Who Made This Watch?
James Russell & Co, Hartford Conn
#20145 information provided by Michael Edidin and inspected by Ron Price
15J with translucent plate jewels and 3-screw real jewel setting, sprung under hairspring with exposed stud, applied index, steel balance, English style pallet and blunt-end escape wheel. The click and oblong ratchet bridge on pillar plate look like Waltham parts. The long bridge on the pillar plate, though, doesn't have the same square ends as the Waltham part. Not shown, the potance looks like the Waltham part #215. Both movement and dial signed James Russell & Co., Hartford, Conn. The number 145 is on barrel bridge, and the number 20145 is on the pillar plate along with sub-assembly number 37. The number 37 is also stamped on the underside of the balance bridge along with 45; note the pry slot which is not on the Waltham bridge. The number 37 is also stamped on the underside of the top plate along with other markings that I couldn't make out (probably 20145, but I didn't want to disassemble the movement). The gilding is poor (Swiss like).
Well, James Russell #20145 might look like a remanufactured Waltham Model 57, but it is not a Waltham. It's a great copy, though. The plates and pillars appear to be identical with the pillars in the exact same locations; even an AWCo dial fits perfectly. It even has the Model 57 train arrangement, and the layout appears to be identical, at least according to a couple measurements. It also has all the same subassembly parts. However, although the subassembly parts look the same and correct for the grade, they are not the same exact size. For example, the balance bridge is a little longer, the barrel bridge is a little wider, the regulator is a little longer, the long pillar plate bridge is a little wider, and the oblong ratchet bridge is a little wider. [Could these parts still be factory, maybe out of tolerance or discarded for some reason; see Russell 21147.]
Moreover, Michael has yet to find a James Russell in Hartford, CT (via Google searches and The Connecticut Historical Society Museum's Hartford City Directories).
Michael also has a Tobias & Cie (compare with Russell #19841) with similar style and markings (same maker?)
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