Early 20th Century Shop
By the end of the 19th century, Americans could purchase a watch or clock easily.
Corner jewelry stores began to pop up in cities and towns throughout the country. By the turn of the century, it was something of an American institution.
The typical jewelry store owner was a respected member of the community. The store was a good source to items like eyeglasses, writing implements, silverware and, of course, jewelry. These stores also stocked a wide variety of timepieces and accessories (i.e. watch fobs, keys and chains).
While jewelry stores offered high-end watches, the general store was a good place to pick up more affordable dollar-type pocket watches. Jewelers and other merchants who sold timekeepers rarely bought their own inventory directly from factories, but instead made their purchases through middlemen know as "jobbers' or via trade catalogs.
The trade catalog was a significant source of clock and watch purchasing during the early to mid 20th century. Retailers relied on these resources to maintain their inventory and keep up on new models and styles that manufactures had to offer. Mail order catalogs were one of the best and sometimes only ways to purchase a watch or clock for people that lived in less-populated areas.