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Brief History: Trenton Watch Company

Including Serial Numbers, Grades and Production Dates

Trenton, New Jersey

1885 - 1908

The Trenton Watch Company was a successor to the New Haven Watch Company, which had been started in 1883 in New Haven, Connecticut, but had undergone financial reorganization in 1887.

The Trenton Watch Factory, from an 1895 woodcut

The Trenton Watch Factory, Trenton,

New Jersey, as it would have appeared in 1895.

Trenton produced nearly two million watches, most of which were lower to mid-grade pieces in the 7-9-11 jewel range. Most of the watches produced were intended for the domestic market, but factory records indicate that some watches were produced for export to England around the turn of the century. Trenton was subsequently sold to Ingersoll in 1908.

Trenton-produced watches were marketed under a variety of brand names, including: Trenton, Ingersoll Trenton, Fortuna, Calumet USA, Advance Watch Co, Marvel Watch Co, Reliance Watch Co, Locomotive Special and Engineers Special. Both the Engineers Special and Locomotive Special were marked as 23-jewel watches, even though they had only 7 functional jewels... the others were fake and were entirely for appearance! Similarly, the watches sold under the Marvel Watch Co. brand-name were marked 23-jewels, even though all but 7 jewels were non-functional. Some of these "fake jewel" watches can be quite collectible today.

Trenton also produced two 18-size fly-back chronograph models, both with 9 jewels. Based on a Grade 40 or 41 with chronograph modifications, the watches were produced in limited quantity, and these watches are considered to be quite rare and collectible today.

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Trenton Watch Company

Trenton Serial Numbers, Grades and Production Dates

Total Production: Approx. 1.2 Million Watches

Year S/N Size Model
1887-1889 2001 - 61,000 18 1
1889 - 1891 64,001 - 135,000 18 2
1891 - 1898 135,001 - 201,000 18 3
1899 - ?? 201,001 - 300,000 18 6
1891 - 1900 300,001 - 500,000 18 4
1892 - 1897 500,001 - 600,000 6

1

1894 - 1899 650,001 - 700,000 16

1

1898 - 1900 700,001 - 750,000 6 2
1900 - 1904 750,001 - 800,000 18 4
1896 - 1900 850,001 - 900,000 12 1
1898 - 1903 900,001 - 1,100,000 18 5
1902 - 1907 1,300,001 - 1,400,000 18 6
1900 - 1903 2,000,001 - 2,075,000 6 2
1902 - 1905 2,075,001 - 2,160,000 6 3 LS
1905 - 1907 2,160,001 - 2,250,000 6 3 PS
1899 - 1902 2,500,001 - 2,600,000 3/0 1
1905 - 1906? 2,800,001 - 2,850,000 6 3 PS
1900 - 1904 3,000,001 - 3,139,000 16 2
1903 - 1907 3,139,001 - 3,238,000 16 3 OF
1903 - 1907 3,500,001 - 3,600,000 16 3 HC
1905 - 1907 4,000,001 - 4,100,000 0 1
IMPORTANT:

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