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18-Size “Cutout” Movement by the Manistee Watch Company

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Manistee Watch Company "Cutout" Movement from Manistee, Michigan, #00288
Manistee Watch Company “Cutout” Movement from Manistee, Michigan, #00288

The Manistee Watch Company manufactured this 18-Size movement around the year 1909. Interestingly, the top plates of most 18-Size movements produced at the factory were mutilated to obscure the company’s name and location, resulting in the “cutout” design.

The Manistee Watch Company utilized a copper alloy hairspring, easily recognized by the vibrant gold-orange color. Regrettably, many of these hairsprings have succumbed to verdigris, a common occurrence with oxidized copper.


Copper Alloy Hairspring Used by the Manistee Watch Company
Copper Alloy Hairspring Used by the Manistee Watch Company

Despite some innovative elements, the movements were low-quality, characterized by coarse finishing and inexpensive materials.


18-Size Manistee Watch Company Pillar Plate with Rough Finishing
18-Size Manistee Watch Company Pillar Plate with Rough Finishing

The bi-metallic balance was only half-cut, suggesting a temperature compensation balance but falling short in practical implementation.


Manistee Watch Company Balance Wheel Showing the Half-Cut Bi-Metallic Balance Wheel
Manistee Watch Company Balance Wheel Showing the Half-Cut Bi-Metallic Balance Wheel

This particular movement also features the early hand-engraved script marking style, contrasting the more commonly seen stamped variations. Like the early products from the Manistee factory, the serial number is padded with a zero prefix, resulting in the unusual “00288” serial number.

12 Comments

  1. Why was the cutout design done? Was it done prior to or after the company folded and the excess inventory sold.off?

    • The reason is still unknown. Perhaps someone will uncover additional records or sources in the future. These were earlier movements in the production lifespan, so it is unclear whether the company mutilated the plates early in the history or if these were sold off at a later point when the company failed.

    • The reason for the cutout is unknown. It appears that the company (or retailer) was attempting to conceal the company name and location as originally marked.

    • Fairly uncommon. My current estimated production tally for the “Cutout” variation is ~7,760. However, these do not come up for sale as often as I would expect for that production total, suggesting that many of these may have been destroyed rather than delivered from the factory.

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