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A Horological Review

From The American Horologist magazine, July, 1944

A Horological Review


It appears that some safeguard must be provided for the American public and American watch manufacturer against the flood of cheap, unreliable, unrepairable time pieces that are coming and will continue to come into the United States, the only cash market the world will have when the present war ends. Some agreement should be reached to eliminate America as the dumping ground for the country that produces immense quantities of the low grade, unrepairable imitation time pieces. Millions of these are now in trade channels and many hundred thousands have been sold to our armed forces. Several hundred thousand more were sold as waterproof, shockproof, and non-magnetic at exceedingly high prices, an unconscionable event and serious indictment of a section of American retail business.

We, therefore, beseech you in high esteem to search- your brave judgement for prompt adequate action.

The Horological Advisory Council have recommended and adopted the following proposals and are searching for a means of bringing them into effect on that segment of importation requiring regulation-the importation of watches, clocks, chronometers, chronographs or other time devices.

These proposals are based upon a premise: "The time piece is prime factor in every field of human endeavor." This being the case every watch imported to this country, either as a complete mechanism or to be assembled in this country should meet with requirement standards for dependable watches. Those watches smaller than 8 3/4 Lignes should be a jewelry item-not a dependable time piece. Those watches 8 8/4 Ligne and larger should be dependable time pieces.

We therefore propose that all watches 8 3/4 Ligne and larger imported to the United States shall upon receipt by the customs office be sent to the Horological Laboratory, Time Division, National Bureau of Standards, Washington, D. C. for test.

Those rating within limits of requirement standards shall receive seal .of approval to remain attached to the watch till its final sale, and shall be returned to the customs office subject to release for distribution and sale.

Those watches not rating within limits of requirement standards, customs, office shall order such watches returned to point of origin, or the watches may be released to importer for sale and distribution only as jewelry items. For every such model watch or time piece imported to the United States there shall be included in the import of watches an adequate supply of replacement or repair parts for such model watches as are in the shipment. 

It is therefore proposed that rating within requirement standard, and an adequate supply of replacement or repair parts for each model watch imported shall be deemed as evidence of admissibility. That every model watch imported into the United States shall have printed bulletins or catalogues showing size, shape, model, and number of all replacement parts. That such printed bulletins or catalogues shall be adequate for distribution with replacement parts to all supply houses dealing in replacement parts at the same time watches clocks or other timing devices are offered for sale or distribution in the United States.

These proposals are a fair and equitable· basis for a continued importation of watches, clocks, chonometers, chronographs, and/or other timing devices. They are fair to the exporter, importer, the American public, and our American watch factories. The American watch manufacturers have sacrificed the entire war period and the sale of their time pieces to the imported time pieces. It is high time the American manufacturer of watches was given a little elbow room in his own market, among his own people, for the sale of his product-the world's finest time pieces. These proposals are of _ the essence that a time piece carrying the laboratory rating seal shall come to have the same value to the time piece as sterling does to silver.

R. W. Applegate, Washington, D.C., Special Representative, United Horological Association of America.


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