This rare and highly significant Waltham full hunter pocket watch was presented by President of the United States Calvin Coolidge to E. Maycock, the Captain of the British steamer Defender, in 1926. As part of a presidential tradition first instituted by Abraham Lincoln, Coolidge presented this watch to Maycock for assisting the U.S. Coast Guard schooner Lincoln when it caught fire off the coast of North Carolina. This handsome timepiece is as beautifully crafted as it is important. An intricate engraving of the Great Seal of the United States adorns the front case, while a dedication celebrating the heroic action of the recipient is inscribed on the cuvette.
Crafted of 14K gold, this keyless wind watch is known as a Riverside model, Movement No. 16071035. The 23-jewel movement features a white enamel dial with black painted Arabic numerals and red five-minute indication and tells the time with blued steel spade hands. This is truly an exceptional piece of United States and naval history.
Features the engraved dedication: “From the President of the United States to E. Maycock, Master of the British Steamship Defender, in recognition of his humane services in effecting the rescue at sea, on December 18, 1926, of the crew of the shipwrecked United States Coast Guard Cutter Lincoln.”
The USCGC Lincoln was a former rum runner seized by the Coast Guard and commissioned into service in 1926, and she was used as a patrol boat tender and supply vessel off the East Coast. On December 18, 1926, the Lincoln caught fire off the coast of North Carolina after her fuel tank exploded, forcing the crew to abandon ship as it sank. A passing British steamer, the RMS Defender, captained by E. Maycock, responded to the distress call and weathered heavy seas, winds and fire during the five-hour rescue attempt. Ultimately, they saved two of the Lincoln’s crew. President Coolidge awarded the entire crew of the Defender the Presidential Gold Lifesaving Medal, and further awarded Captain Master E. Maycock the present watch in recognition of his services.
In 1862, President Lincoln obtained permission from Congress to award special pocket watches to masters of foreign vessels who were instrumental in the rescue of American ships and crews. This was known as the “Official Award to Non-Citizens of the United States of America for Saving Lives at Sea.” A rescue at sea was considered one of the noblest acts a person could perform. Such an extraordinary act of heroism, especially of an American by a non-U.S. Citizen, was considered an act that deserved acknowledgment by the highest officer in the nation, and very few have received such an honor.