Survivors of Time:
P. Orr & Sons...
And the true inventor of the first automatic watch is...
French World War I Artilleryman Checks His Wristwatch
Early in my watch collecting career my mentor Marcus Hardy, an “English Gentleman,” taught me a great deal and sold me most of the “greats” in my collection. I will always be deeply indebted to him. [...]
…John Harwood! Finally, I found the illusive proof…the advertisements and retraction printed in June 1956 by Rolex!
Rolex, clearly apologizing, stated that John Harwood was the true inventor of the first automatic watch. It has taken me five years to find this advertisement and retraction. [...]
One of my first and main interests in horology is to find out who made the first wristwatch and when. It’s strange that even five or six years ago no one I talked to could answer that. I am glad to say in the past few years the interest in early wristwatches has been more researched and collected. [...]
In January 1921 Jean Finger of Longeau, Berne, Switzerland, was granted Swiss patent number 89276 for a “Montre à remontoire avec boitier protecteur”—literally a watch with a protective box. The watch was placed inside a larger case with a screw-down bezel that formed a hermetic seal totally protecting the watch. Once the bezel was unscrewed, the smaller watchcase came out on a [...]
17 Jewels, 980 caliber mechanical movement. Serial No. G233838 dating 1939. Inside the back case is marked: US Pat 1,930,416 – Hamilton Watch Co. Lancaster, PA. On pulling that patent I was astounded to see it is a Chauvet original patent on ‘reverso’. [...]
This watch has all the makings of a mystery. I bought it from a private seller because I was immediately struck by three lovely features that made me want to add it to my timepiece collection: (1) an early hermetic sealed so-called “Trench Watch”; (2) an original enamel dial with original aged lumed dial and hands (the orange/red patina is just fantastic); and (3) integrated [...]
Yes, I must be going mad in my horology quest for that “Holy Grail.” If I had shown my latest purchase to my father, he would have asked incredulously, “But where is the watch?” My dear mother would then have exclaimed, “To hell with the watch; where is the strap?”
Yet here I go and buy—not a watch, not a strap [...]
I could have named this thread ”Always Expect the Unexpected” or “In Horology Strange Things Happen.” But remembering the buying property adage “Location, Location, Location,” I decided that in horology it’s “Provenance, Provenance, Provenance.” [...]
While looking through a magazine in the airport lounge, I saw a lovely timepiece. Immediately, I was impressed and delighted to see modern designs using the beautiful designs of the past—especially as nice as this one—because the beginning of the wristwatch is an area of great interest and passion to me. [...]
The Quest Never Ends!
1917 Silver Mappin Campaign Watch, Longines
1912/13 Ingersol midget, fixed wire lugs
In my quest to understand who made and wore the first wristwatches and the beginning of the automatic, my respect and appreciation for one man—John Harwood, the inventor of the automatic wristwatch—became an obsession. [...]
The outer case and dust cover are signed “AB” for Arthur Baum, a director of Baume & Co., who had sole rights to the UK Longines agency. British Silver Import mark for London 1917. The 15J movement is also marked with B & Co. and 13.34, which refers to the movement calibre. Serial No. 3,412,647 dates the year of manufacture to 1917. [...]
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: [...]
1914 Silver-cased borgel WWI Royal Flying Corps Trench Watch
Not Just a Number: Personalized Watch and Clock Dials
Movement is a Longines calibre 13.34. Manufactured in-house by Longines and introduced in 1910. It usually appears with 15 jewels, and the 18 jewel version is rare. The B & Co signature on the movement stands for Baume & Co, who were the official British agents for Longines. Notice the "AB" stamp inside the case back [...]
Have you ever seen a watch dial with letters replacing the numbers? The Eaton Quarter Century manufactured by Rolex is probably the most famous example of this type of watch.
The earliest watch with a personalized dial that I could find is an English Fusee with a verge escapement made by Colston of London circa 1700. [...]
With my latest acquisition I try to answer these three important questions for all watch aficionados to ponder. After 10 years and 200-plus “vintage” watches, why ask myself these questions now? The answer lies in my latest acquisition: a beautiful “vintage” Rolex GMTII. [...]
Today’s modern regulator timepieces, like the Hamilton Jazzmaster Regulator, have separate dials to display the hours and the minutes, a style mainly found on precision timekeepers. [...]
Review: Hamilton Jazzmaster Regulator
Recently, I came across a video about a collector of vintage wristwatches. Without a doubt, he had an outstanding and valuable collection of Rolex and Patek Philippe wristwatches. Many were rare and exciting pieces perfect for any museum, including Patek’s own outstanding museum collection. [...]
Following on the heels of Elgin Trench Watches of the Great War (ISBN 978-0-7643-4711-5), Stan Czubernat has once again written an outstanding horological book, Waltham Trench Watches of the Great War. [...]
Quality of Myth
Review: Waltham Trench Watches of the Great War
Transformation in Time: The National Watch and Clock Museum
My first visit to the National Watch and Clock Museum was in 2009. Before my visit, I had been studying horology for some time and had miraculously stumbled on a great mentor; I gained from him a little knowledge and some outstanding wristwatches. [...]