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Watches With Car or Motorcycle Logos

Pocket watches with logos from car and motorcycle manufactures show up on a fairly regular basis. Some of these logos are for companies like Ford, Chevy, Harley Davidson, Indian motorcycles, and about a dozen others. Often it is claimed that these watches were made as promotions give a ways, or for outstanding sales, or just sold to customers.

Call me a cynic, but I personally consider all of these watches with various logos to be a later add on unless there is STRONG evidence otherwise. I suspect that at least 95% (19 out of 20) of these watches are not authentic. Actually, I suspect the percentage is higher than that, although certainly not 100%.

While these logs may have been added decades after the watches were first made and sold, people have been adding these logos for many years also. It is possible that a watch with a Packard Car Company logo may have had the logo added in the 1960s or 1970s, so a seller who claims that they "have had it for years" may be telling the truth, but it still doesn't mean that it was original.

As an example, someone enquired about a watch on the NAWCC BBS which had a Harley-Davidson logo on it. The watch dated from around 1908, but Harley-Davidson was only founded in 1901. In 1906-07 they build their first building and sold 150 motorcycles. I sincerely doubt that they were doing these kinds of promotions back then.

The watch was also a very common 7j watch with over 1.5 million of them produced. While it is possible that Harley-Davidson would put special logos on mundane movements, most presentation watches had either solid gold cases or were at least mid-grade if not high-grade watches. It seems more likely to me that a dealer ended up with one of these and in order to make it more interesting than the other 1,499,999 watches in that grade, they added a logo to it.

It is common to see these logo dials selling on places like eBay, and some of them are just plain funny. Another was a Harley-Davidson logo on a cheap junk Elgin that was made in the 1870's. If you believe that one is original, I've got a bridge to sell ya. I've seen the exact same looking logos show up on watches that date from anywhere from the 1880's to the 1940's. Yes, there are quite a few different types of Harley-Davidson logos, but the different types aren't restricted to any particular time period. I saw one watch dealer's website that ALL (100%) of the low grade watches had some type of logo on them, but NONE (0%) of the high grade watches had logos.

Even if you consider these added logos as just "fun enhancements", I certainly wouldn't pay much more for them. They are just so common that you can easily find one without paying more than a $25-$50 premium for them.

Here is a list of all Harley-Davidson logo watches that I have recorded. This list is actually much smaller than I expected to find, but I guess I just mentally merge all the Chevy, Cadillac, Packard, Ford, Indian motorcycle, BSA motorcycle, Buick, Standard Oil, etc., etc., watches all together.

How Can I Tell If This Logo Is Genuine?

If you have questions about a watch that you are buying, you should ask the seller. Most likely, they will give a non-committal or evasive answer about how they "think" it is "probably" original, or they were "told it was such-and-such when they bought it", or they just aren't sure. Often what the seller tells you is completely true, but before I would pay a premium for such a watch, I would want written documentation on the claims.

You usually can't tell from just a description whether the logo is original or not. Even pictures don't always help. Like so many similar cases, only by careful examination by a knowledgeable watch collector will inconsistencies that cast doubt on the authenticity of the logo be discovered. Usually these inconsistencies can't prove that the logo was added later, and not finding any inconsistencies can't prove that it is genuine.

While I'm not an expert, I believe the information on this page is correct. Please send suggestions and corrections to the webmaster.
This web site runs on 100% Open Source Software. This web page was last changed on 10/08/2002 at 16:00:03.