Well I picked up my 2nd Appleton pocket watch. Much like the first except running. The first one is still waiting to have a staff turned for it....5 years on. But this second one gave me a chance to dig further into these watches. There are many things that seem to not be said or maybe misinformation about them.
The first thing I would like to point out is the usual misinformation in the "complete" guide. There are no 18 size Appleton and I am tempted to say there are no 16 size either. They all appear to be 17 size by correct measurement. Being that the guide mentions nothing about them being 17 size with stem attached I believe this was word of mouth rather than actual checking. The only possible exception is the "Northwestern Special" but I have yet to actually see one in person or measure it.
The company had a very short life and even this there appears to be gaps in information. The Remington Watch Company actaully produced watches under the Appleton Watch Company name. There never was a Remington Watch Company watch, only the Appleton. The company supposedly built the factory in Appleton but there is a statement in the publication in 1947 by the HIA that states that the company started in Menasha WI and moved to Appleton WI. The source of that information is unknown.
The company appears to have a serial range that goes from 8XXXX to 93XXX. But the finding of any watches with a serial lower than 90XXX seems near impossible. I have started up a serial list and the lowest I have comes from a gilt looking top plate that has a 82658 serial on it. This plate, seen below, also has an odd point at where the pallet fork pinion would pivot. No other known examples have that point.
The watches were never very high quality and the ones at the very end of production do show that the company, in a last ditch effort to survive, tried to upjewel watches and created the NorthWestern Special as well to appeal to the market of higher quality watches. But it was all for nothing and they still closed. The low survival rate of the watches comes down to the low quality of the construction and lack of spare parts. You break a staff on one...you repivot if possible or turn a new one. You have no other choices. Parts wear and you have to either make them or get rid of the watch. They were never expensive so the cost of repair would far exceed the value.
So in reading the guide you have to figure that the note of 16 and 18 size may be completely wrong and you are dealing with 1 size, 17. Now being all were given 2 or 3 stars in the book, that may have to be rethought. Based on the 20 some serials I have and only 2 being higher jewel count and those two are an Appleton with 15 jewels and a NorthWestern Special, I would guess survival may be at 100 tops out of the supposed 3000 or so made. That total also does not go well with the serials. Being the serial range is much higher than that I would say 3000 is just a guess. I believe the company produced material that could make 3000 watches or more but actual completed watches I think is far lower. Just dig into the total number sold in the last decade.....One may come up every 3 to 5 years.
So anyway here is the newest addition to the collection.
The other piece of the puzzle is that Seth Thomas took over from Cheshire when Cheshire failed. But what happened in that time gape between the Cheshire failure and the guys starting up the Remington Watch Co\Appleton Watch Co? Remington bought out the Cheshire equipment and that point on the top plate does not match any Cheshire plate....and none of the Appleton ones either. Prototype? Test design? The finish has a faint damaskeening but looking in the screw holes and all other recesses I find no hidden nickel plate and only the scant buts on the edge that you see. It is also interesting to note the finish on the bottom of the 2 plates. The plain one is machined smooth where as the nickel finish almost has a cast look.