Home / Patents & Innovations / Private Label Trade Names on American Pocket Watches: The Non-Magnetic Watch Company: Part 12: Charles Willis Ward’s Patent Platinum Alloy

Private Label Trade Names on American Pocket Watches: The Non-Magnetic Watch Company: Part 12: Charles Willis Ward’s Patent Platinum Alloy

U.S. Patent #384,731
Pictured: U.S. Patent #384,731

Charles-Auguste Paillard received six patents in the United States for his innovative palladium alloys used in watchmaking. Paillard’s alloys were immune to corrosion, did not dilate significantly with temperature changes, and were non-magnetic. 

Paillard’s last patent application in the United States was filed on November 23, 1887, describing a palladium alloy explicitly designed to decrease manufacturing costs for inexpensive watch movements.

Paillard’s business partner, Charles Willis Ward, also submitted a patent application the same day with the same objectives. However, his patent describes an alloy composed primarily of platinum instead of palladium.

“My invention consists of an alloy of platinum and other metals, and is particularly useful in manufacturing parts of watches – such as the levers, forks, escapement-wheels, spirals, balance-wheels, &c.

I am aware that alloys of palladium have been used for these purposes; but these palladium alloys are too expensive to be employed in the lower grades of cheap watch-movements.

The object of my invention is to produce an alloy which is comparatively inexpensive and which is also inoxidizable and non-magnetic, and which shall possess sufficient of the qualities of steel – viz., hardness, ductility, elasticity, capability of being tempered, and small dilation or expansiveness, to admit of the construction of non-magnetic parts of watches cheaply, and to construct non-magnetic compensation-balances sufficiently correct in compensative functions to be employed in cheap grades of watch-movements, thus producing timekeepers at low prices and which will be unaffected by magnetism and rust.”U.S. Patent #384,731

Ward’s alloy mixture was described as 20-40% platinum, 20-40% silver, 20-40% bismuth, and 1-10% steel. The patent was granted the same day as Paillard’s last patent – June 19, 1888. These patents represent the foundational innovations that propelled the Non-Magnetic Watch Company.

2 Comments

  1. Hello, I’m trying to find out what my grandfather’s pocket watch is worth?
    It’s Springfield, Illinois back serial #3428253
    17 Jewels
    Front says Illinois
    Has seconds on front
    It does have a few lines on edges
    Any information would be helpful
    Thank you in advance

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