U.S. (Marion) Pocket Watches
When the company was started in 1863, there were only two watch factories in the United States, The Howard Watch and Clock Company and The American Watch Company. American were in high demand at that time and the two existing companies could not meet the demand.
The U.S. Watch Company was founded by the firm of Giles, Wales and Company, a jewelry importing company that had been selling English and Swiss watches. In 1863 they rented a shop in Newark, New Jersey and contracted with James H. Gerry, head machinist of the American Watch Company, to make the machinery necessary for watchmaking and later to become superintendent of the factory. Gerry brought ten employees with him. In August, 1864 the company purchased 23 acres of land at Marion, New Jersey and construction of a factory began. Oliver J. Baldwin, a New York watchmaker made the model watch. It was an 18-size full plate, straight line lever with exposed pallets, club tooth escape wheel and compensated expansion balance. It had a butterfly-shaped cut out in the top plate giving a view of the action of the escapement. In 1867 the first movement was completed. It was given the name "Frederick Atherton". Frederick being the first name of Giles and Atherton being the second name of Wales.
Damaskeening had become very popular in Switzerland where it was a trade secret. Damaskeening was seen as a way of upgrading the image of their watch, so, machines were made, the art was learned and damakeening became a feature of the United States Watch.
By the end of 1869 there were over 100 employees and 100 movements being turned out daily. Even though the company was successful in making excellent beautiful watches, they were never able to cover the expense of running the factory.
In 1872 the company made an assignment to Mr. William Muirhead of Jersey City. Muirhead instructed Giles and Wright to continue to operate the factory under the name of the Marion Watch Company. The prices were reduced and cheaper grades were offered. Many of the watches the United States Watch Company had discarded, were recycled out of the reject bin and were completed as Marion watches. The company went bankrupt and the factory was closed in the spring of 1874. The total production was about 300,000 watches. The machinery was sold to the Auburndale Factory, the Fitchburg Watch Company and the Fredonia Watch Company.
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