As the weather turns colder, as we look hopefully towards a COVID-free future, many of us turn to the past for solace. We take comfort in the continuity of history, knowing that we’ve come through tough times before, both individually and as a nation.
American pocket watches connect us with our collective history. For me, and maybe you, they hearken back to a time of optimism, grit and ingenuity, when the United States led the world in the mass production of quality timepieces.
But it’s not about wallowing in misty-eyed nostalgia. Part of the pleasure of owning a fully functional and beautifully preserved American pocket watch comes from knowing that it was born in times of trouble and strife, just like ours.
This 14k gold Elgin offers a direct link to the night of February 18, 1898, when the USS Maine blew up in Havana harbor, killing 260 sailors. Despite compelling evidence that a coal bunker explosion sunk the Maine, “yellow journalists” blamed a mine laid by Cuba’s Spanish rulers. The cry “Remember the Maine! To hell with Spain!” marked the start of the Spanish American war.
Within three months, the United States defeated the Spanish on land and sea. On December 12, 1898, the Treaty of Paris granted the United States its first overseas empire, including Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines. Two years later, Elgin celebrated America’s growing global power by embellishing a Grade 152 pocket watch with a depiction of the ill-fated Maine.
The Maine sets sail on a timepiece created by an American watchmaker at the height of its mechanical and artistic powers. The movement’s exquisite damascening and cursive typeface show typical turn of the century exuberance. The solid 14k gold hunter case’s crisp engine-turned engraving and tight hinges reflect the watchmaker’s mastery of the industrial arts. The dustcover’s elegant presentation script ties the Elgin to its original owner. To a life led during a time of enormous upheaval and, as always, hope for the future.
If you’re looking for a pocket watch recalling a crucial event in American history, a watch that tells a story of a world on the cusp of enormous political change, this Elgin Grade 152 is available for your immediate consideration. In any case, stay safe. And remember Leo Tolstoy’s words: the two most powerful warriors are patience and time.