The New York Watch Company was originally organized in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1867. As was typical for young watch ventures, the company experienced several ups and downs while it tried to secure a stable footing in the American watch market.
Facing complete failure after a decade, the company reorganized as the Hampden Watch Company in 1877, bringing the days of the New York Watch Company name to a close.
While researchers and enthusiasts have studied various aspects of the New York Watch Company production, an interactive serial lookup database has never been constructed until now.
This week, the New York Watch Company Serial Lookup Database has officially launched on the Pocket Watch Database, joining a growing number of supported manufacturers.
The database lookup engine has been created using a vast compilation of surviving examples and limited inventory lists, meticulously assembling a viable serial list.
The first version of this lookup engine should be considered the foundational step of a much longer process, as many gaps and unknown production still exist in the data. Over time, runs will continue to be refined and adapted as new information becomes available.
The New York Watch Company lookup engine covers serial numbers up to 58,000. This number was selected because it represents the upper bound of movements listed in the 1875 factory inventory list just before the factory ground to a halt. Furthermore, a run of “Springfield” movements exists just beyond this range, representing one of the first new products introduced after the company restructuring.
Because of the manner in which the company transitioned into the Hampden Watch Company identity, the serial engine inevitably contains production that overlaps with the Hampden era, especially closer to the end of the serial range (typically identified by a hand-painted Roman Numeral dial marked “Hampden Watch Co.”).
After restarting the factory in 1877, the company used unfinished inventory to complete orders, resulting in movements that were started under the New York Watch Company and finished under Hampden. There are also a few runs that were produced entirely in the Hampden era, but for the sake of simplicity, these are included in the New York Watch Company lookup engine as well.
This lookup engine will serve as a starting point for a better understanding of the New York Watch Company production and will provide insight into the estimated production and rarity of specific models and grades.