Private Label Trade Names on American Pocket Watches: “Burlington Watch Co.” Part 1: Introduction
The successful mail order strategy utilized by the Santa Fe Watch Company to sell their “Santa Fe Special” watches was not a novel concept. In fact, it is reasonable to assume that Alonzo S. Thomas was likely inspired by another company selling private label watches via mail order – the Burlington Watch Company.
There are numerous parallels between the advertising campaigns implemented by the two companies, spurring some collectors to suggest that the two companies are associated in some way, despite evidence to the contrary.
Interestingly, the “Burlington Special” was introduced through advertisements in 1908 within the Kansas and Nebraska areas, prompting customers to send a “coupon” form to the Burlington Watch Company headquarters in Chicago.
In return, prospective customers received a free catalog advertising the features and options of the “Burlington Special” watch, enticing them to purchase on an inexpensive monthly installment plan.