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The American Leader

Model 92 movements marked "The American Leader" are private label watches made for N Gamse of New York.  To date, any of these movements that have been reported are from runs listed in the Gray Book as "Special", "Cres. St.", "No. 845", and "Ass't Spec.".    It could be considered one of the more popular and well known Model 92 private labels.  Click here to see a breakdown of the runs from which Gamse movements have been reported.

If you have explored the tables, you will see that it is impossible to make any kind of guess as to how many Gamse movements were made by Waltham at least until many more movements have been reported.  Suffice to say, it should be considered a very collectible watch.

The following appears courtesy of Mike LaForest, a collector of Gamse movements made by Waltham and the other American manufacturers.  Below the text are two photos of movements that belong to Mike, including on of the first ones made, a Gamse movement which does not carry the "The American Leader" marking.  Many thanks to Mike for his contribution.

Nicholas Gamse was a New York City jeweler doing business in the prestigious Maiden Lane District in Manhattan.   He contracted 11 different private label watches with Illinois, and 2 different P.L. watches each with Elgin, and Waltham. We concern ourselves here with the Model 1892, 21 ruby jewel, 5 position, Waltham movement which he boastfully called, “The American Leader”. Pictured is a nice example of this movement. Its serial number, 12652001, suggests a 1903 manufacture date.  

A second Gamse Model 1892 example is also shown. Its serial number is 7013016 dating its manufacture to about 1894.  This movement is from the first run of Model 1892 private label movements, and is the earliest known date for any N. Gamse  P.L. watch – Waltham or otherwise. The date suggests the time when he began contracting private label watches. Although this movement is not labeled, “The American Leader”, Gamse only contracted for one Model 1892 P.L. format.

 In addition to marked plates, Gamse had identifying dials made for his watches. The dials had Gamse's name and his "pet name" for the movement style, and usually sported a pair of gold, Louis XIV hands. The movements were often two tone. Customers would choose a case of their liking. He knew how to grab the buyers eye.

Photos appear courtesy Mike LaForest