Fasoldt was a German immigrant, originally born on February 23,
1819 in or near Dresden, Saxony and migrated to the United
States at approximately 30 years of age. Apparently Charles had
machine and watch making skills prior to migrating to the US
with his family, settling in Rome, NY and setting up shop in the
early 1850s, possibly as early as 1851 where he remained for 10
years. At this time he advertised watch, clock, chronometer
making, jewelry repair, and manufacturing of small medical and
other instruments, as well as general jewelry store articles.
Watches made in Rome, New York include some of his rarest.
After moving to Albany in 1861 he continued to perfect his
watches for a more upscale clientele with his unique
American, well known and distinctive double escape wheel watch
which he called "C. Fasoldt, patent chronometer"; in 1870
he began making his regulators and tower clocks. Ten years later
he produced microscopes and his little known but famous ruling
machine which I believe now is in the Smithsonian Institution.
Family members succeeded him in various watch sales, repairs and
as instrument makers. Generally unknown is the fact that Fasoldt
also made fishing reels.
Best known in this country for his large and distinctive watch
movements (slightly resembling Jules Jurgensen, Copenhagen bar
movements) of which estimated production exceeds something over
300 movements, including 10 size ladies, 14, 18 and 20 sizes
with gilt, nickel, or mixed metal components in Key Wind and
Stem Wind, mostly with his patented double wheel escapement, distinctive patented micro regulator, and (if all original)
cased in large and handsome 18 carat gold hunting cases (a few
are also known in silver) of Albany, N. Y. and other makers.
While many of his movements are easily categorized, he also made
a select few unusual and unique examples, including but not
limited to, button set, pendant set, hidden key set watches, 2
train, off center dials, multi dials, wind indicators, plus a few unique
escapements including a pirouette and others which I shall
identify and photograph eventually in my book on early American
Fasoldt held 2 basic patents for watches:
- Regulator: 4/5/64 (Patent No 42175)
- Improved escapement: 3/7/65 (Patent 46652) from his earlier
2/1/59 patent (#22791)
He also was the first in America to damaskeen (damascene) watch
bridges and plates, use the duo-in-uno hairspring, and use a
safety barrel (to which he applied for a patent but never
received one). He also invented a device on the third wheel of
his watch movements as a safety.
His regulator and shelf clocks are highly prized and of the
finest quality and his extremely rare tower clocks (of which II
believe only 4 are known; the one at Newburgh, New York, being
the only remaining example in its original tower) are of great
importance to historians and collectors. One he made for the
1876 centennial remains at Iowa State University. His clock
movements are even more beautiful than his watch movements.
Charles Fasoldt passed away at 9:00 PM on May 13, 1889.
Collecting Fasoldt products virtually is a collection within
itself and one that requires many years of patience, hunting and
* Major Paul Chamberlain in his famous book "It's About Time"
incorrectly lists Fasoldt's birth and death dates as 1818 and 1898.