The volume of watches passing through the Dominys’ shop, and the Dominys’ reliance on transient travelers to deliver watches to their owners, increased the chances of confusion and loss. To address these challenges, between 1777 and 1813, Nathaniel IV kept a separate record of repairs, noting the name of the owner, maker, and serial number (if any) of each watch as well as the repair charge. In January 1805, he placed advertisements in the Sag Harbor newspaper, the Suffolk Gazette, reminding customers to include their names and places of residence with their watches “if they hope to have them returned in any direct manner.”
Nathaniel IV once mended a watch signed by an English watchmaker with the surname “Tarts”—which may have resembled this example. “J. Tarts” may be an alias for an English watchmaker who specialized in watches for the Dutch market, raising the question: might the owner of this example, Abraham Gardiner, have obtained his “Tarts” watch by way of a mariner or merchant in New York City with ties to Holland?