watch episode


Hey kids, what’s your favorite way to measure time – sundials, hourglasses, and atomic clocks? Ever think about pocket watches? These little devices help people keep track of time while on the go. However, when they were first invented, pocket watches were hand-made and expensive. Only rich people could afford them. This is where one man and the principles of Austrian economics stepped in and changed everything.

Enter Aaron Lufkin Dennison – a watchmaker from Boston who had an eye for innovation. He noticed that the industrial revolution was mass producing all sorts of things but not watches. He wondered, “Why not watches?!”

Dennison had a solution to the problem. Build a factory and invent specialized equipment that allowed for an assembly-line process to watchmaking. This made it possible to produce a lot of watches for cheap, making them affordable to everyone.

This simple observation of Dennison’s had a huge impact on society, and it’s a great example of the principles of Austrian economics at work. Let’s take a closer look.

Who is Aaron Lufkin Dennison?

Aaron Lufkin Dennison was born in Freeport, Maine in 1812. He was a watchmaker who eventually moved to Boston and became known for his expertise in the field. In 1849, Dennison traveled to Europe to study the watchmaking industry and learn more about the craft.

When Dennison returned to Boston, he noticed that the industrial revolution was mass producing all sorts of things – from textiles to firearms – but not watches. He saw an opportunity to change that and create affordable watches for the masses.

He decided to build a factory and invent specialized equipment that allowed for an assembly line process of watchmaking. This method made it possible to produce a large quantity of watches quickly and inexpensively but still with the quality people expected. In 1854, Dennison founded the Waltham Watch Company with fellow watchmakers Edward Howard and David Davis. The company’s goal was to produce high-quality watches that were affordable for the average person.

The Role of Aaron Lufkin Dennison in Austrian Economics

Austrian economics is a school of economic thought that emphasizes the importance of individual liberty and economic freedom. It is also concerned with the study of economic value and how it is determined.

Aaron Lufkin Dennison’s contributions to the world of watchmaking are a perfect example of the principles of Austrian economics at work. By using specialized equipment and an assembly line process, he was able to produce high-quality watches that were affordable for the average person. This not only made watches more accessible to the masses, but it also created a completely new market for them.

In Austrian economic theory, economic value is not determined by the cost of production or the amount of labor that went into making a product. Instead, economic value is subjective and is determined by what the individual consumer wants to buy. In other words, something is valuable if people are willing to pay for it.

Dennison’s mass produced watches were a perfect example of this. Before his factory, pocket watches were expensive and only affordable for the wealthy making the market for watches very small. However, when Dennison’s watches became available, they were affordable for everyone, creating a new larger market for watches.

Dennison’s contributions to the world of watchmaking not only revolutionized the industry but also demonstrate the principles of Austrian economics in action.

The Impact of Dennison’s Invention

Aaron Lufkin Dennison’s watches were a massive hit, and their affordability revolutionized the watchmaking industry. For the first time, regular people could afford to buy a pocket watch, which until then had been a luxury item available only to the wealthy. The success of Dennison’s watches not only helped to create a new market for watches but also helped to fuel the growth of the wider economy by making timekeeping more accessible to everyone.

As an entrepreneur and innovator, Dennison’s contribution to society shows the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship in bringing about positive change. Austrian economic theory recognizes the vital role played by entrepreneurs in creating economic value and driving economic growth. Their willingness to take risks and pursue new ideas creates new markets, increases competition, and drives down prices. This is all to the benefit of the consumer who gets more things cheaper, thus raising their standard of living.

Dennison’s success in creating an affordable watch for the masses was made possible by his ability to see an opportunity where others did not. He recognized the potential for mass-produced watches and was able to use his skills and knowledge to create a product that met the needs of consumers. His innovation and entrepreneurial spirit helped to create a new industry which brought about positive change in society.

Overall, the impact of Dennison’s invention demonstrates the power of innovation and entrepreneurship in driving economic growth and improving people’s lives. It serves as a testament to the importance of individual freedom and the free market in creating economic value which drives progress.

Here are some additional benefits of Waltham pocket watches:

  • High-Quality Timekeeping: Waltham pocket watches were known for their accuracy and reliability, with many models equipped with precise movements that could keep time within seconds per day.
  • Durability: Waltham pocket watches were made with high-quality materials, such as solid gold or sterling silver cases, and were built to last. Many vintage Waltham pocket watches are still functional and in excellent condition today.
  • Historical Significance: Waltham pocket watches are significant historical artifacts and represent a significant period in American history when watchmaking was a thriving industry. Owning a Waltham pocket watch can provide a connection to this rich history.
  • Collectibility: Waltham pocket watches are highly collectible, and many collectors seek out specific models, such as the Waltham Model 1883, for their rarity and historical significance. Collectors appreciate the craftsmanship and attention to detail that went into creating these timepieces.
  • Investment: Waltham pocket watches, especially rare or vintage models, can appreciate in value over time, making them a potentially lucrative investment. Some Waltham pocket watches have sold for thousands of dollars at auction or to private collectors.


The story of Aaron Lufkin Dennison and his revolutionary contributions to watchmaking is a great example of how Austrian economics can be applied to real-world situations. His innovative approach to watchmaking not only made watches more affordable and accessible to the masses but also created a new market for them. Dennison’s watches demonstrate the subjective nature of economic value and the importance of individual liberty is what drives a thriving economy.

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