Posted 9 months ago
The United States Watch Co.
Marion Watch Co.
Marion, New Jersey 1865 - 1877
The United States Watch Co. was chartered in 1865, and the factory building was started in 1865 and finished in 1866. The first watch named the "Frederic Atherton" was put on the market in July of 1867.
A distinctive feature of the U.S.W.C. (Marion Watch Co.) was the "Butterfly Cut-out" , patent no. D2,281, March 13, 1866 by Frederick A. Giles, "Design for Watch Plates" Butterfly opening (one side of the butterfly cut-out is marked, Giles Patent, the other side is marked, MCH 13th 1866).
By July 1874 competition in the watch manufacturing business created a heavy price cutting decision for the company. They reorganized as the Marion Watch Co.
They manufactured several different grades of watches with the highest and most expensive being United States Watch Co. grade, full plate, 18 size, 19 jewels, 1870-1873 prices at $332.00. They manufactured 19, 17, 15, 11, & 7 jeweled watches.
This brings us to the watch shown above, the G. A. Read grade, one of the lowest, 7 jewel key wind watches. In the book Marion A History of the United States Watch Company, by William Muir & Bernard Kraus, they describe the "G.A. Read" as: This movement was initially produced prior to 1872. It was designed to be the "value leader" in the USWC line ----- the watch meant to compete with the "good cheap American watch" which many competitors were now beginning to produce such as the popular "Wm. Ellery" model of the American Watch Company of Waltham, MA. The "G.A. Read" movement was made in 18 size only, in full and three-quarter plate. It has also been noted with the "Marion Watch Co. dials. (see dial photo above) It was named after G.A. Read, a stockholder n the USWC, who was a comb manufacture from Connecticut, of the firm Read, Pratt & Co.
According to Muir & Kraus production estimates, the USWC, Marion, manufactured approximately 56,524 watches in 10 years of operation. They estimate the G.A. Read grade production at 11,755 with 1,855 being the 3/4 plate type and the remainder 9,900 being full plate. There was more of this grade produced than any other grade.
The 1870 - 1873 price records show this G.A. Read grade selling for $10.50 for the full plate & $18.50 for the 3/4 plate movement.
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