It had many name changes over the years and a couple of small reorganizations and eventually became the Waltham Watch Company in the early 1900s.The very best, most expensive Waltham watches for all of that roughly 50-year period, from 1859 until maybe 1915 or so, were always labeled American Watch Co. The town of Waltham had become well known, and the name appeared on all of their watches as the location anyway.The company had financial difficulties in 1896, and was reorganized as the Rockford Watch Co. Two of the principles of the Illinois Watch Case Co., J. The Rockford Watch Company, located 93 miles from Chicago on the Rock River, began operation in 1873 using equipment purchased from the Cornell Watch Company. Rockford watches were quite popular with railroad men, as 3 railroads went through Rockford, and the company advertised heavily to them. Rockford is one of the companies that produced a relatively small number of good-quality watches, and as such they are quite collectible. Click here for an explanation and example of how to use our serial number tables. Click here for instructions on how to identify and open most common case types.
Although successful at first, Rockford suffered difficulties starting at the beginning of the gay-nineties. The highest grades of early Rockford watches were signed "Ruby" or "Ruby Jewels" which later became a stylized letter "R" engraved next to the jewel-count. By 1877, the company was producing its own 3/4 plate nickel movements that fit standard size cases. At first, production was about ten watches per day. The factory, in Rockford, IL, was completed in 1876 with the first watches getting to the market later that year.