Brief History: U.S. Watch Company
Including Serial Numbers and Production Dates
1885 - 1905
The U.S. Watch Company of Waltham, Mass. is NOT the American Waltham Watch Company. If you are looking for information on your American Waltham watch, go here.
The U.S. Watch Company of Waltham, Mass. should also not be confused with the United States Watch Company which operated in Marion, New Jersey.
The U.S. Watch Company of Waltham, Mass. began business as the Waltham Watch Tool Company in 1879, and was reorganized as the U.S. Watch Company in 1885. The founders of the company were Charles V. Woerd (Woerd's patent), formerly of the American Waltham Watch Company, and the Nutting Brothers, owners of a watch tool and machinery company in Waltham. Financial backers E. C. Hammer and T. B. Eaton became Treasurer and President of the company respectively.
A new factory was constructed, with a planned production of 50 watches per day. The directors of the new company wanted to name the company the Waltham Watch Company, but a suit was filed by the American Waltham Watch Company and the use of the Waltham name was prohibited in 1899.
The first watches produced were 16-size, 3/4 plate and were made in 3 grades. These early watches are called "Dome Watches" because they used a wide mainspring barrel, the top of which was domed upward in the center to accommodate the balance wheel. The pallet fork was made of aluminum alloy and used a square ruby impulse jewel. The Dome Watch movement required a special case, which proved unpopular, and in 1888 a new watch was produced which would fit into a standard American case. The top grade watch produced by the company was "The President," an 18-size, double-roller watch which an 1894 advertisement claimed was accurate to within 6 seconds a month!
The U.S. Watch Company was purchased by the Philadelphia Watch Case Company in 1901, which subsequently merged with the Keystone Watch Case Company in 1904. It was through this acquisition that Keystone gained control of the factory, wherein they began production of their Keystone-Howard watches in 1905. Even though watches were produced with serial numbers up through about 850,000 it is believed that the total production of watches from the U.S. Watch Company of Waltham, Mass. was significantly less than this number.
U.S. Watch Company of Waltham, Mass
U.S. Watch Serial Numbers and Production 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.