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Waltham, Mass. derby...

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An interesting (I hope) comparison today - I show two watches from the same city, yet from different makers - an American Waltham vs United States Waltham. Both 18 size, but foolishly I picked a... pendant set American Waltham, which either might make this post quite pointless, or even more interesting... I'll just see how it goes as I write...

This watch:

...is a 15 jewel mid-grade US Waltham I bought quite some time ago.


..is a higher grade 17 jewel AT&Co American Waltham from pretty much similar period. Like I mentioned, pendant set...

The whistle blows and soon we'll see what each player has got...

I put the USWCo parts on the left side of the pictures, so (since most of us usually read left to right), USWCo disassembled pic first...

And the AmWCo:

Right by the mainspring - a jewelless setting. I had to find a new lower balance jewel, because someone replaced the original one gluing the new jewel with shellac... It dissolved during cleaning

Both watches have angle lever escapement and bi-metallic balance with Breguet hairspring:

The AmWCo hairspring overcoil appears reshaped.
Notice the pallet fork - it's almost identical...
The AmWCo balance has gold screws, but it's a higher grade...

Now the pilar plate and winding pinions:

The USWCo 18s OF movement has four pilars, while model 1883 by AmWCo has three.
The USWCo has a pretty 'normal' lever set mechanism with double spring that often breaks.
The AmWCo has a pendant set keyless works. Remember to put the rocker bar assembly on the bare pilar plate.
I tried to mount it on an assembled movement and it's no good, I had to take it all apart again...

The 1883 has a potence fixed to the top plate, while the USWCo movement has a traditional screw-down potence. Notice the gear trains and escapements:

Nearly twins! I did not count the teeth, but the gear train and escapements of both watches would be hard to tel apart by just looking. It's not even about the gear arrangement, but also manufacturing technology - very similar.

The keyless works:

While USWCo has a double spring for it's lever, that's easy to break, the pendant set AmWCo 1883 has a dreadful small spring under the intersetting wheel, that LOVES to fly.

It moves the intersetting wheel up when in setting position. I think it needs to be removed and re-inserted after the rocker bar is securely in place.
It's very annoying - I had to look for it on my floor two times.
The dial sides are now done, dials on, and we can move on to the balances:

The movements feature a similar, starwheel regulator. In AmWCo design, the starwheel is held in place by a smal bridge, while in USWCo design the gear on the starwheel is larger, and the springy regulator itself holds it in place.

Like I said - I had to find a matched jewel for my ATCo and - luckily - I did.
Assembling the remaining parts:

And done:


ATCo has a MAJOR issue - the dial was gloued to the movement with corrosion. I had to soak the whole thing in ammoina and - good news - ammonia based solutions are harmless to enamel dials
I tried to put just the ammount to reach the dial edge, but it 'bled' through the holes...
Also, the T end of the mainspring was off in ATCo, but rte-riveted nicely.

In the USWCo the cannon pinion is too tight, because someone 'tightened' it, by punching the center arbor. Left it be...

All in all - the comparison is impaired by the fact I got myself watches of different grades and finish and one of them pendant set. Still what I can tell is that the watches have similar design, similar manufacturing technologies and they are of similar general quality. The damaskeened plates of USWCo look good, but surely AT&Co grade has better details like gold jewel settings or balance screws.

Tight match and no winner - teh 'counterfeit' USWCo watch is as good as the 'original'

Thanks for looking !!!
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