Early American & Colonial Watches

Why Watches? Artistry, Workmanship & 18th Century High Tech!

Early watches are works of art and were the highest-tech product one could buy.

There is a rich history of watchmaking in 18th century America that is vastly more interesting and complex than previously believed. Unfortunately, relatively few examples survive and scholarly research has only recently gotten started. The purpose of this site is to facilitate discussion and research.

- Featured Watch -

"A Slave Owner's Watch"

Newly Discovered Gold Plantation Watch from Colonial Charleston

The vast majority of watches were imported from Europe; however, toward the end of the 18th century when watches became more affordable to the growing middle class, more American makers with English (and Swiss) supplier connections were able to retail their own line of watches. A few American watchmakers manufactured locally including Philadelphia makers Henry Voight and Robert Leslie; Norwich maker Thomas Harland; Providence maker John Cairns; and Massachusetts makers Wheelock & Morse and Luther Goddard (view a recent Goddard addition to the National Watch & Clock Museum collection).

I am keenly interested in recording colonial and early American watches and their watch papers. Please help by sharing information.

Colonial Watchmakers Article
America's Oldest Watch Article
John Cairns Article
S. G. Jones, Baltimore Watchmaker Article
American Watch Papers Article
Washington Watch Paper Article

Articles on Early American Watchmaking and Watch Makers

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