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  1. #1

    Default Waltham Railroad Watch

    I recently came into possession of my grandfather's pocket watch. He was a claims adjuster for the railroad in the 40s-50s. The watch is a Waltham Premier, gold in color. I figured out how to remove the back all my myself . According to the serial number it was assembled in 1940.

    It does not run (I am sure is does not come as a surprise). It is wound up tight. Looking at the works inside reveals nothing, of course it might help if I knew what I was looking at. I don't!!

    I am trying to determine whether it would be worth having someone try and repair the watch. I realize that without actually looking at the watch it is pretty hard to make an assessment. But based upon the age and condition (pretty good, crystal has no scratches, case has some rubbing marks), and the non-functioning issue, should I continue to seek a repair job?

    I can provide pictures if that would help.

  2. #2
    Registered user.
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    So. Calif.

    Default Re: Waltham Railroad Watch (By: RSamson)

    Hi RSamson,

    Welcome to the NAWCC Message Board. The name Waltham Premier means absolutely nothing, because around the time the watch was made Waltham was putting the name Premier on just about every watch product for the consumer market, from the cheapest to the best.

    A photo of the movement and of the case/dial would be nice, but in this instance the movement serial number, along with other markings on the movement, as well as markings inside the case back (things scratched in the case back are repair/service marks and can be ignored) will help us to help you.

    As noted in the MB rules, we are not permitted to discuss actual dollar values. Whether the watch is worth repairing depends on many factors. The fact that it was your grandfather's watch adds the factor of sentimental value as a family heirloom. It is possible that all it needs is a good cleaning and oiling, but that can only be determined by an in-hand inspection by a qualified watch repairer. It also depends on your personal financial situation. In the end, only you can make the final decision as to whether it is worth fixing up or just keeping as a non-running memento.

    Anyway, get back to us with more information, and we can then tell you something about your watch. With that knowledge you can look it up in a price guide or in completed eBay auctions or other internet sources.

    Larry Treiman

  3. #3

    Default Re: Waltham Railroad Watch (By: Larry Treiman)

    Here are pictures of the watch. If you right click on the icons, you can bring up the pictures in a separate page. Don't know why they don't show up here:

    Last edited by RSamson; 01-18-2011 at 07:43 PM.

  4. #4

    Smile Re: Waltham Railroad Watch (By: RSamson)

    My guess is that you didn't get the correct URL for each of the pictures.
    That guy down in Georgia

  5. #5

    Default Re: Waltham Railroad Watch, 2nd try at pictures (By: Kent)

    I will try a different URL for pictures. This is the address for the picture album:

    I tried this and it works. There are five pictures:
    1. Close up of the works
    2. Back of watch (initials PLS engraved)
    3. Front (face) of watch
    4. Back of watch with cover removed
    5. Inside the back of watch

  6. #6

    Smile Re: Waltham Railroad Watch (By: RSamson)

    Your watch is 16-size, Grade No. 1621 Riverside, built in about April 1940 (according to one of the references listed in the Waltham Watches Encyclopedia article. The above link explains about your watch.

    The crystal appears to be an early plastic one. These deteriorate and discolor, releasing gases that corrode the hands and, if they are left in place, they can damage other steel parts of the watch. Thus, crystal replacement is very important for those crystals which have turned yellow or green with age. Even those just starting to turn can cause damage.

    Even if it didn't need repair, the watch should be serviced before running it very much. It may be helpful for you to read the Encyclopedia article on Watch Service and its related links, especially the one to the message board thread on the subject.

    This was a popular watch, although not a railroad watch. As collectable watches go, it is fairly low on the list, but the fact that it is all-original, with its Premier-marked dial and case, makes it a nice example.

    It is normal to compare the cost of servicing and repairing a pocket watch to the value of that watch as a collectable in order to decide whether or not to have the work done. However, when the watch is a family heirloom, the issue is much more difficult to judge, and depends upon one's sense of family history. It is one thing to have and display grandfather's watch (perhaps in an inexpensive glass watch dome). It is quite another to be able to wear it (running and keeping reasonable time) on important occasions, especially family occasions. Whatever it costs to service and repair a watch today, it will cost more (with parts being a little harder to find) ten, twenty or thirty years from now when you might want to pass it on to the next generation. Nobody can really advise you which way to go on this subject. Of course, personal financial circumstances must be considered. Each person must decide on his/her own.

    Having gathered and printed out information about a family watch, it is a wise idea to write out as much as you know about the family member to whom the watch originally belonged. Then, add the names and relationships of the family members who passed it down to the current holder. Make up a booklet with this and all of the watch information and try to keep it with the watch. This way, the watch has real family heritage instead of it just being an old family watch, the identity and relationship of the original owner having been lost in the distant past.

    Good luck,
    Last edited by Kent; 01-19-2011 at 01:38 PM.
    That guy down in Georgia

  7. #7
    Registered user. StanJS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    North Andover, MA USA

    Default Re: Waltham Railroad Watch (By: RSamson)


    Your watch, while too modern for my taste, is very decent watch. It is worth repair especially considering there is a family connection. A COA (clean, oil, adjust) should run around $100 to $150 depending on your locality.


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