The New Eagle Series was yet another 3/4-plate design, starting where the Old line left off, and again the two models were mirror images for hunter and open-face. The reasons for the change are unclear, but the newer versions were more accurate watches. The Model 8 and Model 9 were nearly identical to their respective forebears, but with two differences - the balance bridge alignment pins were inverted, and they were significantly thinner, allowing them to fit into the new snug cases. Jewel choices were still 7 to 17 and the plate finishes remained the same.
Grade assignments applied to both the Old and New Eagle models. The patterns were nickel and two-tone, and the runs were lever-set early on and entirely pendant-set by the end. No gilt examples have turned up, but private labels have been reported.
* The 12-jewel Grades 110 and 111 are assigned and so far have been reported exclusively on the Edgemere named grade.
* Grades 216 and 217 are also assigned and apply to the Adjusted variants of the established 17-jewel Grades 210 and 211.
The first known appearance of the New Eagle Series is in the 1904 catalog, overlapping with the retirement of the Old Eagle Series, which also appeared in that same catalog. However, the Edgemere grade, made for Sears Roebuck & Co, which launched their first catalog in 1893, appears fairly early in the Models 8 and 9 run. The nickel-only variant of the Model 8 continued right to the end of production, appearing in the 1913 Centennial catalog. It's not known why the Old Series was scrapped in favor of the Models 8 and 9, but they were better timepieces than the Old Eagle variants, since they had regulators, Breguet hairsprings, and were thinner, allowing them to be fitted in the "snug" factory cases. Some of the earlier runs of the 17-jewel variants were marked Adjusted, and private labels have been reported.
A little under a quarter-million of the New Eagle Series were made, blocked from SN 700,001 to 900,000, with none above SN 853,000. The Model 8 alone continued on from SN 2,500,001 up to 2,593,000.
The watches logged in the M8 & 9 chart are all reported examples or verified from photos.
If your watch isn't on this SN chart please send us a picture.
Montgomery Ward was a mail-order company founded in Chicago by traveling salesman Aaron Montgomery Ward in 1872, who noticed that his rural customers wanted items that were only available at city retailers. His first catalog was a single sheet of paper, but by the mid-1890s had grown to over 300 pages when Richard Sears launched Sears Roebuck & Co.
The Montgomery Ward grade carried a matching "20th Century" dial, and has been reported in both Models 8 and 9 during the entire run of the New Eagle Series. They were apparently ordered from the factory in one count of 11 jewels, screw-set early on and press-fit later. 20th Century examples without the Montgomery Ward name have been reported.
The Edgemere was also a named grade, made by the factory for Sears Roebuck & Co, which was another Chicago-based mail-order retailer founded by Richard Sears and watchmaker Alvah Roebuck in 1891. The Edgemere was available in 6 and 18-size with matching dials, with both models being offered in an unusual 12-jewel count - the upper plate was fully jeweled, while the pillar plate was bushed. It's not known exactly when the Model 8/9 debuted, but the Edgemere grade appears fairly early in the run, with the earliest known block of them appearing at SN 785801 in 17-jewel. The Sears catalog debuted in 1893, but it's also not known when they started carrying Seth Thomas watches.
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.
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.