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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Graduate students move to historic Waltham Watch Factory

Published: September 6, 2012
Section: News

This fall, university officials found a small, yet clever solution to the growing housing crisis by offering eight graduate students housing in Waltham’s historic Watch Factory. These eight graduate students have the unusual luck of being neighbors with university President Frederick Lawrence, who also lives in The Watch Factory, according to a university press release.

The Watch Factory has recently been renovated into 96 luxury apartments, 67 of which are loft-style, two story apartments. The factory also offers office space and space for a cafe as well as a restaurant with riverfront seating. The factory is located in the center of Waltham on Crescent Street, and boasts a scenic view of the Charles River. Apartments range from one bedroom at $2,369 per month to three bedrooms at $3,295 per month.

The Watch Factory has a lengthy and productive history, dating back to 1854, when the Waltham Watch Company (then the Boston Watch Company) moved into its impressive new factory in the heart of Waltham, along the Charles River. The Waltham Watch Company continued to produce high quality watches, clocks and precision instruments until it declared bankruptcy in 1949. The Waltham Watch Company officially went out of business in 1954, and later founded a subsidiary company called Waltham International SA, based in Switzerland. The company was officially sold in 1994, and is now based in Alabama, with the name The Waltham Aircraft Clock Corporation.

“The factory is currently 55 percent leased, and Berkeley Investments Inc. is trying to fill the factory’s units as quickly as possible,” said Eric Ekman, the project manager for Berkeley Investments, Inc., the developer of the Watch Factory project. “It’s a pretty unique living environment.”

According to Ekman, the watch factory will house a “mixture of young professionals, other residents and, this semester, the eight Brandeis graduate students.” Ekman said that although there is a long process for each resident trying to qualify for an apartment, the watch factory could potentially house Brandeis undergraduate students in the future, in addition to graduate students.

“The Watch Factory is is a great place to live because it’s half a mile from Moody Street, and it’s right on the Charles River,” Ekman said.