Robert Leslie & Company
Robert Leslie of Philadelphia was the first clock or watchmaker to receive patents in America. His Nautical Watch, possibly the first watch designed by an American, was discovered just a few years ago.
Robert Leslie and Isaac Price became partners in 1792 in the firm Leslie & Price, and Robert Leslie relocated to London the following year to directly manage the manufacture and shipping of watches and clocks to Philadelphia. Leslie's trans-Atlantic business model to import clocks and watches was ground-breaking and the firm developed a very large and diverse clientele that included Thomas Jefferson.
Robert Leslie Movement
Leslie & Price expanded to Baltimore in 1795 adding partner Abraham Patton under the firm Robert Leslie & Co., the name engraved on this watch. A year later, Samuel G. Jones was added and the firm renamed to Patton, Jones & Company. All were dissolved upon the death of Isaac Price in 1798. However, Abraham Patton and S. G. Jones remained together as Patton & Jones (1798-1814), operating in both Philadelphia and Baltimore.
All Robert Leslie & Co. signed watches were manufactured in London under the direction of the firm's principal, Robert Leslie. This watch is signed "Robt Leslie & Co. No 871 Baltimore." It has a nicely finished fusee and verge escapement movement with round pillars, a white enamel dial and gold hands.
CS Case Maker's Mark
The silver pair cases have London assay letter for 1796-97 and maker's mark "CS" likely for Charles Saffell of Clerkenwell, London. They also have a King George III export duty mark.
John Child Watch Papers: Wonderful set of Philadelphia watch papers by John Child (including a very rare hand signed paper), Osborn Conrad, and John Heilig located within the case.
Additional References and recommended reading:
James Gibbs, Pennsylvania Clocks and Watches, The Pennsylvania State University, 1984
Carter Harris, A Philadelphia Clockmakers Company: Some Documentary Evidence, NAWCC Watch & Clock Bulletin, No. 233 (December, 1984), pp. 698-702
Catherine Hollan, Philadelphia Silversmiths and Related Artisans to 1861, Hollan Press, Missouri, 2013
Richard Newman, Robert Leslie, The Greatest American Watch and Clock Maker Every Forgotten, NAWCC Watch & Clock Bulletin, No. 431 (January/February 2018), pp. 69-88, and No. 432 (March/April 2018), pp. 149-163