Aime Brandt Pocket Watch

Aime Brandt Pocket Watch

Aime Brandt Pocket Watch

Aime Brandt came to Philadelphia from Switzerland, likely Neuchatel, in 1793 (via Amsterdam). He was in a number of partnerships; Lewis Mathey from 1795 to 1800, Lewis Mathey and James Brown from 1795-1796, and with his brother Charles Brandt from 1800 to 1814 (Catherine Hollan has extensive information on Aime Brandt in her Philadelphia Silversmiths book, pages 24-25).

Several surviving Aime Brandt signed watches are known and all appear to be nicely finished with signed dials as shown in this example. Brandt imported his watches from Switzerland and they have the typical balance bridge and steel coquerette that is characteristic of continental watches. Other American watchmakers also turned to Swiss suppliers. It is thought that they were less expensive than those supplied from England at the turn-of-the-century and political disfavor with England may have also played a role - - the American public was increasing more accepting of goods from the continent after the Revolutionary War and again with rising English tensions that led to the War of 1812. For example, Effingham Embree is known to have used both English and Swiss movements for his watches.

This watch is engraved “Aime Brandt At Philada” and has no serial number. It dates to about 1800. The movement has a fusee and verge escapement with a wonderful signed dial that reads "Aime Brandt Philadelphia." Silver case marked HW585.

Early American Watchmaking

Aime Brandt Movement

Early American Pocket Watch
American Watch Papers

Aime Brandt's watch paper is displayed for reference. It reads: 129 North Second near Race St. Philad. Seafaring themes were popular and this one was used by a number of early American watch makers. The anchor is a symbol of hope and together with a goddess holding a watch is perhaps an appeal for sailors to return safely and quickly.

Additional References and recommended reading:

  • Catherine Hollan, Philadelphia Silversmiths and Related Artisans to 1861, Hollan Press, Missouri, 2013