Journal

Watches and Commercial Espionage: Waltham Watch Company

Jun 26, 2024

Watches and Commercial Espionage: Waltham Watch Company
The connection between watches and the military, the dangers of commercial espionage and the influence of firearms manufacturing on the watch industry.

by Aaron Stark

In December 2022 I published Disrupting Time: Industrial combat, espionage, and the downfall of a great American company. I got started on this mission of exploration after inheriting a pocket watch from my great grandfather and wanting to learn more about it and the Waltham Watch Co.

1903 Waltham Watch, which I inherited from my great grandfather — author’s photo

On the surface it tells the never-told story of two Swiss spies who came to America in 1876 and stole the secrets of the American watch industry, used it to transform the Swiss to mechanized watch production, and how the recovering Swiss watch industry overwhelmed their main target — the Waltham Watch Co of Waltham, Massachusetts. However, the story runs much deeper, touching on the dangers of insider threats and espionage to corporations, the role of timekeeping in the development of modern society, and the impacts of strategic choices made by companies and entire industries that impact their survival or failure. Accordingly, the book has found a wide and diverse audience including historians, business professionals, intelligence professionals, watch enthusiasts, and those who follow the impact of industrial espionage in current events.

Read the full article here

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