Once upon a time in the rust belt …
In 1902, the Columbus Watch Company was purchased by three Studebaker Brothers — George, Clement, Jr. and J. M. They were the sons of Clement Studebaker, one of the founders of the Studebaker wagon (and later automobile) company.
The company (and 145 workers) was moved to South Bend, Indiana and the name changed to the South Bend Watch Company.
They started serial numbering at 380,501 and stopped around 1,250,000.
After building a successful following, the South Bend Watch Company fell victim to the stock market crash. The company had been selling watches on credit and found itself with more delinquent accounts than it could handle.
On November 27, 1929, the plant was closed. Employees were told it would remain closed until January 1, 1930. But the plant never reopened.
If you want to learn more, we'd highly recommend watching this presentation by Bill Stockton, a good friend of ours (who we've dubbed our chief historian).