Research Notes

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Web Horology

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The American Horologe Company (Jon Hanson) and several members and associates are keenly interested in early American pocket watches and have been collecting, studying, and researching many aspects of various watch companies for many decades.

Items of interest and research include all items (plus others) listed on my personal want list. We are also interested in hearing from collectors and interested parties that own or collect any of these items. Many new finds have occurred during the past half century, some items thought not to exist as well as other REAL surprises in the field of early American pocket watches. We welcome any significant new finds for study or discussion.

Possibly the greatest find during the 20th century a far as American watches go was the all original Henry Pitkin watch (with its matching serial numbered silver OF case), number 46, discovered by yours truly nearly 35 years ago. This first run of Pitkin watches was heretofore unknown/unseen although Crossman mentions that just 50 were made. Henry Pitkin was a genius and was the first American to make watches on AMERICAN MADE MACHINERY. Several "experts(?)" have mentioned from time to time that these watches were not interchangeable but this is simply not true. Although these were essentially hand made (actually fitted) and finished, many of the parts ARE interchangeable. Not much has been published* on Pitkin, nor many of his watches seen by collectors in person or viewed in exhibitions. Prior to displaying this watch at the exhibit of the N.A.W.C.C. 1976 Centennial National Watch convention in Anaheim, California (I was the exhibit chairman of the American watch section at that display, probably the most comprehensive exhibit as well as finest ever in America including most aspects of horology) quite a stir was created when this watch was revealed by me among the senior statesmen, mavens and old timers within the early American watch community--experts and collectors of the time such as Henry Wing, Jr., Dave Olson, Wilbur Dexter, A. E. Mathews, Dr. Warner D. Bundens, Dr. Robert Ravel, Frederick Mudge Selchow, and others with whom most readers will not identify. Prior to my discovery the single "seen" and known example was the rough H. and J. F. Pitkin watch movement (Hanson type II), serial #164 (pictured in Bailey) housed in a makeshift, glass back hand made case which was discovered by my old friend Henry Wing, Jr. (long time watch collector, student and confidant of Major Paul Chamberlain) sometime in the 30's or 40's and acquired for 50 cents (?). I will never forget telling him about my watch for the first time on the phone--he must have paused for 3 minutes as he was speechless upon learning about it. Anyway, the Henry Pitkin watch was featured in the 1976 exhibition Catalogue which in itself is a collectors' item.

 I am pleased to show various views of this fabulous early American watch to the collecting fraternity on my home page, this Henry Pitkin watch, serial number 46, cased it its original "HP" case with matching serial number, the earliest known AMERICAN watch made on American made machinery. (Note: I am working on completing my monograph on Pitkin watches, which will include other Pitkin watches and new discoveries never before seen by the horological community.) 

Thanks for reading.

Jon Hanson