Brief History: Rockford Watch Company
Including Serial Numbers and Production Dates
1873 - 1915
The Rockford Watch Company, located 93 miles from Chicago on the Rock River, began operation in 1873 using equipment purchased from the Cornell Watch Company. Two of Cornell's former employees, P. H. Wheeler (Wheeler's Patent, etc) and C. W. Parker became key employees of Rockford. Their factory building was built in 1875-76, and was located on the 300 block of South Madison in Rockford (parts of the original factory building were later used by Rockford High School).
Their first watch, a key-wind, 18-size, full plate with expansion balance was placed on the market on May 1, 1876. By 1877, the company was producing its own 3/4 plate nickel movements that fit standard size cases. The highest grades of early Rockford watches were signed "Ruby" or "Ruby Jewels" which later became a stylized letter "R" engraved next to the jewel-count. Rockford watches were quite popular with railroad men, as 3 railroads went through Rockford, and the company advertised heavily to them. Many of the later Rockford watches are signed "RG" for "Railroad Grade" The company had financial difficulties in 1896, and after reorganization the name was changed to Rockford Watch Co. Ltd. They finally closed their doors in 1915.
Rockford is one of the companies that produced a relatively small number of good-quality watches, and as such they are quite collectible.
Rockford Watch Company
Rockford Serial Numbers and Dates
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.
At Renaissance Watch Repair, we are experts in the repair and restoration of Rockford watches. Please contact us if you have any questions about the repair of your vintage Rockford watch.