Rubaiyat W. Co/ 15 J'LS / 3 ADJ; American Standard W. C. CO. Case

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vcb2013 vcb2013
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Rubaiyat W. Co/ 15 J'LS / 3 ADJ; American Standard W. C. CO. Case

Hello! I have had this watch for quite a while, I have recently become interested in learning about its history - despite the markings on the inside, (I will explain this later...) I had suspicions that it was likely at the very earliest years of the deco era. I was thrilled to find your site, and to learn that this watch's history is entwined with the Bulova story! I was hoping you could please tell me more about this watch, if possible, when it is from etc. Hopefully it will be a good addition to your research & compilation.
Here are the details & pictures:
 - The watch works off & on...my husband suggested that it might be overwound and might be an easy fix. There is (as shown) just a bit of rubbing-off on the front corners of the gold-over-gold leafing/design. Otherwise, the piece is in (as far as I can tell!) in pristine condition. I love watching the movements work! Even the crystal is clear and virtually scratch-free. Face is great. No dents, no corrosion, high shine...there are myriad of markings and numeric notations; presumably made at different times over the course of its use.
The case, itself is not marked 14k but it tested for 14k with my little scratch stone/acid kit that I use for some old jewelry. I didn't go any further than that, nor did I try to clean it (although I got it pretty clean as it was). Here is the markings & photos

CASE MARKINGS (Inside):

-"AMERICAN STANDARD W. C. Co
WARRANTED 25 YEARS
3107371

-then, inscribed, upside down, atop the case marking:
97840c (the 8 has a line down the center...?)

-then, off to the side, in cursive-style: HMC 12-27-44
-then, under that: 350
-then, a signature in cursive that I cannot make out.(?)
-then, along the bottom, side of the inner case, inscribed: W59502A

MOVEMENT:
15 J'LS
RUBAIYAT W. Co
3 ADJ.
watchophilia watchophilia
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Re: Rubaiyat W. Co/ 15 J'LS / 3 ADJ; American Standard W. C. CO. Case

Vcb, what a lovely watch.  These really old models fascinate me, as you may have noticed from my comments on my old watches and my article on Early Bulova Watches.  

Your watch is particularly interesting in that it has a movement signed "Rubaiyat" rather than "Bulova".  I have one of these on the way to me, and it will be my first example of such a watch.

So, what can I tell you about it?  Well, it's old, but we don't know exactly how old.  We do not yet have a confirmed way to date these old watches, as they do not bear the usual date markings that Bulova started using consistently in 1926.  

All evidence discovered to date indicates that the Rubaiyat watches were made by Bulova.  I explain the support for that conclusion in the article cited above.  Why some of them have movements signed "Bulova" and some signed "Rubaiyat" is not known, but speculation is that the "Rubaiyat" signed movements pre-date the movements signed "Bulova".  If that speculation is accurate, then my best guess would be that your watch dates to around 1917, which is our earliest documentation regarding a watch made by Bulova under that name.  The unsigned dial also supports the conclusion that your watch would be one of the oldest of the Rubaiyat line, made before Bulova starting printing "Rubaiyat" on the dial.

As explained in my Early Bulovas article, as well as in my article on Case Signatures, the "American Standard" case is clearly linked to Bulova.  The other markings you noted on the inside of the back of the case are believed to be watchmaker marks added by hand throughout the years as the watch was serviced.  They are not official case markings.  Most of these really old watches have such marks, and we consider them to be an indication that the watch was well cared for.

Let me know if you have any additional questions that I didn't cover.  Your watch is very special and is the subject of much ongoing research, so check back frequently for new discoveries.
- Lisa
1955mercury 1955mercury
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Re: Rubaiyat W. Co/ 15 J'LS / 3 ADJ; American Standard W. C. CO. Case

In reply to this post by vcb2013
I looked up the serial shown on the case for the American Standard Watch Co. at NAWCC
and it listed it as being made between 9/1/1886 and 1/31/1887.
watchophilia watchophilia
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Re: Rubaiyat W. Co/ 15 J'LS / 3 ADJ; American Standard W. C. CO. Case

That's very interesting, Mercury.  Would you please provide a link to that look-up site?  Thanks.
- Lisa
1955mercury 1955mercury
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Re: Rubaiyat W. Co/ 15 J'LS / 3 ADJ; American Standard W. C. CO. Case

This post was updated on .
In reply to this post by vcb2013
This is the link for the information I provided Ms. Lisa.
http://www.nawcc-info.org/WalthamDB/LookupSN.asp

Although it says Waltham, the American Watch Co. manufacture's cases. Upon closer reading, the information I provided may be in error. It says the information is for the watch movement serial number and not the case. I was looking for case serial numbers and I came across this information and just didn't read it close enough. Sorry. I'll do some more research and see if I can come up with more information.
watchophilia watchophilia
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Re: Rubaiyat W. Co/ 15 J'LS / 3 ADJ; American Standard W. C. CO. Case

Thanks for the link.  I am having trouble understanding the relevance of a Waltham movement (not case) serial number reference to an American Standard case serial number from a case housing a Rubaiyat/Bulova movement--a combination that is seen quite often.

The Waltham database you referenced indicates, "This database only lists information on watch movements, not cases."  

Moreover, I am unaware of any connection between Waltham and American Standard Watch Case Co.  Whereas, we have much evidence connecting Bulova to American Standard Watch Case Co., as explained in my write-up on Bulova Case Signatures.  And we have growing evidence to connect the Rubaiyat to Bulova, and, thereby, to the American Standard Watch Case Co.  These connections are discussed in my article Searching for the Beginning and in my Rubaiyat watch listing.  I have recently acquired additional Rubaiyat watches, some with Rubaiyat signed movements, so I will be discussing these watches very soon in even more detail.  They are all in American Standard cases.

Additionally, I am unaware of a connection between National Watch Case Co. and American Standard Watch Case Co.  They appear to be entirely different entities.

If I am missing some known or suspected connection here, please let me know.

- Lisa
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Re: Rubaiyat W. Co/ 15 J'LS / 3 ADJ; American Standard W. C. CO. Case

I've been doing some poking around here on my end, going through some books and trademark references, and thought I would throw out a few related facts, in case they help us with this discussion.

Looking at the 6th Edition (1950) of the text "Trade Marks of the Jewelry and Kindred Trades", I see that American Watch Company was a name once used by Waltham.  The 1904 version of that text indicates that Waltham also used the name American Waltham Watch Co.  Here are the listed trademark symbols in the 1904 edition:



According to the text, "History of the American Watch Case", by Warren H. Niebling, there was also a company called American Watch Case Company, with a registered trademark dated 1905.  

There is a discussion on the NAWCC site regarding two companies that used the American Watch Case Company name--one American and one Canadian.  The Canadian company appears to have had a relationship with Waltham and others.  http://mb.nawcc.org/showwiki.php?title=American_Watch_Case_Co

Here is the well known American Watch Case Co. trademark symbol, which is listed under that name in both editions of the jewelry and watch trademark book referenced above:



Admittedly, it is difficult to find information regarding American Standard's early years.  We know that Bulova listed the company as a subsidiary in the early 1930s and that Bulova held trademarks under the American Standard name, including one first used in 1918.  The company is not listed in any version that I've seen of the jewelry and watch trademark text referenced above.  The text "United States Horological Trademark Index", by Kurtis Meyers, includes a section for American Standard Watch Case Co. with two trademarks for 1927--both of which are model names used by Bulova.  The text "Trade Marks:  Watch Cases, Pocket Watches, Precious Stones, Diamonds", by Roy Ehrhardt (1976) includes a listing that probably references the American Standard Watch Case Co., but the listing is a bit odd and unclear, as shown below:



The Providence, RI address included in that listing does match the address listed in other resources for the American Standard Watch Case Co.

Other trademark symbols for American Standard Watch Case Co. can be found here:  Bulova Case Signatures.  And, of course, the watch that started this thread shows a good example of one of the American Standard Watch Case Co. signatures seen in early watches believed to have been made by Bulova, including the Rubaiyat.


Taking all that into consideration, it seems to me that Waltham, under its various names, and the American Watch Case Co. are separate entities from the American Standard Watch Case Co., and, therefore, Waltham resources would not be applicable to the subject watch.

Anyone disagree with that analysis?
- Lisa
1955mercury 1955mercury
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Re: Rubaiyat W. Co/ 15 J'LS / 3 ADJ; American Standard W. C. CO. Case

In reply to this post by vcb2013
No arguments from me. You are awesome Lisa. That's amazing how you came up with all
of that information. I was sorry I ever got into this discussion, but now I'm glad, because
I learned something from it.
watchophilia watchophilia
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Re: Rubaiyat W. Co/ 15 J'LS / 3 ADJ; American Standard W. C. CO. Case

I learned from it too and was very glad you raised the possible Waltham connection.  Otherwise, I probably never would have considered it.  I certainly learned a few things about Waltham that I didn't know.

I hope you're never sorry for participating in a discussion on Watchophilia.  Even if we disagree, we usually learn something from the exchange--at least I do.

You were correct in your previous comment that we are all learning together.  Thanks for being a part of that.


- Lisa
vcb2013 vcb2013
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Re: Rubaiyat W. Co/ 15 J'LS / 3 ADJ; American Standard W. C. CO. Case

Hi - I am the person who owns the watch in discussion - first, I just wanted to say thank you SO much to Ms. Lisa - tremendously knowledgable and that message really made my day!
I do not want to get you all off topic - as it seems that you are doing some very important research. My aim is to try to add any clues to help correctly date the watch that I submitted, so please bear with me.

I realized after I uploaded the photos and wrote the details, I neglected to add some other details and incidentals that do not seem so incidental anymore, based on your subsequent findings regarding my watch. The photo I am attaching now might give you some extra clues. All parts (chain, brooch, charms) were with the piece, together as I found them - and all have very similar aging. My reasoning for this is due  in part to the similar age of the insides, outside, attachment, and working...and even the caked corners of grime (not as gross as it sounds) that appear uniformly in the corners of the case and in the corners of the movement itself.
Attached, as you see, is a fob chain marked inside "GLB & Co." - although it may say "CLB & Co." I am not entirely sure, but I have seen it in both forms for 1850s-1880s+ watch fob chains. (gold filled usually)
The chain is attached in two pieces, the top to the brooch that you see in the photo - the brooch with its tiny turquoise cabochon with a c-clasp that is perfectly aged to 1860s-1880s, (or thereabouts) the fob chain seems to have been specifically made to hold charms - and these charms would have been the very typical 1870-1890s. The charms are the Victorian "puffy heart",  and the anchor, a symbol of "hope". Both popular & appear in guides like Warman's etc.
I also wanted to address the issue of the "ladies wrist watch" from what I see, there seems to be the area for attachment of the wrist expandable links (I have one of those, but it is steel or pewter, I believe - not for this watch, but from a likely similar style of the era. Could it be this old if it were a convertible wrist watch? Forgive me if I am way off and that it is not for a wrist bracelet but rather something else entirely. I am a watch-novice!
So, hopefully the picture of the whole "unit" helps to periodize/contextualize the watch. It is in outstanding condition, and the age that you are suggesting (late 19th century) would fit in perfectly with the rest of the lot that I got from this particular estate.
So, that is my input - thank you again for helping me with my mystery!

Question: Would it be terribly gauche if I asked what anyone might think it is worth? (all things considered, in working order, and with accoutrement?) Pardon me if this is not the place for those questions.  It is great to follow your unfolding research.
watchophilia watchophilia
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Re: Rubaiyat W. Co/ 15 J'LS / 3 ADJ; American Standard W. C. CO. Case

Hi, VCB.  It's nice to see everything that came with the watch.  I am not, unfortunately, qualified to comment on the age of the various trinkets.  You would need an expert in vintage jewelry to address that issue, as that is an entirely separate area of expertise.  It's fascinating stuff, though.  I recently attended a vintage jewelry tea at an old Plantation house here in Virginia, where a seller of vintage jewelry showed a beautiful collection and lectured on the various trends, covering much the same time period as the Bulovas I collect.  It was quite interesting.

As for the watch, I am not suggesting that it dates to the late 19th Century.  That suggestion was made based on information that I believe to be inapplicable to your watch.  There is no evidence that Bulova, who I believe made the Rubaiyat watches, was even making watches at that point in time.

As I expressed in my previous post, we are still learning about these early watches, and new information is slowly being found and reported.  If you take a look at my recent article entitled Searching for the Beginning, you will see that the earliest date we can, so far, attach to the Rubaiyat watches--at least in regard to any connection between that name and Bulova--is 1917.  That is the date of the Rubaiyat trademark, owned by Bulova, and that date is supported by an ad dated 1919, which indicates the retailer had been selling the Rubaiyats "for years".  Currently, we have no evidence that the Rubaiyat was produced or sold after 1919.

So, based on the information currently on hand, I would estimate that your watch was made between 1917 and 1919.  

- Lisa