Sunday, January 02, 2011

The Watch

When I was growing up, there were treasures in my mother's dresser...treasures I was allowed to look at but not to touch. Most of them were kept in a little six-drawer (three on each side) box made of sturdy red cardboard. That's where Mom kept her jewelry and a few keepsakes.

Obviously, a cardboard jewelry box wasn't likely to contain anything but costume jewelry, but there was one item in that box that occupied my thoughts more than any other. That was a gold pocket watch.

If I ever heard the story of the pocket watch, I've long since forgotten it; and there is no one left from that generation who could now shed light on it. Engraved on one of the covers inside the watch are the initials "M E." I can't think of anyone in my mom's family with those initials. Mom's father was a railroader, and these watches were often carried by railroaders; but those aren't his initials.

Anyway, when my mother died, the watch passed to me.

This is the front of the watch. A push on the winding knob on the top flips this cover open to reveal the watch face.

This is the back of the watch. The design on the back is slightly different from that on the front.

The watch face. (Please excuse the dust.)

This is the inside of the back cover, showing the serial number and logo of the case's manufacturer. There is other information on there, too, that looks as if it was scratched on by hand. But it's hard to make out, and I have no idea what it means.

After opening the cover that has the initials on it, you find the case's serial number repeated, as well as the name of the case's manufacturer and his guarantee. This is on the flip side of the initials.

This is the watch's movement, appearing just opposite the case manufacturer's guarantee. The name of the manufacturer and the watch's serial number (different from the case's manufacturer and serial number) are imprinted on the movement.

Now, can you see why this watch held such fascination for me as a little girl? It really hasn't lost any of its fascination as I've gotten older, either.

As I was preparing this post, I looked up the Hampden Watch Company in Canton, Ohio. It appears, according to the serial number of the watch, that it was manufactured in 1908. It's still in good working order, with no damages except for some scratches. I haven't observed it enough to know if it keeps accurate time, though.

My dad once bought me a chain for the watch, so that I could wear it as a pendant; but I just never felt comfortable doing that. So it remains in my jewelry box, where I pick it up and admire it from time to time and wonder what stories it could tell if it could talk. I'll probably never know.


  1. Lovely. The story and the pictures! Love picturing you as a little girl looking at your mother's things.

  2. Hi Linda, That is a NEAT NEAT watch... Wow---I love it.... IF I were you, I would do some more research on it. It could be that someone has some paperwork from WAY back then... It would really be neat to find out how it came into your family... It is truly a gorgeous watch. My Dad used to have one --and I think it went to one of my brothers when Daddy died.

    Hope you will eventually find out where it came from --and then pass it on to someone in your family. What a fabulous heirloom.


  3. Jenny! What a treat! Thanks for the visit and the comment. I'm so sorry we weren't able to see you during the holidays. Maybe someday soon, Lord willing.

  4. Betsy - I really wouldn't have a clue how to find out anything about the watch. Everyone from my mom's generation is gone now. I always thought of it as a lady's watch, but it could very well have been a railroader's watch. It seems too pretty for that occupation, though. :)

    I'm glad you enjoyed reading about it and seeing the photos. It's nice to have an outlet that allows me to share things like this.

  5. I would think you could check around at some dealers and find out more, like what brand was used by the railroad, or with the dealer to see where it might have been shipped to.It must have been some relative or friend.I have my grandfathers watch with a shoelace on it to pull it out of his pocket.

  6. This is just gorgeous. And what you said to Betsy made me think -- isn't it wonderful to now have a whole group of friends to show it to and to ponder over it with? And I wonder if there was a typical blogging personality, if one of the dominate traits would be curiosity.

    What would we be doing with our "creative juices" now if DD hadn't led us to blogging? I guess we'll never know, but I'm glad we're here! :)

  7. OOTP - I did do a little research on the railroad watches, and there were several manufacturers of those watches, including Hampden. I might be able to learn a little more about the watch itself, but I don't think there's any way to learn about how it came to be in our family. What I need is the guys from the Antiques Road Show to come to town. :)

    Sandra - Thank you. It IS fun to share this with my blogging friends. As for "creative juices," I'm afraid you got my share. :) But I AM glad I started the blog. There are a lot of nice folks out here in blogland that I might never have met otherwise.


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