Pocket Watches | The Details

Rodania 17 Jewel Pocket Watch c. 1950’s

I personally love the current wave of menswear. Real honest to goodness manly stuff- the clothes and all the extras that go along with being a guy. Tweeds and non-Satin Ties, Worn-in Boots and Belts, Bags and Hats (with brims), Waistcoats and Waxed Canvas Jackets, Beers and Bourbon (ok, they’re not fashion- but, oh so important, indeed).  None of these items are new or had ever actually gone away, but thanks to some well-curated collections, they are easier to find.

As with all things, what we wear is the sum of the parts; and the devil is truly in the details- a quality pen, a well-made wallet or billfold, a solid and dependable watch. These are the items that go with us no matter what we’re wearing or what we’re doing.

Sitting in both my great grandfather’s pockets and mine consecutively over the past 50+ years, the Rodania’s backside is showing a little wear. Competing for space with keys and coins over that many years has left some battle scars.

My great grandfather Teage Howard, was a well-dressed man. Classic black suit and tie with a black hat perfectly at rest atop his silver-haired head. My memories of him are part visual and part tactile. The visual memories are of me sitting on his lap or walking with him down the streets of Chapel Hill, North Carolina or playing with him on the porch or in his sitting room. The memories that have stayed with me the strongest though are of the littlest things, like these pocket watches. Little boys love trinkets and treasures. The weight and sturdiness of the watches, the mechanical element to them and the fact they were his really made them intriguing to me as a child. Now as an adult, these are part of a small handful of objects that I hold most precious. I am forever thankful to my family for saving them and entrusting me with their care during my life.

Some clothing and shoes are made to last for more than one lifetime (a good friend of mine actually wears a beautiful pair of  his grandfather’s Red Wing boots, passed along to him years ago), but these are not the norm. It’s often the furnishings of a man’s wardrobe that are able to make the journey to the next generations, so it makes sense to buy them and treat them with this in mind.

A Hampton Watch Co. piece that my great grandfather carried during the early 1900’s. Still ticking today, but requires a little more care than the above Rodania as it will loose a couple minutes during the course of the week. Not bad though considering its been working for over 100 years.

Mr. Teage Howard

A beautiful cased piece from the 1800’s with a flip front cover to expose the inner watch face (a gift from my wife and also a part of that small handful mentioned above).

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  5 comments for “Pocket Watches | The Details

  1. April 24, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    The Hampden is very nice. The second watch which is a key wind, key set by actually turning the hands with the winding key. The strange thing about the second watch in the Hunter, or hunting case is that the maker did not sign the dial. To satisfy and old mans curiosity would you please open up the back of the case and send me the details written on the MOVEMENT only. If I had the same information on the Hampden (the movement number) I could tell you much more: like the date of manufacture, etc, etc..
    I am a repairman of the antique pocket watches and could probably get that Hampden within a few seconds a week.
    Thanks in advance,
    Robert Steuber
    The Watch man

  2. September 14, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Thanks Dad. I love hearing more about him. My generation and younger ones have such a “rose-colored glasses” view of the 1960’s with all the music, clothes and even the demonstrations. Not being there as an adult makes it difficult to fully appreciate how volatile it really was.

  3. John Payne
    September 14, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    I will never forget the many months when I was an employee with your great grandfather as he ably performed his duties as Clerk of the Recorder’s Court of Chapel Hill, N.C. Together, we went through the heartfelt emotions and mass confusion of this college town when it first experienced the turmoil of integration in the early 1960s. Teague was always calm and thinking clearly as his small office and limited staff had to deal with hundreds of arrest warrents and various other issues from the demonstrations. He always performed his job with integrity and with fairness to all those with whom he was involved. With limited but carefully-chosen words, he knew what had to be done and what had to be said to diffuse the emotions that often took over the thought process of so many angry individuals during those difficult times.

  4. September 14, 2010 at 10:05 am

    I never thought of it that way. It’s interesting how the little things bind the generations together.

  5. Judy
    September 14, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Your great grandfather would be especially happy knowing you think of him when you check the time.

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