Fitch's Patent Dustproof Case(first screwdown crown?)
Like Tree17Likes

Thread: Fitch's Patent Dustproof Case(first screwdown crown?)

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 15
  1. #1
    Vintage & NAWCC Forum moderator Ben_hutcherson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    2,404

    Fitch's Patent Dustproof Case(first screwdown crown?)

    The below case was my one prize from an otherwise fairly mediocre regional this past weekend. These cases are not hard to find, but this one was priced right and is my first example of the type.

    Ezra Fitch, a Waltham employee, patented this design case in 1879. I believe it was the first use of a screw down crown in any watch, as well as the first implementation of the "modern" swing ring design used on many American pocket watch cases.

    From the outside, this looks like a fairly typical American watch case of the era-it is a sterling silver "turnip" shaped case with a thick beveled crystal.
    Name:  IMG_3412.JPG
Views: 443
Size:  527.3 KB

    A few seconds playing with the crown, however, reveals a difference. The crown is secured down via a left hand thread. What this means is that crown is turned in the winding direction to unscrew it, and turned in the ratchet direction to screw it back down. This also means that if the watch is fully wound, the crown can not be unscrewed without engaging the setting mechanism.

    Here it is with the crown unscrewed.
    Name:  IMG_3413.JPG
Views: 456
Size:  511.6 KB

    The bezel simply unscrews(in the fashion of a typical later swing ring case), revealing both the swing ring and the setting lever.

    Name:  IMG_3414.JPG
Views: 390
Size:  522.5 KB

    With the crown unscrewed, it is possible to lift the movement out. The movement in this watch is a fairly unexciting PS Bartlett grade 1877 model.


    Name:  IMG_3416.JPG
Views: 429
Size:  397.0 KBName:  IMG_3415.JPG
Views: 406
Size:  330.4 KB
    Marrick, radger, RonD. and 4 others like this.
    Member National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors
    Member, NAWCC Chapter 149. Vice President and Secretary NAWCC Chapter 140. Member, NAWCC Convention Committee.
    Serious collector of American pocket watches-Waltham(and the predecessor companies) is my specialty.

  2. #2
    Member radger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    N.E England
    Posts
    3,383

    Re: Fitch's Patent Dustproof Case(first screwdown crown?)

    That looks a heavy duty and tough hermetically sealed case. Very innovative for its
    time I would think.
    Could well be the first screw down crown, someone will know, is/was the crown fitted with cork
    or leather seals do you know?

    Nice buy, first one of these I've seen.
    Paleotime likes this.

  3. #3
    Vintage & NAWCC Forum moderator Ben_hutcherson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    2,404

    Re: Fitch's Patent Dustproof Case(first screwdown crown?)

    I haven't had this particular one apart, but typically there was a leather washer under the crown.

    Many later American cases of this same general design dispensed with the screw-down crown but used a screw down "dust cap" on the pendant right under the crown. This dust cap contained a similar arrangement.
    Member National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors
    Member, NAWCC Chapter 149. Vice President and Secretary NAWCC Chapter 140. Member, NAWCC Convention Committee.
    Serious collector of American pocket watches-Waltham(and the predecessor companies) is my specialty.

  4. Remove Advertisements
    WatchUSeek.com
    Advertisements
     

  5. #4
    Member radger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    N.E England
    Posts
    3,383

    Re: Fitch's Patent Dustproof Case(first screwdown crown?)

    It's certainly a rugged case.
    If I owned a watch in the 19thC, I'd want the movement protected in a case like this.

  6. #5
    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Costa Blanca Spain
    Posts
    13,368

    Re: Fitch's Patent Dustproof Case(first screwdown crown?)

    Great buy
    Ezra Fitch, a Waltham employee, patented this design case in 1879. I believe it was the first use of a screw down crown in any watch, as well as the first implementation of the "modern" swing ring design used on many American pocket watch cases.
    Actually Ezra Fitch was (became) the CEO(President) of Waltham - I guess an employee
    Patent No 214642
    They were termed 'explorer's' watch with screwed protective cap.
    The two BRITISH case makers I found were Philip Woodman&Son (1821 to 1907) and Albert Thomas Oliver (1845 to 1980) their respective trademarks were 'PW' and 'ATO'

    Hope that helps

    ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS - James Dowling

    I want one!!
    Last edited by HOROLOGIST007; June 24th, 2013 at 10:33.
    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT. FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL. THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.

    "Failure is not an option" - Gene Kranz
    "Owning a vintage watch is great, understanding where it sits in Horology is magnificent"
    and
    "By Teaching Others, We Teach Ourselves"
    Adam

  7. #6
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Canada
    Posts
    5,315

    Re: Fitch's Patent Dustproof Case(first screwdown crown?)

    Fitch was the manager of the New York sales office for The American Watch Company, until he was tapped by Royal Robbins to become the President during the reorganization that also resulted in the name change to American Waltham (around 1885). Robbins was a brilliant businessman and accountant, but he recognized that he lacked the skills to navigate Waltham through the increasingly competitive consumer market that had sprung up around Waltham's success. Fitch had the impressive combination of salesmanship and technical know-how to perfectly complement Robbin's business savvy. Fitch has a number of innovative patents to his credit; I think the NAWCC has a slideshow that highlights them. It's really too bad that he never got along with Robbin's son, or Waltham might well still in business.
    Literustyfan and Paleotime like this.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

  8. #7
    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Costa Blanca Spain
    Posts
    13,368

    Re: Fitch's Patent Dustproof Case(first screwdown crown?)

    Very interesting background. Thanks.
    He has the 1912 patent for a sealed watch/crown which was later shared with Depollier in 1915.
    But Fitch/Waltham had the original patent in 1912.

  9. #8
    Member Literustyfan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    651

    Re: Fitch's Patent Dustproof Case(first screwdown crown?)

    Ben,

    Thought that you might like to see this.

    This is a business card from J.H. Hollister, a jeweler in Greenfield, Massachusetts.

    Front and back side of the card.


    Does anybody know who actually made these watch cases ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

    Just wondering why is reads "Chicago Engineering Company" near the 7-8 just outside of the picture of the watch.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	$(KGrHqJ,!oQFE!I3qT7qBRrIIJUY w~~60_57.JPG 
Views:	191 
Size:	75.3 KB 
ID:	3172130

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Business Card.JPG 
Views:	116 
Size:	81.7 KB 
ID:	3172122
    Last edited by Literustyfan; March 4th, 2015 at 13:34.
    laikrodukas likes this.
    Author of "Elgin Trench Watches of the Great War" & "Waltham Trench Watches of the Great War"

    www.lrfantiquewatches.com

    www.facebook.com/WWITrenchWatch

  10. #9
    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Costa Blanca Spain
    Posts
    13,368

    Re: Fitch's Patent Dustproof Case(first screwdown crown?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Literustyfan View Post
    Ben,


    Front and back side of the card.


    Does anybody know who actually made these watch cases ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

    Just wondering why is reads "Chicago Engineering Company" near the 7-8 just outside of the picture of the watch.


    The two BRITISH case makers I found were Philip Woodman&Son (1821 to 1907) and Albert Thomas Oliver (1845 to 1980) their respective trademarks were 'PW' and 'ATO'

    Hope that helps

    ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS - James Dowling
    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT. FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL. THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.

    "Failure is not an option" - Gene Kranz
    "Owning a vintage watch is great, understanding where it sits in Horology is magnificent"
    and
    "By Teaching Others, We Teach Ourselves"
    Adam

  11. #10
    Member Literustyfan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    651

    Re: Fitch's Patent Dustproof Case(first screwdown crown?)

    I don't see where it is stamped PW or ATO on the case.

    It is stamped AWCo for American Watch Company, aka Waltham in later years.

    If the case was made in the UK wouldn't it have UK hallmarks?
    Author of "Elgin Trench Watches of the Great War" & "Waltham Trench Watches of the Great War"

    www.lrfantiquewatches.com

    www.facebook.com/WWITrenchWatch

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

    Posting Permissions

    • You may not post new threads
    • You may not post replies
    • You may not post attachments
    • You may not edit your posts
    •