Rockford gold filled square pocket watch

May 20, 2020. 03:26 UTC
Rockford gold filled square pocket watch
United States of America

Pocket watch

Acquired from

For sale

•Square shaped •14k gold filled S.W.C.CO case •Rockford 805250 •Initials AB engraved on back •Hands appear to be blued •Good working order •Case is 43mm squared not including the stem/winding



$80 - $100 (United States Dollar)
Answered within about 16 hours
May 20, 19:18 UTC
By David

Hello Andrea,
Thank you for sending in this pocket watch to for an appraisal. I shall try to help you with that today.
Gent’s, 12-size, pendant wound and pendant set, open face pocket watch, Grade 335, made by the Rockford Watch Company, Rockford, Illinois, circa 1910. (Case and dial/movement probably together by association.)
CASE – 43mm diameter, two leaf, ‘cushion’ shaped, 14k gold filled, open face pocket watch with fluted gilt pendant and shaped embossed bow placed at the twelve position. The back cover with linear guilloche and engraved with a central foliate shield with the monogram, ‘AB’, the original owner. At the periphery there are small floral ornaments embossed into the edge of the back cover as well as on the dial bezel. The inside of the back cover reveals that this is case number 5642051, made of 14k gold filled metal and made by the Star Watch Case Company (see History) and guaranteed for the gilt finish to last a minimum of 25 years. . .
DIAL – Gilt metal round dial with enameled Arabic hours, open bar minutes, subsidiary seconds dial @6 and guilloche patterned dial center marked for ‘Rockford’. There are blued-steel American style ‘Spade’ hands. . .
MOVEMENT – This is a nickel three-quarter plate and finger bridge movement, the Grade 335, Model 2 made in a run of 1000 such movements by the Rockford Watch Company of Rockford, Illinois. The serial number is 805250, made in the year 1910, size 12, made with 17 jewels, pendant wound and pendant set with double roller and not of railroad grade. {The two screws that hold the movement to the watch case are questionable as to their being the originals, the latter usually had flattened or countersunk heads.} . .
CASE –Moderate amount of scratches on the exterior cover.
DIAL – Mild amount of darkening of the dial surface and some minor wear to the enameled numerals, especially in the second’s dial.
MOVEMENT – Assumed to be original to this case (but not certain of that since the cushion case seems to have been developed during
WWI), genuine and functional.
The Star Watch Case Company was founded by Otto Starke and Fred Herman in 1897 in Elgin, Illinois. In 1905 the operation was moved to Ludington, Michigan where they remained into the last quarter of the 20th century. About 150+ workers manufactured only pocket watches prior to WWl. These were open face, hunting cases, snap and screw on back cover types. They used all types of metal cases from solid gold down to nickel. In the 1920's they used 10k, 14k, gold filled cases and 10k RGP (rolled gold plate). In the Twenties they added a chrome plated case. They used multiple trademarks, at least 20 that I was able to find. And they issued at least two patents on case styles.
March 4, 1874 - The Rockford Watch Co. is organized in Rockford, Illinois with capital of $150,000 by Hosmer P. Holland, Israel Sovereign, and George Troxell. The original equipment was purchased from the Cornell Watch Co. C.W. Parket and P.H. Wheeler, former employees at the Cornell Watch Co., were employed at the Rockford factory.
1876 - Construction of the Rockford Watch Co. factory is completed.
May 1876 - The first Rockford Watch Co. movement was offered for sale.
September 1881 - The Rockford Watch Co. factory is producing 70 watches per day, well behind the market demand.
1888 - Hosmer P. Holland resigns from the Rockford Watch Co.
May 15, 1896 - Stockholders declare insolvency and assign all assets and debts of the Rockford Watch Company to Mr. Irwin French.
May 1901 - The Company reorganizes as the Rockford Watch Co. Ltd. and becomes a subsidiary of the Illinois Watch Case Company, headed by Jacob Franks and Max C. Eppenstein.
July 20, 1903 - A fire occurs at the Rockford Watch Co. factory after it is struck by lightning.
1915 - After manufacturing nearly 1 million watches, the Rockford Watch Co. ceases operations and closes.
Location: Rockford, Illinois
Years of Operation: 1873-1915
Production Jewels: 7-24 Jewels in Sizes: 18s, 16s, 12s, 6s, 8s, 0s
Total Production: ~1,000,000
Quite unusual to see a Rockford pocket watch in a cushion case which would have made me automatically think of the Art deco years of 1920-1940. Unfortunately, it raises the question of whether this movement and dial were placed in a later case since the earliest ‘cushion’-shaped cased pocket watch I could find was made during World War I by Hamilton, and almost all were made post WWI. I have searched Rockford online at multiple websites and I cannot find another Rockford pocket watch with a cushion case. In fact, Invaluable past auctions showed 432 Rockford pocket watches, none in a cushion case. Understand that jewelers who all sold watches could mix and match movement/dial with any cases a customer desired and so it would be a natural event if this Rockford dial/movement dating to 1910 was matched with a Star watch case made in the circa 1920 time period. I do not think we were making cushion shaped cases in 1910. Here is an example of a Rockford in an Art deco ‘Octagon’ shaped case and the movement is attached with modern screws indicating the octagon shaped case was added later with this Rockford movement dating to circa 1910. This movement dated from the same era as your example. SEE -
(This married example sold at auction for $35.)
Assuming that the dial, case and movement started out life together the fair market value of this watch would range from $100-$150. However, because of the good possibility of a marriage of dial/movement with a later case by a jeweler the value will drop to $80-$100.
I hope this information is of some help to you in understanding your pocket watch.
If you can substantiate other Rockford watches with this gilt metal type dial and a similar “square-off” watch case, I would happily revisit this appraisal for you.
Thank you for choosing
My best,

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