My Cart

Close

The 10 Best Ingersoll Watches - A Buyers Guide

Posted on October 23 2020

Ingersoll is a well-known watch brand that has been continuously producing watches since the late 1880s. Their history is closely associated with Timex and British watchmakers Smiths. It is a story of innovation, mass-production and ground-breaking licencing deals.

In this post I want to bring you up to date, showing the best watches that the brand has to offer now. The list has a mixture of mechanical and quartz pieces, with both modern designs and heritage models. But first, let’s briefly run through the brand’s backstory for some context.

The History of Ingersoll Watches


The story of the brand isn’t straightforward. It begins with the founding of R H Ingersoll & Bro in 1880s New York. Initially running a mail-order business for cheap products, the Ingersoll brothers then had Waterbury Watch Company produce watches for them. The first of these were sold in 1892, the year referenced as the creation of the Ingersoll brand.

The brothers were ambitious and innovative and, with a little help from Henry Ford, began to standardise and increase the efficiency of watch production. The mission was to create cheap watches to be sold directly to the public.

By 1896 they had released their ‘dollar watch’ - the first truly affordable watch. By the early 1900s the watches were being produced in their millions. It was around this time that Ingersoll opened a store in England and began producing watches in the UK through a subsidiary.

 



Ingersoll and Timex


In 1908 Ingersoll acquired the Trenton Watch Company - a name you will still see the brand reference. Two years later President Roosevelt was famously described as ‘the man from the country where Ingersoll watches are made’. The company was very successful at this point and also bought the New England Watch Company in Waterbury.

Then World War I began.

Initially, Ingersoll did well, designing a luminous watch - The Radiolite - that was worn by soldiers in war. This followed the earlier release of the successful Reliance model. However, a recession followed the end of hostilities and Ingersoll went into bankruptcy.

In 1922 Ingersoll was purchased by the Waterbury Clock Company and the British arm of the business was sold to its board of directors in 1930.

In 1944 the Waterbury Clock Company changed its name to the United States Time Corporation. This is the company that began using the name Timex shortly after. They also continued producing Ingersoll branded watches.

In Britain, the independent Ingersoll Ltd, worked with Smiths and Armstrong Vickers to produce watches branded as either Smiths or Ingersoll. This continued to keep the Ingersoll name active in Britain with the arrangement lasting until nearly 1970.

As noted, things get a little complicated. In the United States, the renamed company Ingersoll-Waterbury was producing the world-famous Mickey Mouse watches. These sold in their millions, continuing to keep the Ingersoll brand in the public eye there.

Ingersoll Watches Now - Are they Good?


Ingersoll was officially relaunched in 2016, drawing heavily on its watchmaking heritage. There’s a strong emphasis on automatic watches in the current range - particularly models that display the watches workings. That’s not normally something that I’m a fan of, so I’ve mostly stayed away from those collections.

The watches appear to be well-made and use either Japanese or Chinese movements. The company is now owned by Zeon Watches, a British subsidiary of the Hong Kong-based company Herald Group.

What I have done here, is to highlight what I believe are the best models that the brand produces. For me, that has tended to be the designs that draw on the companies history and back catalogue. The models that are classically styled and often vintage in inspiration.

The Ten Best Ingersoll Watches

 

Ingersoll Reliance Automatic Watch I05501

 

The Reliance is a great place to start with Ingersoll. The name was previously used on a vintage model, and with it’s Rolex aesthetic, this watch is very much a throwback. This style of watch - hinting at the Rolex Explorer tool watch look and also the smarter Datejust style - really works for me.

At 40mm, it’s also exactly the correct size for a modern watch. This black and gold variation works well and has nice applied indices and a small, neat date window.

Here's mine.



It’s powered by a reliable Japanese Miyota movement, with a signed rotor. This can be viewed through the exhibition case back. This is a great watch, particularly if like me, you’re always on the lookout for another affordable Rolex Explorer I alternative.

It comes in a wooden box which is a nice touch, although the lack of a signed crown is a bit of a shame. Overall though, I have this as my number one Ingersoll watch.

Ingersoll Reliance I05501

  • 40mm Diameter
  • 14mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic Movement
  • Mineral Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance


Ingersoll Trenton Ltd Ed Watch T07601

 

This limited edition piece is a beautiful Swiss-made retro design. Although quartz rather than mechanical, it’s still a very authentic watch. At first glance, it really looks like an early diver from the era of the original Fifty-Fathoms and others.

There’s more going on than with the Reliance, but it is still quite an understated design. Like the previous watch, the use of gold on the hands and indices adds a little flair - especially when contrasting with the deep blue. It really works well.

The domed mineral crystal and font style both reinforce the vintage feel, and the dial text notes that the watch uses Ingersoll’s lume - Radiolite.

At 43mm it has been updated for modern tastes and this time the crown is signed - there’s also the company name engraved on the case edge and the Trenton Watch Company logo on the case back. It is completed by the addition of a Horween leather strap.

Ingersoll Trenton Ltd Ed T07601

  • 43mm Diameter
  • 11mm Thick
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss ETA Quartz Movement
  • Mineral Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance


 

 

Ingersoll The Regent Watch I00202

 

The Regent is a classically styled dress watch, with one big design point. The case is 47mm. With the 24mm strap that makes for a big watch.

It’s 15mm thick and the polished stainless steel case houses an automatic movement. The design is quite a familiar one, it reminds me of the kind of watch released by Tissot or Victorinox. It’s a well-tried, conservative design. Well, it would be if it wasn’t 47mm.

That does make for a unique watch, but it does also mean that as much as you may like the design - the size may be a deal-breaker. If not, it’s certainly worth a closer look because it is an attractive watch. There are the two dial sections - the inner with a sunburst effect - and the slim chapter ring that isn’t obvious at first.

It has a window displaying both the day and the date, and like the rest of the watch, the only colours used are black and silver.

Ingersoll The Regent I00202

  • 47mm Diameter
  • 15mm Thick
  • 24mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Automatic Movement
  • Mineral Crystal
  • 50M Water Resistance


 

Ingersoll The Scovill Watch I05005

 

This watch ticks a lot of boxes for me. It’s a vintage-style diver’s watch, with a Japanese Miyota automatic movement. And it’s very affordable.

There’s a red bezel version, that with the gold accents reminds me of a Tudor Heritage Black Bay. But of the variations, I prefer this model with the black bezel and stainless steel bracelet. There’s nothing ground-breaking here. It’s just a modernised take on a vintage design. I particularly like the slim bezel and small date window.

The domed crystal and exhibition back also both work for me, and it's nice that the gold hands and indices are relatively simple. The Ingersoll logo, in a script font, adds a final vintage touch. The price, usually between £200-£300, seems fair.

Ingersoll The Scovill I05005

  • 43mm Diameter
  • 15mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Miyota Automatic Movement
  • Mineral Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance


 

Ingersoll Houston Watch IN2816WH

 

The Houston is quite a departure from the previous models that I’ve highlighted. It’s clearly a Bauhaus inspired piece, and interestingly, it does state on the dial that the watch is German designed.

Ingersoll manages to keep the design rather minimal, consistent with the Bauhaus ethos, despite the three sub-dials. It’s a combination of the plain colouring and small neat numerals that achieve this.

At 44mm it’s a little larger than some other Bauhaus designs, but at 10mm it’s reasonably thin. It’s noted on the exhibition back that this is a limited edition model and automatic movement you can see is presumably Chinese. It does have a rotor signed with the Ingersoll logo.

This is a more affordable competitor to some of the German brands currently producing mechanical Bauhaus watches.

Ingersoll Houston IN2816WH

  • 44mm Diameter
  • 10mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Automatic Movement
  • Mineral Crystal
  • 30M Water Resistance

 

Ingersoll The Bateman Watch I01802

 

The Bateman is another smart automatic watch.
Again, with an aesthetic that looks to have been mined from Ingersoll’s own back catalogue. It’s reminiscent of a classic military watch, albeit with a larger, modern 45mm case. It is actually quite like the Barbour Bywell that I featured here.

Overall, this is a style of watch that I find satisfying. There’s a mixture of military and field watch design points that work well for an informal piece. With the chunky case, mineral crystal and 100M water resistance, it should be a robust watch. It’s certainly a substantial one.

Ingersoll The Bateman I01802

  • 45mm Diameter
  • 16mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Automatic Movement
  • Mineral Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance


 

 

Ingersoll The New Haven Watch I00501

 

The next model is a very affordable dress watch. A model that has a restrained, conservative appearance. Crucially, the 40mm case is a full 7mm smaller than the Regent, the other dress watch on this list. Of the two, I’d be much more comfortable wearing this mid-sized design.

The round case, with slim lugs is a familiar style. At the risk of comparing every watch here with something else, this is a look you’ll have seen elsewhere. Unsurprisingly, given the two companies history, this reminds me of a Timex Marlin. Both watches are neat, minimal and timeless.

The Marlin is also 40mm and I’d suggest that this is the ideal size for a modern dress watch. The design is clean, and the single numeral at 12 o’clock is a good choice. As with the other Ingersoll automatics, there’s an exhibition case back.

The real leather strap features a deployment clasp.

Ingersoll The New Haven I00501

  • 40mm Diameter
  • 14mm Thick
  • 21mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Automatic Movement
  • Mineral Crystal
  • 50M Water Resistance


 

 

Ingersoll The Scovill Watch I06202

 

This watch is essentially the Chronograph version of the Scovill already featured. It has the same size case and similar design points. The hands, indices and the like are all the same.

Obviously where they differ are the Chronograph elements. Firstly, this is quartz-powered, where the diver’s watch has a Japanese automatic movement. The dial incorporates the three chronograph dials well, and Ingersoll has opted to keep them the same colour as the rest of the dial. The dials don’t cut through any markers, as I prefer, and the date window has been elegantly placed at 4 o’clock.

These features, along with chronograph pushers and leather strap, give it a substantially different look to the previous version. It’s quite a rugged-looking watch that isn’t sporty the way that many chronographs are.

This looks and feels more like a tool watch.

Ingersoll The Scovill I06202

  • 43mm Diameter
  • 16mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Quartz Movement
  • Mineral Crystal
  • 50M Water Resistance

 

Ingersoll The New Orleans Watch I07802

 

As I previously mentioned, the current Ingersoll range is strong on skeleton and cut-away designs. It’s not a style that I easily warm to - it feels just a little too modern and fashionable. But it’s only fair that I include a couple of watches with this styling.

The New Orleans is a tasteful watch that successfully incorporates the cut-away, or beating-heart, feature. Essentially, this displays the internal workings of the watch - in this case, displaying the balance wheel.

Along with this, there is also a Power Reserve indicator. So you can see the automatic movement working and also how much power it has left. It’s a lot to fit onto the dial of one watch, but Ingersoll manages to carry it off.

 



The dial is attractive, with the numbers and indices raised slightly by a ring on the dial. In addition, in true Super Compressor style, there’s a rotating inner bezel that is controlled by the extra crown at 2 o’clock.

All in all, I like it.

Ingersoll The New Orleans I07802

  • 47mm Diameter
  • 16.5mm Thick
  • 24mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Automatic Movement
  • Mineral Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance


 

 

Ingersoll The Jazz Watch I07701

 

I’ve saved the most elaborate until the end. This is a watch that Liberace may have found a little too much.

It’s a bold design that takes the Skeleton concept and adds more flair and intricacy. It’s not quite at the point of being impenetrable, but it’s close. That is also the appeal. You don’t look at this watch once, see all that it offers, and then move on. I feel compelled to keep looking. To make sense of it all.

By keeping the colours simple, and delightful use of curves and circles, the impression is that everything on the watch is intertwined. And with this being a mechanical watch, it is. You can see how each element moves in conjunction with those around it.

Like a couple of the watches featured here, this isn’t for everyone. But if you enjoy this style, then you’ll be hard pushed to find better at this price-point.

Ingersoll The Jazz I07701

  • 42mm Diameter
  • 15.5mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Automatic Movement
  • Mineral Crystal


Conclusion


Although no longer American owned, Ingersoll is a brand that was a household name for years. They have an interesting history, bound up with Timex, Smiths and others.

Their current range is an eclectic mix of heritage models, tools watches, divers and fashion pieces. They can be quartz or mechanical. Powered by Japanese or Chinese movements. I’ve highlighted my personal favourites and I’d urge you to take a few minutes to look at each a little closer. You may want to then explore the full range.

Remember, Ingersoll are one of many affordable brands. I’d also point you in the direction of Timex, Seiko, Rotary and others.

Have I missed any great Ingersoll watches from my list?

If so, let me know in the comments.

Related Posts

The 8 Best Affordable White Dial Dive Watches
The 8 Best Affordable White Dial Dive Watches
  A white dial isn’t an obvious choice for a dive watch. As a functional tool, a dive watch should be highly legible....
Read More
The 9 Best Citizen Chronographs - A Buyers Guide
The 9 Best Citizen Chronographs - A Buyers Guide
  Citizen is one of the giants of the watch industry. This Japanese manufacturer markets its own comprehensive range...
Read More
The 9 Best Watches with Red Bezels and Black Dials - Buyers Guide
The 9 Best Watches with Red Bezels and Black Dials - Buyers Guide
  Watches with red bezels and black dials aren’t a particularly common sight. Tudor released the popular Heritage Bla...
Read More
The 7 Best Certina Watches - A Buyers Guide
The 7 Best Certina Watches - A Buyers Guide
  Certina is a Swiss watch brand based in the historic watchmaking city of Le Locle. Often described as an entry-leve...
Read More
The 5 Best Corgeut Homage Watches (Omega, Blancpain & Tudor)
The 5 Best Corgeut Homage Watches (Omega, Blancpain & Tudor)
  Corgeut is a Chinese watch brand. They specialise in producing watches that are homages to popular luxury watches. ...
Read More
Filippo Loreti - Ascari Fashion Watch Review
Filippo Loreti - Ascari Fashion Watch Review
  Ascari Indigo Watch Review   The Filippo Loreti Ascari is a mid-priced fashion watch. It was inspired by Alberto As...
Read More

0 comments

Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing