"Tip Top"

Maker: New Haven Clock Co., New Haven, CT
Built: c. 1930

This is an example of what were called "dollar watches" -- mass-produced watches with non-jeweled, unadjusted movements made of stamped parts. These were the people's timekeepers. As you can see from the catalog page, this model sold for $2.74 in 1929. I expect, however, that this one might have been a little less expensive. But to me, this watch is priceless: It was given to my father during the Great Depression in 1931 on the occasion of his bar mitzvah.

"Mentor Radium"

Maker: Ansonia Clock Co., New York, NY
Built: c. 1925

Ansonia entered the dollar watch game in an effort to overcome its sagging revenue. The dial on this watch features characters that glowed using actual radium -- this was before the effects of radiation were known. Many dial painters died of radiation illnesses from ingesting radium. The common practice was to bring their brushes to a point using their lips! Can you imagine? Once they figured it out, glow-in-the-dark dials were made using phosphorescent paint instead of radioactive material.

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