Chronometer & RR Grade Hampden Watch Co. Springfield MA 20s Very Early ca. 1885
Okay, so I made an exception on this watch. Unlike most of our other RR watches, this does have a few small hairlines and a small chip on the original porcelain dial above the seconds indicator. Well, I made this exception because this is one of the original Hampden's that was actually made by the original Hampden Watch Co. in Springfield Mass. Look around, most were not. In fact, this company has a somewhat sordid history of strange mergers and financial dealings that led them to be headquartered in Canton, Ohio and finally bankrupt at the start of the great depression. Also all movements still working for sale are made in Canton, Ohio. The serial number dates this watch to 1885. It is likely that the Hampden Watch Co., was a startup to help the Northern front during the civil war. This was definitely a special movement. The gold gilding is expensive, the watch uses almost exclusively steel blued screws, even to set the jewels, is it marked adjusted which usually means 5 times and the jewel count appears to 17 although not indicated. Many of the pieces are high grade suitable for military use; but the company also retailed them in small mostly local publications while in Springfield. The only time I ever see these are if I happen to run into someone who's family lived in Springfield forever (which isn't uncommon in our area), bought one, and it's a heirloom. The watch is in all original condition. was just overhauled with a new bance staff and mainspring and is working perfectly. It is crown wind and lever set. The diameter of the case is about 54mm - so it's a fairly large watch with a silverode case. This is a very clean watch with little wear; however, was definitely used frequently due to the many parts I had to find to get it in perfect shape again. As you can see by the pictures, the defects on the dial are not distracting. It's a beautiful piece of American and Western Mass History. The company was named after Hampden County, in which Springfield resides. It is documented that the founder of the company has original linage colonial roots in the organization of Hampden County.
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