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Retirement Watch

The Tinonee Museum Collection contains a “seaside” Waltham pocket watch in a gold hunter case.

For many years, watches were given on retirement to recognize many years of service.

This pocket watch is significant as it was a gift of appreciation to a local midwife on her retirement.

Alice Sawyer provided many years of service to the community in and around Tinonee as a midwife. Mrs Sawyer also created her own “hospital” which was licensed to have several emergency and ward beds.

The watch was manufactured by Waltham Watch Company which commenced operations in 1850. The vision of Waltham was to form a watch company that could produce high quality watches at a lower cost using interchangeable parts.

Waltham made interchangeable parts possible by building their own specialized machines designed for that purpose.

Waltham also redesigned their factories to accelerate production and lower production costs.

Every watch produced at Waltham was engraved with its own individual serial number. The serial number can be used to estimate the date of production.

Corporate reorganization saw Waltham change its name on numerous occasions since it was first founded.

Waltham’s high quality watches have been made for companies as prominent as the Canadian Pacific Railway.

The biography of Abraham Lincoln by  Carl Sandburg, refers to President Lincoln being presented, after his Gettysburg address, a size 18, 11 jewel, Waltham model 1857 “William Ellery” key wind watch in a silver hunter case. The watch given to President Lincoln would have been made around January 1863.

The Waltham “seaside” model gold pocket watch in a gold hunter case reflects the style of watches that were popular amongst women in the 19th century.