and its original receipt more than made up for any sense of loss.
You're a good man, Ethan. You personify the collegial spirit to which we all should aspire.
 

musicguy

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the pleasure I got from reuniting the watch with its former owner and its original receipt more than made up for any sense of loss.
Very nice and considerate Ethan!, I think(hope) many of us would have done something similar.
For me I would have taken a 2000% profit and then jumped on the next private
jet for some small Greek island and would be sipping some cocktails and eating some nice food. ;)




Rob
 

watchbob

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Another USWCo Marion : George Washington Exhibition Watch Philadelphia 1876 & Philadelphia dial in 18K hunter case - only other one like this that is listed is ser# 22432 - Gene Fuller's article was in Oct 1977 Bulletin
MY watch came from England in 1980's or so - A Englishman from a mart ad contacted me about wanting to trade early English fusee movements for this - completed the deal after a couple years by sending the fusee movements & he sent the watch ( not sure I'd be so trusting today ) My guess is it was sold at the end of the Philadelphia Exhibition & ended up in England ?

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4thdimension

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This a bit of a cheat because this watch is not only common but it is made up from two different models(note the serial numbers). It is, however, the only known example of patent #632,128, for a special balance cock that includes the potence as a conjoined piece. There is much more info about it in an article I wrote about its designer Ernest Krahenbuhl that appeared in Bulletin #409. I put the watch into a worn case for safe keeping even though case screws can’t be used due to it being made of different models. I almost took it out once when I needed the case for another watch but then I noticed the monogram “EK”. What a fluke! It meant the case and watch would have to stay together(where would find another EK case?) -Cort

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Rick Hufnagel

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So That is the patented double regulator index! Very neat!.

From period literature, Deacon is:
18s Full plate 11 jewels
18s 3/4 plate 11 jewels
14s 3/4 plate 11 jewels
10s 3/4 plate 15 jewels

Add a double sunk dial for a buck.

That's really neat to see thank you
 
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aucaj

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Jean-Simon Chaudron, Philadelphia; Watchmaker for Thomas Jefferson

One of my rarest American watches is by Simon Chaudron (1758-1846) of Philadelphia. I have attached a photo of the movement. He was a poet, silversmith, newspaper editor and watchmaker. He was a watchmaker to Thomas Jefferson. He is also well known for his eulogy at Washington's funeral that was later published as "Funeral Oration on Brother George Washington". He was the largest investor in the failed Vine and Olive Colony in Demopolis, Alabama. Later he moved to Mobile, Alabama where he entertained Marquis de Lafayette on his 1825 US tour.


R/
Chris

1.JPG
 
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musicguy

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Chris,

Can you show us what's under the dust cover?


Thanks
Rob
 

Clint Geller

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In post #84 of this thread, I showed my Howard Series III with Cole's Resilient Escapement. Perhaps because of that posting, another collector called me, asking me to sell the watch to him because it had been one of the favorites in his very large and impressive collection. This collector had the original 1870 sales receipt hanging framed in his "watch room". He told me that the watch accidentally had been sent to Bonhams to be auctioned off and that he hadn't realized he no longer owned the watch until he learned that I owned it. He asked me to name any price I wanted for the watch. Naturally, I instantly sold it back to him for what I'd paid for it plus shipping costs. Though I was sad to see it go, the pleasure I got from reuniting the watch with its former owner and its original receipt more than made up for any sense of loss.
Speaking of reuniting a watch with a former owner:

BW Woodward Headstone & Watch.JPG Cuvette -2.jpg movt filtered.jpg dial.jpg Inside front lid.jpg
 
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