Brief History: Boston Watch Company

Including Serial Numbers and Production Dates

Boston and Roxbury, Mass.


The original Boston Watch Company (Waltham) factory on the banks of the Charles River as it would have appeared after the reorganization of 1857 when operating as Appleton, Tracy & Co.

The Boston Watch Company was an early pre-cursor of the American Waltham Watch Company. As such, they hold an important place in American horological history.

American Horologe Company

The original precursor of the Waltham Watch company was the American Horologe Company (Warren Manufacturing Company) which began watch production in 1851. The first few watches were produced in 1852, and construction of a new factory was undertaken on the banks of the Charles River in Waltham, Mass in 1852-53. This factory would become the eventual home of the American Waltham Watch Company. In September of 1853, the name was changed to Boston Watch Company.

The company produced movements labeled "Dennison, Howard & Davis", "P.S. Bartlett" and "C.T. Parker" after early directors and employees of the company. By 1857, after total production of approximately 5000 movements, the Boston Watch Company succumed to financial difficulties and declared bankruptcy. Edward Howard left the company to form his own manufacturing company, the E. Howard Watch Company. The Boston Watch Company was purchased out of bankruptcy by Royal E. Robbins, who reorganized the company under the name Appleton, Tracy & Co.

"Boston Watch Company" Watches made by Hampden

If you run across a watch marked "Boston Watch Company" on the movement and/or dial, it is VERY likely that it is NOT an original Boston Watch Company watch. The total watch production for Boston Watch Company was around 5000 watches, so if you have a Boston Watch Company watch with a serial number above 5000, then it's not an original Boston Watch Company watch!

The Dueber-Hampden Watch Company produced an 18-size model which was labeled "Boston Watch Company". It is not known how or when (or if) Hampden acquired the rights to the "Boston Watch Company" name, but these Hampden-produced "Boston Watch Company" watches are far more plentiful than original watches produced by the Boston Watch Company, which are quite rare and collectible.

Please contact us if we can assist with the repair, restoration or sale of your Boston Watch Company pocket watch.


Boston Watch Company

Serial Numbers and Production Dates

Total Production: Approx. 5000 Watches

Year S/N
1853 1
1857 5,000

Be sure to use the serial number on the movement (the works) of the watch. Do not use the serial number from the watch case.

Can’t find your serial number in the table? Click here for an explanation and example of how to use our serial number tables.

Need help finding the serial number on your watch? Click here for instructions on how to identify and open most common case types.