1877 Hampden

Thread: 1877 Hampden

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    1877 Hampden

    Hi to all
    I just purchased a 1877 Hampden 11 jewel size 18 pocket watch on E-bay. I know nothing about watches, Zero. The watch just caught my eye so I bidded on it and won,($137.00) It is missing the pointer on the regulator , I think that is what it is called. Is this something I could get fixed? the guy said it worked ok without it. Also this is a key wind watch.

    About how much would a good watch repairman charge to clean a watch like this one?
    Thanks Cigg52

  2. #2
    Member JohnF's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Oberstedten, Germany

    Re: 1877 Hampden

    Hi -

    Welcome to the forum! Sorry to be answering this with such a delay...

    Your first collection purchase is an 1877 Hampden? That is quite a leap into the world of watch collecting! Nothing wrong with that, I admire your verve.

    Without pictures it's hard to tell you anything about this watch: serial numbers help as well. You see, Hampden also made railroad-grade watches from this era, which remain even today the finest mechanical watches ever made.

    I've attached two pictures that I found on the internet of Hampden size 18 movements.

    This is from a cached page from the NAWCC web site that is no longer available:

    The history of the Hampden Watch Co. goes back to the New York Watch Co., a successor to the Mozart Watch Co. The New York Watch Co. “... was in business from about 1866 to 1877, during which time it made a variety of different grades of movements. Its total production is estimated to be less than 60,000.” (quote from Greg Frauenhoff) A data base of New York serial numbers is available on Greg Frauenhoff’s Website. After a reorganization, the firm became the Hampden Watch Co. in 1877.

    Dueber-Hampden’s story is told in “From Springfield To Moscow: The Complete Dueber-Hampden Story," (Revised and enlarged successor to the 1954 Supplement to the NAWCC Bulletin) James W. Gibbs, Philadelphia, PA, 1986 (it may still be available - see the NAWCC Gift ShopNAWCC Library & Research Center). In 1888-1889, both operations were moved to a dual, attached set of factory buildings in Canton, OH. The Dueber Watch Case Manufacturing Co. was a separate company from the Hampden Watch Co. It stayed that way until about 1925 when they formally combined. The companies continued in business, producing both watches and cases until falling sales in the mid-1920's led to receivership in 1927. The manufacturing equipment, parts on hand and work in progress were sold to Russia. Operations ceased in 1930 when the machinery was shipped to Russia. It is believed that all factory records either went with the equipment, or were destroyed, and there are no surviving records from which to match serial numbers of watches against models and grades. Nevertheless, Messrs. J. Hernick and R. Arnold, by collecting descriptions of Dueber-Hampden watches, with serial numbers, over a decade or more, were able to partially reconstruct the serial number vs. grade/description list.

    In other words, quite a bit of history there, and a fascinating story. Please post a few pictures of the watch so that we can find out more!

    Thanks for posting!

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  3. #3
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Almonte ON Canada

    Re: 1877 Hampden

    I have an 1883 Hampden keywind and it's one of the most accurate watches I have in my stable of antiques. The reason it has 11 jewels is that they were expensive natural items back then, so the Hampden company put them where the customer could see them on the top plate. The pillar plate just has metal bushings. That was marketing 1880 style I guess.
    The Hampden really bangs away when it's running so you might not want to keep it in your sleeping area.
    It should cost around $100 to have the watch cleaned and lubed and I would advise it if you plan to run it for any length of time. These old Hampdens will wear out otherwise since they are only partially jeweled.
    As far as the regulator goes, it'll be hard to find parts for a 130 year old watch and a company that went out of business in the US in 1930. Maybe a non-running Hampden can be cannibalized.
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