Early American Watchmaking

Who made the first American watch?

This is a question that is impossible to answer because documentation is lacking and few early American-signed watches survive. However, the sun and moon watch signed by John Wright in New York is the oldest American-signed watch currently known.

It is very likely that small-scale watchmaking began in America in the 18th century. How early is unknown. Colonial advertisements citing locally made watches and ability to fabricate just about any watch part for the trade, including champlevé dials and cases, exist from the 1740's. Makers likely imported rough (unfinished) movements from England and finished them locally just like watch makers did back in England (read Article on Colonial & Early American Watchmakers).

This section highlights a few surviving American-signed watches, the true beginnings of the American watch industry.

Thomas Harland


Henry Voight (coming soon)

Voight Pocket Watch

Interesting & Unusual Watches from later in the 19th Century

Check out early American watchmaking advertisements

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