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In James Dowling and Jeffrey Hess outstanding book on Rolex, 'The Best of Times' there were two things that always stood out to me, the first and by far most important, that in a book dedicated 'only' to Rolex, with pictures 'only' of Rolex timepieces, there is (quite correctly) two pages dedicated to John Harwood, the inventor of the first automatic wristwatch.

Dowling and Hess realized that no book that discusses automatics could be complete without the mention and pictures of a 'Harwood' - the Genesis of all future automatics. Hence in a book dedicated to Rolex, and with thousands of pictures of Rolex timepieces, we have both pictures and explanation of John Harwood's Automatic watch.

The second and possible less as important is Chapter 21 - headed ODDITIES - W.S.H. - Weird Stuff Happens. We all know that Rolex NEVER made a 'bumper' automatic, yet on page 337 we see one.
And I personally own one too - Yes a Rolex with 'bumper' movement.
So, when I found below watch, I again realized W.S.H.

Here we see pictures of a HARWOOD - nothing unusual to that, BUT this has a crown, to set the hands on LHS, instead of the customary Harwood bezel design.
We know well that John Harwood was adamant against any form of external crown. Indeed on the prototype timepiece he took to Fortis in 1924 it had NO way of adjusting the hands at all. He added that later. He realized that dust and moisture enter a watch via the winding/hand setting crown and therefore made the redundancy of that a major part of his design.

Also interestingly it has the USA patent of Oct 1926, therefore it can not be 'some' early prototype!

John Harwood took out four patents, the SWISS patent (No 106583) - applied 16 October 1923 and granted 1st September 1924. UK patent (No.214847) - applied 7 July 1923.
A French patent ( No 580247) specifically for Blancpain - applied 17th April 1924 and granted 26 Aug 1924. This watch had the bezel on the back to change the hands.

And, finally the US patent was filed Oct 8 1923 and granted March 9, 1926; No 1,576,120.
I have copies of all 4 patents. None EVER show an external crown.

This watch is no fake. It is 100% correct in every way. The movement is by A. Schild, 2 adj, 15J marked 'Harwood Self Winding Watch Co.' with correct USA patent 1576120.
Only this crown and case is wrong. And why the crown on LHS? That needed a special dial with the automatic/hand change mode marker now at '9' (normally at 6).
The crown does not pull in/out, turning it either way disengages the automatic winding to set hands, exactly as the 'bezel' operates on all other known Harwood's.

So lets start with a picture of an original standard Harwood.
Note the bezel to knurled bezel used to change the hands, and the mode marker at '6'


First the face - note the crown at '9'


Now the standard movement - note at '12' the INTERNAL crown which engages to the bezel to change the hands.
(Harwood could have put that at any position, but chose '12'. It is a standard hunter style movement)




Now some pictured of The Harwood -W.S.H.
First the face - note the EXTERNAL crown and mode indicator at '9'.



Here without the crystal - that dial is 100% original 1930


The Movement - Note that INTERNAL crown has gone, moved to outside? Everything else is 100% correct.




And The inside screw case - Made in USA? Never seen that before on a Harwood:


Anyone seen that case mark before <l/d>??

Conclusion:
My feeling is that the US, arm of Harwood's distribution company maybe after Harwood went bust in 1933, decided to take a standard 'Harwood' timepiece and fit it in a two piece waterproof case. We can see that unlike all other Harwoods with pop off back, this has a screw back.
Also unlike any other Harwood I have seen the dial is marked 'waterproof'
The inside of case is marked l/d (in a circle) Watch Case Company - Stainless Back- Patent Pending - Made in USA.
This is a genuine Harwood oddity, we know thanks to Todd Arnold that 4 of these samples exist. My guess that is all.


Maybe this is just another 'Dowling - Weird Things Happen'

Acknowledgements:
Todd Arnold - Who donated me this watch
M Hardy- Mentor and Horologist who gave me a passion for Horology and Harwood.
Dowling and Hess - The Best of Times

Regards
Adam
 
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