The Essex Watch Case Co. began in 1884. It was taken over by Courvoisier-Wilcox around 1893, but that only lasted until 1905 when that firm went under.
Essex Watch Case Co.: A Thumbnail DescriptionThe book History of the American Watch Case, Warren H. Niebling, Whitmore Publishing, Philadelphia, PA, 1971 (available on loan by mail to members from the NAWCC Library & Research Center), has a small amount to say about the Essex Watch Case Co. It began in 1884, making a grade of gold-filled cases named "Columbia." After several years, Thomas B. Hagstoz, who at one time was in a partnership that held the J. Boss patent for gold-filled case manufacture, was named president of Essex. Under his leadership, Essex expanded its line to include 14K and 18K solid gold cases as well as silver cases. "By 1894 they were turning out 300 cases a day."
The Essex Watch Case Co. appears to have been taken over by the Courvoisier-Wilcox Mfg Co. some time between 1892, when the Columbia grade was still being sold by the Essex Watch Case Co., and 1895, at which time surviving ads show the change. Perhaps this occurred during the Panic of 1893. This firm continued the Essex line of solid gold cases; gold-filled cases, such as the Superior, Columbia and Mascot; and silver cases as well. As pictures (posted by richiec) show, the Superior case was marked 14K - Guranteed 25 Years while the case paper clearly shows that it is a gold-filled case.
By June of 1905, Courvoisier-Wilcox passed into the hands of a receiver who sold off the complete stock of watch cases to Wm. I. Rosenfeld. At that time the remaining assets of Courvoisier-Wilcox were placed up for sale.
Case Grade Case Material 14K Standard (posted by markm22) Undetermined if solid 14K Gold or Gold-Filled; probably Gold-Filled. Superior 14K Gold-Filled, guaranteed for 25 years Columbia Originally guaranteed for 20 years, later 14K Gold-Filled, guaranteed for 15 years Derby/Jockey Cap (posted by Frank N) Derby & Jockey Cap Trade Marks Gold-Filled Mascot 14K Rolled Gold Plate, guaranteed for 5 years
See the Case Material Encyclopedia article for an explanation of the terms.
A number of Essex and Courvoisier-Wilcox trade marks (but not all) may be seen on page 113 of the book Trade Marks Of The Jewelry And Kindred Trades, Second Edition, Jewelers' Circular Publishing Co., NY, 1904 (found online by Askbart).
Essex cases (by this time being made by Courvoisier-Wilcox) are shown throughout pages 327 - 349 (although not on every page) of the 1897 Lapp & Flershem Twenty-first Annual Illustrated Catalogue.
Categories: Category Watch case makers