The Waterbury Clock Co., based in Waterbury, Connecticut, was an eminent American maker of household clocks beginning in 1857. Starting in 1890, they also made pocketwatches, and were later the makers of the first Mickey Mouse watch. The company suffered in the Great Depression, but survived, and is now the Timex Corp. Identifying an original Waterbury clock depends on its age, style and other characteristics.
Waterbury was a large enough manufacturer that it marked all its clocks with its company name. This would be “The Waterbury Clock Co.” and may be found either printed or engraved, often on the dial face. Look in the center or around the edge; it may be obscured by decorations. It may also be on a paper label inside the clock case or on the back of shelf or wall clocks.
Waterbury made hundreds of styles of clocks, based on the interior decorating fashions current each year, and entire books are published on the identification of each model. Mantel and desk clocks were particularly popular, as were standing and wall clocks. They are often made of walnut or oak, and may reflect styles such as Art Nouveau, Mission, Art Deco or Victorian revival. See the Resources section for links to Waterbury clock photos that may help you identify your clock, and to a specific Waterbury identification guidebook.
Most Waterbury clocks have wood cases and their faces are marked in Roman numerals. A smaller number of Waterbury clocks were finished in black, and an even smaller number in white. Other uncommon finishes include colored porcelains and enamels. Waterbury clock movements vary, and sometimes may be stamped or engraved with the maker’s name. They may also be stamped with the clock’s manufacture date, underneath Waterbury’s patent marking. (The patent marking is a # followed by a number.) Waterbury had rounded corners to its clock movements, which were often made of brass or brass-plated steel.
Kim Hoyum is a Michigan-based freelance writer. She has been a proofreader, writer, reporter and editor at monthly, weekly and daily publications for five years. She has a Bachelor of Science in writing and minor in journalism from Northern Michigan University.