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Brief History: Hampden Watch Company
(Dueber Watch Company)
Springfield, Mass then Canton, Ohio
1877 - 1930

The flat steel room at the Hampden watch factory
The flat steel room at the Hampden watch factory

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.

Dueber-Hampden AdvertisementJohn 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
Approximate Serial Numbers and Dates

Year
S/N
 
Year
S/N
 
Year
S/N
1877
59,000
 
1895
930,000
 
1913
2,850,000
1878
70,000
 
1896
970,000
 
1914
2,920,000
1879
100,000
 
1897
1,000,000
 
1915
3,000,000
1880
140,000
 
1898
1,120,000
 
1916
3,100,000
1881
180,000
 
1899
1,255,000
 
1917
3,240,000
1882
215,000
 
1900
1,384,000
 
1918
3,390,000
1883
250,000
 
1901
1,512,000
 
1919
3,500,000
1884
300,000
 
1902
1,642,000
 
1920
3,600,000
1885
350,000
 
1903
1,768,000
 
1921
3,700,000
1886
400,000
 
1904
1,896,000
 
1922
3,750,000
1887
480,000
 
1905
2,024,000
 
1923
3,800,000
1888
560,000
 
1906
2,152,000
 
1924
3,850,000
1889
640,000
 
1907
2,280,000
 
1925
3,900,000
1890
740,000
 
1908
2,400,000
 
1926
3,950,000
1891
805,000
 
1909
2,520,000
 
1927
3,980,000
1892
835,000
 
1910
2,650,000
 
-
-
1893
865,000
 
1911
2,700,000
 
-
-
1894
900,000
 
1912
2,760,000
 
-
-

Be sure to use the serial number on the movement of the watch itself.
Do not use the serial number from the case.

 

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Ball History Benrus History Bulova History Elgin History Gruen History Hampden History Hamilton History Howard History Illinois History IWC History Longines History Rockford History South Bend History Waltham History Wyler History Star Watch Case

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