Sunday, 2 November 2014

Coventry made "Own Label" watches

Rotherham 19J 1903 keyless branded
"Time O Day"
by Russell of Liverpool
After an exchange of Facebook messages and posts with the Coventry Watch Museum I have been doing an analysis of the watches I have handed recently to see how many Coventry watches were signed by a third party. I looked at three of the large Coventry makers - Rotherham, Errington / Williamson and Wm Ehrhardt  who although based in Birmingham is normally considered to be part of the Coventry trade.

The analysis will understate the number signed by third parties because although many are signed on the movement and/or dial many are signed only on the dial and as explained in my blog post "Why the blank faces? some of these will have been done using a fragile transfer print process which over time can be lost.

 This is what I came up with:

Total # 3rd party signed
Rotherham 70 69%
Errington 44 73%
Ehrhardt 24 63%

I suspect that the Ehrhardt percentage would have been at least as high as the others originally but they produced a cheaper watch which was more likely to have a transfer printed dial signature than a more expensive enamelled version, for this reason and the sheer numbers involved I have excluded from the Errington sample  the Williamson 1905, 1910 and other late model which were widely sold under other names.

It is also revealing that apart from J.W. Benson there are very few "repeaters" in the list with most of the names being small local companies, indicating that, as I expected, relabeling Rotherham and other Coventry made watches was a widespread practice.

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