Dedicated to Canton Ohio, once the home of the "Greatest Watch Works in the World".
About the story ...
I'm using this platform to set out the results of my investigations into the remarkable story wrapped around the people and companies involved with Hampden watches.
In a nutshell this story should interest people trying to find out more about, Hampden watches, the Dueber Watch Case Co., The Mozart Watch Co., The New York Watch Co., The Manheimer Watch Co., The Clinton Watch Co. (Hampden Watch Corporation). Additionally, Type-1 watches made during the Soviet era in the two Moscow factories and at Zlatoust & Chistopol.
Geographically the story has it's origins in Italy, it's birth and re-birth in the USA with it's genetics finally ending-up in the USSR. Sociologically the story throughout involves a succession of migrants from the old world making their mark in the new world and takes place in the diverse ideology of both capitalism and communism.
Much of my content covers the important Dueber period. This was comparatively easy to research as it had been well documented earlier both by Cantonians and Horologists.
In particular I wanted to include more about the contribution Hampden patterns, tools and staff made to the Soviet Watch Industry and, in turn, it's role in perpetuating Hampden technology for a further four decades. The USSR's ability to produce fine horological devices was somewhat unfairly dismissed by Gibbs in his definitive publication "From Springfield to Moscow". This whole chapter is now available in a sister publication which has well defined links later on.
Just prior to the Hampden movement being transported to the Soviet Union a 'White Émigré who had escaped the purges following the communist revolution, was building up the Clinton Watch Co. in the US. There is little documentation in the public domain about the important and extended period when the Hampden heritage was rescued by the Manheimer Watch Co., and later the Clinton Watch Company., today's Hampden Corporation and I hope to engage others to contribute to that important chapter in the brands survival.
This is not a work of great academia - I'm a storyteller not an expert. I have no wish to hide the fact that I have transposed other peoples work. I have sought continuity, rather than simply changing the source material for the sake of disguising it. My purpose is simply to link strands, part stories, articles and snippets together to take the story forward as a whole. Nevertheless, I hope you will find much, previously un-published, new information.
The chapters run sequentially or chronologically, if you prefer. However, in 1930 the Manheimer era coincided with the start-up of the shipments of the old Hampden equipment to the Moscow factories.
About the author...
Hello, just a bit about me and some acknowledgements.
I'm an Englishman who for many years worked for a company also called Hampden, but with no connection to the watch concern. We were involved in the Rubber
Industry which inevitably led me to Ohio and the Akron, Cleveland and Cincinnati areas. At this time I was unaware of the watch company, but one day had cause to search Hampden on Google. The results opened up this fascinating new world to me and led me into researching and gathering as much information about Hampden & Soviet watches as possible.
The photo below was taken during a fact finding visit to Canton. I had the good fortune to meet the other two gentlemen who both played an important part in helping me compile this story. Left is Bob Arnold whose 1997 book "Hampden Watch Co.", written with James L. Hernick, remains a definitive source of information for watch collectors. Centre is Dave Miller, Dave's Great Grandfather was the last factory superintendent and had a significant role during the final years of the Canton watch factory. Me on the right.
My wife and I live on our 3acre homestead in rural Lincolnshire. When not messing about with watches I am an avid vintage tractor buff and like nothing more than to get oily and bang metal with a big hammer.
Thank you; To all those who helped or gave permission for me to use their material including Robert F. Vail, Philipp Thommen, Marco Stella, Richard Haldi, Tom Haas, Vladimir Graizer, Lee Horrisberger, Dimitry Pruss and Greg Farino. To the collectors of Dueber-Hampden, Hampden and Soviet watches who inspired and encourage me. Finally, a special thanks to Joe Wein for his material help and patience.
Alan F. Garratt
(As a policy I always persue copyright owners to seek permission to republish material. Where contact could not be made I welcome such release.)