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Mart & Highlights
Marion: A History of the United States Watch Company
|by William Muir and Bernard Kraus
(NAWCC Special Publication No. 1, 1985).
8-1/2" x 11" hardcover, 216 pages, and 255 photos.
The authors provide a three-page chronology of the major events in the lives of Frederick A. Giles, his family and associates, and the Giles, Wales & Co. (a wholesale jewelry-importing business), which was the forerunner of the United States Watch Company in Marion, NJ.
Despite its founding in 1861 in New York City (during the Civil War and after the panic of 1857), the Giles, Wales & Co. was by 1863 able to convert its profits into additional working capital. The jewelry industry in New York City was expanding. Frederick made his first trip to Europe to make a deal in which his company would be the largest importer of the highest grade of Swiss watches. In 1865 the company entered the watch-manufacturing industry.
Eventually, the company was moved to New Jersey to a tract of land, which he called Marion after his wife. A series of partnerships failed, and Frederick’s health was declining. The bank foreclosed on the property in 1877, and Frederick died of tuberculosis in 1879. The factory was torn down in 1925.