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  1. #1

    Default Why is this listed as 'Special'?

    I managed to buy this from amongst a box of junk for a few pounds. It needed a new spring and the case was in very worn condition with lots of discoloured brass showing through, although the engraving of a locomotive was still visible.
    When I checked the details of the watch it was described an 1883 model, Special grade and as from a batch of 1000 lever set movements. Why would it be described as 'Special' grade as there is no indication on the back plate other than Appleton Tracy, adjusted. The dial is a standard Waltham double sunk with Arabic numerals and red 5 minute markers. The case although badly worn has cleaned up okay and looks quite respectable now.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Why is this listed as 'Special'? (By: Nick23)

    "Special" in a Waltham record means that it was a bit different from the normal run. It could have been many things. Most likely it was the gilding applied to the watch plate decoration making it s "Two Tone" It may have also meant that it was special order for the UK.

    Most Waltham UK watches were lower quality than yours and the English generally did not like watches as extravegantly decorated as yours.

  3. #3

    Smile Re: Why is this listed as 'Special'? (By: Nick23)

    Although you didn't state your reference source, I'd guess that it was either the book Serial Numbers With Description of Waltham Watch Movements, Waltham Watch Co., Waltham, MA, 1954, (commonly referred to as "The Gray Book") or the NAWCC Information Storage website (whose data in this serial number range was based upon that published in the aforementioned book.

    This book was created to provide information for the purpose of ordering parts. Small runs of movements using the same parts were lumped together. The designation "Special" would be used for a run of a private label watch, or non-factory grade. The data base that Ed Ueberall and I maintain of surviving examples of railroad and other interesting watches lists serial numbers 10043531, 10043540, 10043679 as being marked with the Canadian Pacific Railway herald. These watches, from the same run (10043501-10044500) as your Appleton, Tracy & Co. movement, were not apparently a standard Waltham grade at that time. 10044145 is marked like your watch, as an AT&Co grade.

    It's possible that the run was initially set up for just the Canadian Pacific Railway watches and lacking an order for the full run, Waltham finished them as AT&Co grade. Or, perhaps the second part of the run was always intended to be AT&Co grade, but in creating the book, Waltham just lumped them in with the "Special" Canadian Pacific Railway movements. We may never know for sure.
    Last edited by Kent; 01-19-2011 at 09:54 AM.
    Kent
    That guy down in Georgia

  4. #4

    Question Re: Why is this listed as 'Special'? (By: Kent)

    I just saw Dr. Jon's post. Does the movement have a gold-on-nickel finish, or is it just a trick of the lighting?
    Kent
    That guy down in Georgia

  5. #5

    Default Re: Why is this listed as 'Special'? (By: penguinjaw)

    Kent

    Thanks for your input. It's not two tone, just a reflection. From what you have said, am I to assume that it would have been classed as railroad grade when it was made?

    Shiner

  6. #6

    Smile Re: Why is this listed as 'Special'? (By: Nick23)

    Quote Originally Posted by Shiner View Post
    ...
    From what you have said, am I to assume that it would have been classed as railroad grade when it was made?

    Shiner
    Well, its debatable. Waltham noted their accecptence in railroad service in 1895. The mention of their availability in both nickel and gilt makes it plain that they are discussing the model 83.

    In 1898, the Grand Trunk accepted watches only adjusted to temperature (which the AT&Co exceeded).

    In 1899, watches used on the railroads around Kansas City had to be adjusted to at least three positions, as did those on the Wabash. The 17-jewel AT&Co model 83 was probably adjusted to three positions, but the only descriptions I've seen for a model 83 AT&Co. watch just says that it is adjusted to position without saying how many.

    In 1901-1902, a 17-jewel AT&Co. watch, that was probably the model 83, was offered for railway use but the listing is not clear on the point of its model. But by 1902-03, just after your watch was built, the model 92 (the "new model") 17-jewel AT&Co. was the one that was being offered by the same firm. The same source offered 17-jewel CPR and CRTS watches for railroad service that are probably model 83s, but I've never seen an authoritative description of their adjustment, so I can't say that they are the same as the AT&Co (even though they probably are).

    To sum up, I'd give it a very definite maybe. In 1902-3, it was probably accepted on some railroads and not on others.
    Kent
    That guy down in Georgia

  7. #7

    Default Re: Why is this listed as 'Special'? (By: Kent)

    Shiner

    The run of watches, 10043501 – 10044500 might be listed as Special since it is listed as LS / OF. There are not many of the later runs of Model 83’s that are LS / OF. Most LS / OF Model 83’s are below the 3.3 million serial number. There are only 13 runs of Model 83’s above the 3.3 million serial number totaling 10,370 watches. Not all of the watches in these runs are actually LS / OF. Most of the watches in the later runs I have recorded are PS / OF.

    The other possible explanation is like Kent mentioned. I have only recorded 12 watches in this run. The 12 watches breakdown as:

    8 – Appleton, Tracy & Co.
    3 – Canadian Pacific Railway
    1 – Canadian Railway Time Service

    Hope this information helps.
    Steven
    Member of Chapter 100, Chapter 149 and Web Horology Waltham Model 83 Watches

  8. #8

    Question Re: Why is this listed as 'Special'? (By: Steven Mercer)

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Mercer View Post
    ...
    I have only recorded 12 watches in this run. The 12 watches breakdown as:

    8 – Appleton, Tracy & Co.
    3 – Canadian Pacific Railway
    1 – Canadian Railway Time Service

    Hope this information helps.
    Steve:

    Would you please share the serial numbers of those watches with us?

    Thanks in advance,
    Kent
    That guy down in Georgia

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