Northern Partners Vintage Watch Repair & Sales
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Brief History: Hampden Watch Company
Donald J. Mozart produced his three-wheel watch in 1864, and with the assistance of Samuel Rice formed the New York Watch Company in 1866 in Providence, Rhode Island. It was moved to Springfield, Massachusetts in 1867 and two grades of watches were produced. The company started with an 18s 3/4 plate model signed "Springfield." and a 16s 3/4 plate "State Street" model that featured steel parts and gold-plated balance and escape wheels. The company became the Hampden Watch Company in 1877.
John C. Dueber had been manufacturing watch cases since 1864 and bought controlling interest in a case company in about 1886. At about this time an anti-trust law was passed and the watch case manufacturers formed a boycott against Dueber. In order to remain in business, Dueber bought the Hampden Watch Co. in Springfield in 1888, then moved it to Canton. By 1890, the company was producing 600 watches a day, had 1000 employees, and possessed net assets of $2,600,000. Hampden produced some very fine quality watches, and introduced the first 16 size, 23 jewel movement made in America.
Dueber controlled all aspects of the company from manufacturing to sales. Each watch case was made of 57 pieces; they used 14-karat-gold cases and 17 jewel movements. Dueber sold the company to Walter Vrettman in 1925. Vrettman went bankrupt in 1927 and sold all of the company's equipment to Amtorg, a Russian purchasing company. Nearly 30 boxcars of machinery left Canton in 1931 with 21 former Dueber Hampden employees who contracted for one year to teach the Russians the craft of watchmaking. Conflicting information exists about the fate of the Russian enterprise, but Henry Fried, a horology professor at New York University, reported seeing Dueber-Hampden machinery being used in China in 1986.
Hampden Watch Company
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