The Houston Watch Co. is located in the Main Street Market Square Historic District of Downtown Houston, Texas. Our entrance is adjacent to the lobby of the Bayou Lofts on Franklin Street, between Travis and Main. Look North towards the bayous for the large red rooftop neon sign.
We are a block from Market Square Park and the nightlife district in the 300 and 400 blocks of Travis and Main Streets. Theater District venues, including Jones Hall and the Wortham Center, are a short five minute walk away.
We are an short and pleasant bike ride away from Minute Maid Park, the Toyota Center, BBVA Compass Field and Discovery Green. It is a charming walk on a nice day.
The Houston Watch Co. was and is located in the Southern Pacific Railroad Building (now the Bayou Lofts), designed in 1910 by Chicago architect Jarvis Hunt. In 1912, Houston jeweler V. A. Corrigan opened his Houston Watch Company in the Franklin Street retail space adjacent to the building's lobby.
The railroads are largely responsible for standardizing time across the United States. Engineers, Conductors, Ticket Agents and safety switchmen all needed to be working on the same schedule, where a few minutes difference could (and did) lead to disaster. The Houston Watch Company served as an unofficial quartermaster for railroad employees. As the local Deputy Time Master, V. A. Corrigan also kept the Official local time - to which all local and railroad clocks needed to be synced.
Oral histories of the space program claim that engineers at NASA, when evaluating watches to be used by astronauts, purchased some of their test timepieces downtown at the Houston Watch Company.
The Watch Company was sold to a national chain in the 1950s. At some point in the 70s, as downtown bunkered in, the original glass storefront was bricked over. But as late as the 90s, the machine that Houstonians called for Time and Temperature was housed in our walls.
In 1999 the Southern Pacific Railroad Building was renovated into the Bayou Lofts, and is now part of the Main Street Market Square Park Historic District. The Houston Watch Co. is now a bar serving mixed drinks, beer and wine adjacent to the building's lobby (but open to all).
Please join us the next time you are downtown. Keep a good watch out there.