The Eagle Series again mimicked the Model 1 for plate layout, like the Model 3. The two models were mirror images of each other, with the Model 6 being open-face and the Model 7 being hunter, and they were apparently designed as lower-cost replacements for the earlier Models 2 and 3. They made for an excellent daily carry watch, and with the 3/4-plate design they were sturdy and easy to service. Jewel counts ranged from 7 to 17 with plates of gilt, nickel, or two-tone, but they were too thick to fit into the new "snug" cases. Named grades were common, such as Empire State and Montgomery Ward.
Total production of the Old Eagle line was about 140,000 watches, blocked from SN 508,001 to 700,000, although nothing above SN 647,000 has been reported. It's likely that production stopped at this point in favor of the New Eagle Series, leaving a gap of 53,000 additional watches unaccounted for.
The Old Eagle Mystery
All of the period catalogs advertise the Old Eagle Series as having jewel counts from 7 up to 17, but so far every reported example has either 7 or 11 jewels. No Model 6 or 7 with higher counts of 15 or 17 jewels has turned up, and nearly all have simple regulators, with only a single logged watch coming equipped with a gooseneck spring.
The first known advertisement for the Old Eagle Series is dated 1896, with no mention of it in earlier ads. It was apparently intended to replace both the Models 2 and 3 as lower-grade versions, and it's not clear exactly when the Models 6 and 7 were retired, since both Old and New Eagle are listed in the 1904 catalog.
The watches logged in the M6 & 7 chart are all reported examples or verified from photos.
If your watch isn't on this SN chart please send us a picture.
Grade assignments evidently applied to both the Old and New Eagle models. Patterns were produced on gilt, nickel, or two-tone plates, and both of the Models 6 and 7 were lever-set. No separate grade assignment for gilt plates has been found, so these have been included along with the other two finishes. No private labels, Adjusted grades, or 15 or 17-jewel examples have been reported.
The Eagle line debuted with double-marked movements and the distinctive open-kite hands, which are fairly scarce. The nickel patterns were simple ones, with an eagle engraved in one of three sizes on blank plates or the smallest eagle with the factory signature, along with a matching fancy dial in choices of either pink or blue, available on both models.
The Banner watches were 11-jewel Grade 106 and 107 movements with specially marked dials. They apparently didn't continue into the New Eagle Series, since no Model 8 or 9 has been reported with a Banner dial. The movements themselves had standard factory markings.
They were evidently supplied to a specific wholesaler, but it is not known for which one, or if it was for all of them. They were offered as a movement only or as a complete watch, but again it is not known if Seth Thomas was supplying the cases or if they were added by the wholesaler.
Seth Thomas offered a simple 7-jewel travel clock containing either a Model 6 with a flat hairspring or a Model 8 with a Breguet hairspring in a leather-wrapped metal case that was available in several color choices. The factory listed its top-grain leathers as lizard, alligator and seal with second-quality hides of pig and morocco in half a dozen colors.
It's assumed that the button on the upper left side of the case is to set the hands, but no pin-set Seth Thomas models are known to exist. Lever-set variants placed the lever in the standard 12-minute location and pendant-set mechanisms occupy the same position under the dial, so it's a mystery why the setting button is on the left. The company could've used a standard pendant-set movement, since the crown is visible in the ad cut and easily accessible.
Seth Thomas carried a full line of cycling accessories, including cyclometers and a bicycle watch that contained a 7-jewel Model 7 hunting movement with a compensating (cut) balance wheel. It was stem wind and the hands were set by depressing the button near the mounting bracket. The firm claimed that the jarring incurred during normal cycling would have no effect on accuracy.
There were plenty of named grades to accompany the factory-numbered ones.
Click here for the entire alphabetical list, along with models and jewel counts.