Time Capsule Collection - 1

My First Personalized Watch

I had been trolling eBay for Victor Talking Machine / Victor opera collectibles since 2001, and by 2010 I was running out of things to buy (!!!!!). Somehow I came upon a WW1 Waltham Trench watch, engraved with the name “Harris R. Till”. I started Googling, and found all kinds of information about him – Harris grew up in Des Moines, Iowa; volunteered for the Army in 1917, and was sent to Fort Zachary Taylor, Kentucky for artillery training; and had a successful career as an automotive engineer. I found his photos, lots of newspaper articles about him, and even copy of his 1908 high school yearbook.  So I bought it – and haven’t stopped since.

As of 2019, my collection has about 40 wristwatches, ranging in age from 1914 to 1967.  They are all mechanical watches.  Most of them are men’s watches -- either military or athletes  -- since they tend to have left a historical trail searchable on the Internet, Newspapers.com, or Ancestry.com. There is also a sprinkling of business men, clergy, and even one 1930s gangster.  It is very difficult to find a woman’s watch, since they are usually engraved with only initials or first names. Of the four lady’s watches, one was a WW2 Navy WAVE, one was an athlete, one was a 1930s aviatrix friend of Amelia Earhart, and one was a 9-year old girl’s 1930 Christmas present