Inherited a Seth Thomas, can someone tell me about it?
Only a small percentage of American watches (or Swiss watches for the North American market) were cased at the factories prior to the mid-1920's. Most watch companies just made movements in industry standard sizes. The case companies made cases in those same sizes. The practice at that time was to go to a jeweler, select the quality of the movement and then pick out the desired style and quality of case. The jeweler would then fit the movement to the case in a matter of moments.
Or, watches were sold by mail-order. Large outfits such as Sears, Roebuck & Co., Montgomery Ward, or T. Eaton (in Canada), would offer the movements in a variety of cases of different design and quality in their catalogs. Smaller mail-order retailers would case the watches, typically in a 20-year gold filled case and offer it only that way, with the buyer not having a choice of cases.
N.A.W.CO. on the inside of your case stands for the North American Watch Co., a firm in Mansfield, Ohio that manufactured watch cases and that were dealers in watch cases and complete watches (the movements were made by other companies). An ad for this company appeared in The Jewelers' Circular - Weekly and Horological Review on March 12, 1902. The company stayed in business at least as late as 1925 since they were still advertising in The Conductor, the journal of the Order of Railway Conductors.
The 20 Years marking on the case indicates that its gold-filled. A large proportion of movements are housed in gold-filled cases. These cases are made of a sheet of inexpensive, "composition" metal (brass), sandwiched between two thinner sheets of gold by applying heat and pressure. During the 1930's, one process of doing this gave rise to the term, "rolled gold-plate." The gold sheet that becomes the inside of the case is much thinner than the gold sheet that becomes the outside of the case. Frequently, the purity of the gold used in the sheets, expressed in karats, is stamped inside the back of the case. Some case companies indicated the thickness of the outer layer of gold by using different trademarks for different thicknesses. Before federal regulations outlawed the practice, some case companies indicated the thickness of the outer layer by the number of years for which the case was warranted. Not all case companies were forthright about marking the cases or honoring the warranty (which is what gave rise to the federal regulations). Frequently, the color of the gold (imparted by the metal with which the gold is alloyed) is expressed in conjunction with the term, "gold-filled." Thus it is not uncommon to see terms such as "yellow gold-filled," "white gold-filled," "green gold-filled," and so forth, used in case descriptions. A rose gold-filled case would have a slight "pinkish" color to it.
As you've probably realized, the number 630446 is the serial number of your case. The 30446 on the center ring is merely the last five digits of the case serial number.
A hunting-case (HC) is one that has a protective cover over the crystal (glass). The cover is released by pressing down on the crown (the correct name for the winding knob). A hunting-case movement is designed such that the winding stem is at the 3 o'clock position and that the seconds dial is at the 6 o'clock position. It's made this way to facilitate the proper means of holding the watch when opening it.
When opening the cover of a HC watch, always hold the watch in your right hand, with the crown at your right thumb and with your left hand over the cover. Once the cover is released, ease it open with your left hand, without letting it hit hard as it swings open. The watch will be in the correct position to read the time. There are no proper "stops" to catch the cover and letting it spring open eventually damages the hinge. Similarly, when closing the cover, always press in the crown with your right thumb until the cover is firmly closed, then release the crown so that the inner catch, latches the lid in place. "Snapping" the cover closed without pressing in the crown eventually wears away the lip that the inner catch grabs onto.
Seth Thomas is a well-known company that mostly produced clocks. The name survives today as a trade name of General Time (or perhaps some other corporation - hopefully a more knowledgeable person will fill this in for us). Seth Thomas made a number of watches during the period of 1885-1915. Unfortunately, there is not a surviving serial number vs. grade list from which to identify your watch. Additionally, the serial number vs. date list in the most common guide to watches in not very accurate, mostly because Seth Thomas didn't assign its serial numbers in chronological order.
There is a book: "Seth Thomas Watches," Chris H. Bailey, American Clock & Watch Museum, Inc., Bristol, CT, 1981. Its probably out of print, but you may be able to find a copy on eBay.
It would be helpful if you could post a picture of the movement, the clearer and sharper, the better. A digital camera would be very helpful. Larry Jones has written up a useful article on Image Posting, which may be helpful. If you have a problem posting the picture, you can attach it to an e-mail to (by clicking on my name in the upper left-hand corner of this post) and I'll post it for you.
Its also helpful if you can post all the markings that are on the movement (the "works") in case they can't be seen in the picture(s).
That guy down in Georgia
That guy down in Georgia