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Brief History: Ingersoll Watch Company

Including Serial Numbers and Production Dates

New York, New York

1892 - 1922

Illinois Watch Factory

The Chicago World's Fair and Columbian Exposition of 1893 featured a new attraction built by

George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. which carried sightseers to the amazing height of 260 feet.

Ingersoll sold 85,000 watches at the Columbian Expo at a price of $1.50 each.

Ingersoll: The Watch that Made the Dollar Famous

In about 1880, Robert Hawley Ingersoll and his brother Charles Henry, operating in New York as a mail-order business, recognized the need for an inexpensive watch that nearly anyone could afford, to be sold for around one dollar. Both the New Haven Clock Company and the Waterbury Clock company had already produced inexpensive "clock-watches" that met the need that Ingersoll anticipated, but they had not achieved mass-market success or wide distribution. In 1892, Ingersoll placed an initial order for 10,000 watches from the Waterbury Clock Company, at a cost of 85-cents apiece, to be offered in their 1892 Ingersoll mail-order catalog at a price of $1. This watch was also offered at the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition and World's Fair for $1.50, where it is estimated they sold 85,000 watches!

Workers at one of Ingersoll's watch factories

Workers at one of Ingersoll's watch factories

Manufacturing was carried out by contract with the Waterbury Clock Company and at two new factories owned by Ingersoll at Waterbury and Trenton, New Jersey. The Ingersoll company is credited with perfecting an efficient system of distribution which included uniform pricing at all retail outlets. By 1899, their production was 8000 watches per day, and in 1901 Ingersoll advertised that their watches were sold for $1 by 10,000 dealers across the USA and Canada. Their advertising slogan was "The Watch that Made the Dollar Famous."

Ingersoll purchased the Trenton Watch Company in 1908 and the New England Watch Company in 1914. In 1917, the company introduced the "Reliance," a higher-grade jeweled watch. In 1919, Ingersoll pioneered another innovation with the introduction of the "Radiolite" with luminous radium dial.

Ingersoll declared bankruptcy in 1921 during the post WWI recession. They were purchased by the Waterbury Watch Company in 1922 for $1.5M. In 1942, Waterbury was acquired by U.S. Time Corp, which continued to use the Ingersoll name.

Ingersoll Watch Repair

Only the higher grade, jeweled Ingersoll watches, like the "Reliance," are really considered to be worth the cost of repair. The lower grade Ingersoll "Dollar Watches," while an interesting piece of American history, are generally not worth the cost of repair and restoration unless the watch holds significant sentimental value. We do not repair Ingersoll "dollar watches", but will consider accepting higher-grade Ingersoll watches for repair.

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Ingersoll Watch Company

Ingersoll Serial Numbers and Dates

Year S/N
1892 150,000
1893 310,000
1894 650,000
1895 1,000,000
1896 2,000,000
1897 2,900,000
1898 3,500,000
1899 3,750,000
1900 6,000,000
1901 6,700,000
1902 7,200,000
1903 7,900,000
1904 8,100,000
1905 10,000,000
1906 12,500,000
1907 15,000,000
1908 17,500,000
1909 20,000,000
1910 25,000,000
1911 30,000,000
1912 38,500,000
Year S/N
1913 40,000,000
1914 41,500,000
1915 42,500,000
1916 45,500,000
1917 47,000,000
1918 47,500,000
1919 50,000,000
1920 55,000,000
1921 58,000,000
1922 60,500,000
1923 62,000,000
1924 65,000,000
1925 67,500,000
1926 69,000,000
1927 70,500,000
1928 71,500,000
1929 73,500,000
1930 75,000,000
1931 76,000,000
1932 78,000,000
1933 82,000,000
Year S/N
1934 83,000,000
1935 84,000,000
1936 85,000,000
1937 87,000,000
1938 89,000,000
1939 90,000,000
1940 92,000,000
1941 93,000,000
1942 94,000,000
1943 95,000,000
1944 96,000,000
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IMPORTANT:

Be sure to use the serial number on the movement (the works) of the watch. Do not use the serial number from the case.

Can’t find your serial number in the table? Click here for an explanation and example of how to use our serial number tables.

Need help finding the serial number on your watch? Click here for instructions on how to identify and open most common case types.

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