A very historically important pocket watch made in 1867 given to Civil War veteran and Medal of Honor recipient William H. Smith of Michigan by the Speaker of the House and Vice President Elect, the Honorable Schuyler Colfax from Indiana.
One of the iconic American pocket watch companies was American Watch Co., later known as Waltham for the city in which it was founded. They sold watches under a number of different brand names including Home Watch Co., the brand name of this Waltham watch.
In 1860, as President Abraham Lincoln was elected, the country was in Civil War. Production ground to a halt. However, the company decided to downsize to the lowest possible level to keep the factory open. It worked: Upon his Gettysburg Address, President Lincoln became the proud owner of a Waltham pocket watch very similar to the one offered today. President Lincoln's watch - made in January of the same year as this one - resides in the collection of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian.
But our Waltham offered today is far from an "ordinary" collectable Civil War era Waltham. It is a historically important one given as a presentation piece to William H. Smith from Vice President elect Schuyler Colfax.
The back is beautifully engraved "Presented to William H. Smith by Hon. Schulyer Colfax Speaker of the House of Rep & Vice President elect as a testamonial of Respect - February 19th, 1869."
William H. Smith was born in 1847 in Lapeer County, Michigan and had a very active military career. On Oct. 20,1869 during a "Return to the Frontier" campaign he performed with honor and distinction in an engagement with Apaches in the Chiricahua Mountains for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Smith was killed on October 5, 1877, while defending Camp Howard in the Idaho Territory during the Idaho Indian Wars.
Schuyler Colfax served as the 17th vice president of the United States from 1869 to 1873 for Ulysses S. Grant, and prior to that as the 25th speaker of the House of Representatives from 1863 to 1869. Colfax was known for his opposition to slavery while serving in Congress, and was a founder of the Republican Party. To date, he is one of only two persons to have served as both Speaker of the House and Vice President.
Colfax was fascinated with the West and made multiple journeys throughout California, Oregon, and Washington and was convinced that easy access throughout the country would make the country great. He was instrumental in the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869 which made travel much safer and faster.
As both Speaker and Vice President Colfax traveled with Samuel Bowles as Bowles prepared his book, "Our New West," and wrote the introduction to the book and makes a distinct recollection regarding some of the tense moments between local natives and his traveling party.
This watch represents a key moment in American history as a gift delivered from a Vice President elect of the United States shortly after the Civil War.
Included in the listing is a photo of Waltham's handwritten production ledgers indicating the watch was made in a run that lasted from Dec. 1867 - Jan. 1868.
One of our watchmakers has disassembled the movement down to its last screw and cleaned and oiled it and installed a new balance staff and two jewels in it making it ready for immediate enjoyment. Otherwise it remains just as we acquired it.
Included with the purchase is a one-year C.O.T. international warranty on the movement and its function and a full page Certificate of Authenticity.
For further reading a modern article on William H. Smith can be found here
. And his entry in the Congressional Medal of Honor Society can be found here
We normally sell "ordinary" Waltham watches made during the Civil War for $1,400 - 1,500 each and have several in stock as of this writing. We are offering this historically important Civil War era watch with an incredible provenance for only a few hundred dollars more.
Our new Connoisseur of Time Celebrity and Historical Events Collection:
I am very pleased to have just launched our new Celebrity and Historical Events Collection, which will be composed of watches owned by celebrities or that were given to commemorate an important historical event.
This watch is joined by others from Elvis Presley, Jerry Lewis, Burt Reynolds, King Edward VIII, Olivia Newton-John, Loretta Young, heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey; clocks from Bob Hope and Jerry Lewis; and a watch stand from Frank & Nancy Sinatra monogrammed with the Sinatra's "S."
I look forward to offering others as well to keep the collection constantly fresh and expanding.
This will be an exciting new collection you won't want to miss!
Manufacturer: American Watch Co./Waltham/Home
Country of origin: U.S.A.
Serial no.: 331,548
Date built: Included in the listing is a photo of Waltham's handwritten production ledgers indicating the watch was made in a run that lasted from Dec. 1867 - Jan. 1868.
Functions: Hours, Minutes, Subsidiary Seconds
Designed for: Men
Case material: Coin silver
Case markings: R139
Case markings (cuvette): Beautifully engraved "Presented to William H. Smith by Hon. Schulyer Colfax Speaker of the House of Rep & Vice President elect as a testamonial of Respect - February 19th, 1869."
Case condition: Very good honest condition with a small dent near 8 o'clock. We chose to leave the patina on the silver.
Dimensions: 54.5mm diameter (excluding the crown) - 18 size in American categorization.
Dial: White porcelain with Roman numerals, original, just short of mint with no significant cracks, chips, or hairlines
Hands: Original, "spades", blue steel
Movement markings: Home Watch Co., Boston, Mass., 331,548
Crystal type: Mineral glass, excellent condition
Serviced: One of our watchmakers has disassembled it down to its last screw and cleaned and oiled it making it ready for immediate enjoyment. Otherwise it has been left as we acquired it.
Warranty: One-year international warranty. Please email email@example.com for details.
Box/Papers: BOX - Watch presentation box; PAPERS - Full Page Certificate of Authenticity; KEY - Period winding/setting key
Returns: 7 days full refund. 100% satisfaction guarantee
We offer a 100%
satisfaction guarantee for all of our watches. If you are in any way
unsatisfied with the watch we will fully refund the purchase price anytime
within 7 days after the watch has been received. Our goal is to exceed our
client's expectations throughout the buying experience.
All watches are packaged carefully and mailed double boxed in specially
constructed, reinforced shipping boxes designed for high value items. All
watches are sent fully insured with signature required. Most of our domestic
shipping is done through FedEx. At times we will also use USPS Express Mail,
and we can accommodate most requests for your preferred carrier.
International shipments are sent USPS International Express Mail or FedEx.
The purchase price will be the declared value of the merchandise on any
required customs forms. The payment of all customs duties, tariffs, and
taxes are the responsibility of the buyer.
Also note that water resistance of vintage watches can no longer be
guaranteed and is not covered under the watch's warranty. We do not
recommend getting a vintage watch wet, even one that was originally designed
to be waterproof.