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The Seth Thomas Research website is the most accurate and comprehensive online resource for the factory's 29-year output of pocket watch production from 1885 to 1914, featuring:
This is a members-only pay site for vintage Seth Thomas pocket watches, NOT clocks.
If you have any watches or paper records in your collection then please share them with us.
Catalog prints and period ads will be posted to the Records page, and your watch will be logged on the appropriate chart, adding to the totals and making the search functions more accurate.
Pocket watch dial and movement photos only, please.
Check to see if your great-grandfather was a jeweler, retailer, or store owner.
Learn what went into your Seth Thomas, from dials and cases to factory patents.
Find out about the man who started it all, including the timeline of the factory.
Collating millions of extant pocket watch examples would be an enormous task, so the ability for collectors to upload their own pieces became a central feature of the huge PWDB website in order to allow the site to auto-populate and to give the contributors a sense of community. The glaring flaw in that approach is that if an uploaded watch is misclassified, then there is no one to correct it, and anyone doing future research assumes it to be valid even if it's clearly wrong. Once enough people believe a thing to be true it becomes the accepted definition, and certainly no one is going to argue if the Database tells them their watch is rare or a higher grade than it actually is.
To test this theory, site owner Nathan Moore decided to invent a Grade 182 "Special" in common 17-jewel lever-set Model 5 Seth Thomas watches, starting somewhere in 2021. This grade does not exist in any of the surviving catalogs, nor has any period literature or advertisements been reported to support this. Think of the disservice this does to collectors of these mechanical works of art, the history they contain, and the men who spent much of their lives inventing them.
Until roughly January of 2023, the PWDB had no information about Seth Thomas run totals and grade production, which made sense given the lack of information on his site, so Nathan simply made them up by inventing the numbers out of thin air. He could have written the site code to return the word "Unknown" when there were gaps in the data, but he deliberately chose not to.
The 17-jewel Grade 506 in the Model 3 (pictured) is a perfect example. Despite having logged only three of them by late 2023, the Database stated that there were five runs with a ridiculous overall production of 1,600 for this second-highest grade that spanned around only four years. Over thirty of these examples have been logged on this Research site, and so far the data shows at least nine small runs with a combined total of fewer than 300 in both nickel and two-tone. The total production of the Model 3 in all grades was a little under 40,000, and nearly 48% of them was the gilt 7-jewel Grade 33, so there's no way 1,600 of the remaining 20,000 was the Grade 506.
Doubtless the search returns on the PWDB may be amended to something closer to the truth if the owner reads this, but then there was never any need to fabricate such numbers when better information could be found on this Seth Thomas Research website by anyone willing to ask.
Consider why the Database exists in the first place. There are only three reasons - to make money, philanthropy, or ego. Google and eBay ads may not pay enough to justify all the work. Altruism is certainly a possibility, but the cost to buy servers, pay people to write a staggering amount of code to support the site, catalog thousands of documents, pore over hundreds of period ads for photos, and constantly update it would be considerable. The third option is the most plausible because Nathan has given himself seven different badges on his own site, including Founder and Expert, which is interesting. All of this allows small changes to be made in the lexicon to see if the masses will follow, and if people blindly believe everything found on his site then it's a huge ego boost for the rich guy who so badly wants to be regarded as the final word in American pocket watches.