In April 2020, I published Watch, a project that grew too big. I’ve here cut the number of photos, and re-edited them to make the project more viewable. I’ve long wanted to do this because the subject is of such great historical importance. I also have a personal interest; as a child, I was the proud owner of a Waltham pocket watch, bought for me by my father, who had hoped it would make me more punctual.
The Waltham Watch Company pioneered the mass-production of watches and clocks. Using machine tools designed in-house, the company made parts of such great precision that they were interchangeable. That, in turn, made mass production possible. According to Wikipedia, between its founding in 1850 and its final closing in 1957, the company produced some "40 million watches, clocks, speedometers, compasses, time fuses, and other precision instruments." At its peak, it produced 2700 watches a day with 3200 employees.
The present buildings survive from the period 1879–1913, when steam had replaced water-power. Now repurposed to loft apartments, the complex was listed in 1989 on the National Register of Historic Places. It is often cited as a fine example of industrial Romanesque architecture, with its towers, turrets, finials, roof treatments, and segmented-arch window openings. The complex is protected under the American Waltham Watch Company Historic District.