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, but no private labels have been reported.
Total production of the Old Eagle line was about 140,000 watches, blocked from SN 508,001 to SN 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 up to the debut of the Model 8 and 9 run.
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 with simple regulators. No Model 6 or 7 with a higher count of 17 jewels has turned up, with only one 15-jewel example being logged with a marked count and equipped with 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.
The movements that were used for the Companion were not standard pendant-set or lever-set movements right off the production line. They were a true pin-set movement, which is what the push button on the left side of the case was for. The pillar plate underwent several more milling procedures, using additional components from a separate parts list. The standard yoke was used under the dial but without a shuttle of any kind on the right side.
Example shown below contributed by Jacobe C of Garland, Texas
A circular depression was milled for a cam-shaped lever, which disengaged the yoke from the ratchet wheel when pushed.
A slot was machined on the left side of the pillar plate as a guide for the setting pin, which was held in place by a set screw.
The spring-loaded setting pin in place at rest, allowing the yoke to mesh with the ratchet wheel in winding mode.
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.