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1912/13 Ingersol Midget Fixed Wire Lugs

by ADAM HARRIS

A rare and possibly the first American wristwatch has fixed (soldered) wire lugs and is fitted with the first “conventional” leather watch strap.

 

The earliest (1913) American advertisement of a wristwatch, dated November 1912, shows a clear picture of a pocket watch with fixed lugs. Kathleen McDermott’s book Timex: A Company and Its Community 1854-1998, pages 68-71, states:

 

….Robt. H. Ingersoll & Bro. and Waterbury Clock made a rapid conversion to wartime production, manufacturing thousands of modified Ingersol ladies’ Midget model pocket watches (a smaller, thinner style introduced in 1912, with special lugs soldered onto the case at twelve o’clock and six o’clock for threading the strap, and with the winding stem moved to three o’clock instead of twelve noon.

The strap, invented and registered to Edward John Pearson. In August 1908 the company of E. J. Pearson and Sons, harness makers and saddlers at 275 and 277 St. John Street, London, registered a design for a leather wristwatch wrist strap with the Board of Trade. The registration number was 529337. These straps are sometimes seen with "Reg No"" stamped in the middle of the back of the flared section, with "CLIMAX" in a curve above and the Registered Design number 529337 below.

The watch has a serial number 36,812,251 dating it to 1912.  Case is also fitted with its original papers of guarantee. Based on the last patent on the movement Nov.12 1912, we can say Nov 1912 or early 1913

If this is true, there should not be any Ingersoll wristwatch adverts prior to 1912. And this Ingersol watch – with soldered wire lugs and fitted with a 1908 Pearson (CLIMAX) strap, is probably the “The Beginning of the American Wristwatch”

 

The company of E. J. Pearson was named after Edward John Pearson, who was followed into the trade by his son Alfred Edward. When Alfred died in 1966 at the age of 92, a notice was published in the "Latest Wills" section of The Times. It stated that Alfred "invented the watch strap as it is known and used now".

Pearsons were granted at least 10 patents between 1919 and 1966, in addition to the Registered Design described above.

 

This strap was somewhat similar to the design registered by Dimier Brothers in 1903, with a flared centre section beneath the watch case. The Pearson design was different in that the flared section was a separate piece of leather underneath the strap that passed through the wire lugs of the watch. The flared section was stitched to the strap at one end, the other end had a loop attached to it that the strap was passed through to hold the two pieces together, in exactly the same way as Dimier Brothers, however the Pearson design meant that unlike the Dimier Brothers' design, the strap could easily be fitted to the watch without needing stitching or a special design of buckle.”

"Information from VintageWatchstraps.com © David Boettcher"

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