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  1. #1

    Default Need help identifying Waltham

    I received a Waltham pocket watch from my grandmother last night. I did some research on the internet and found the best way to identify the watch is to open up the back and get the serial number, however in most pictures of Waltham watches I've seen there's a hinge at the bottom for opening it up. Mine doesn't have this hinge, and I've tried to lightly open it up at the back seam but it won't. Any other way of identifying what year/make this watch is? There's no designs on it, just flat all the way around. Covering the face is a piece of thin plastic that falls off very easily. At the bottom of the face there's a little dial going around a smaller circle with the seconds. Thank you

  2. #2

    Smile Re: Need help identifying Waltham (By: Heidi)

    Hi Heidi:

    Welcome to the NAWCC American Pocket Watch Message Board!

    Your watch case may be a screw back and bezel case, or a snap back and bezel case. You might find the information in "How To Open A Pocket Watch Case" useful. Try unscrewing it first.

    Good luck,
    That guy down in Georgia

  3. #3

    Default Re: Need help identifying Waltham (By: Heidi)

    Chances are that the back of the case will unscrew . Theres no way of knowing what grade of movement you have without seeing whats inside.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Need help identifying Waltham (By: NC Plumber)

    Got it open, it screwed off, thank you for that link Kent.

    On the inside of the piece that came off the back it says
    C.W.C. CO.
    Warranted crescent 25 years.

    The inside of the watch has the number 10044179
    17 jewels
    Appleton Tracy
    Waltham, Mass.

  5. #5

    Smile Re: Need help identifying Waltham (By: Heidi)


    You've inherited a very nice watch. Checking the references listed in the Waltham watches Encyclopedia article, Waltham movement serial number 10044179 can be seen to be an 18-size, 17-jewel, model 1883 Appleton, Tracy & Co. grade, open-face movement, made in about 1900, give or take a year or two. This particular version of the Appleton, Tracy & Co. grade was a successful product with almost 30,000 having been built from the mid-to-1890s to the turn of the century.

    You can see a catalog description and movement picture of the slightly earlier 15-jewel version in an 1893 Waltham ad. This watch is a railroad watch, that was accepted for railroad time service at the time it was built.

    The watch case is gold-filled and was made by the Crescent Watch Case Co.

    You should have the watch 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.

    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.

    Please feel free to ask additional questions if you don't understand something.

    Good luck,
    Last edited by Kent; 02-20-2011 at 09:03 PM.
    That guy down in Georgia

  6. #6

    Smile Re: Need help identifying Waltham (By: Kent)


    Please take a minute and let me know several things about your watch?

    Can you set the hands by pulling up on the crown (the winding knob) and turning it? If not, the watch is probably lever-set.

    Is anything else marked on the movement, like "safety pinion" or "Adjusted"?

    Is the movement nickel or a gold color?

    Is the winding stem at the 12 o'clock position?

    That guy down in Georgia

  7. #7

    Default Re: Need help identifying Waltham (By: Kent)

    Hi Heidi

    From the serial number of your watch, 8556703 the records show that it is from a run of 1,000 watches indicated in the serial number list as Special. It was produced around 1901. I do believe it is a pendent set open face watch although the serial number list has this run as lever set open face. None of the watches I have recorded in this run have been lever set. Based on the other watches I have recorded from this run, your watch should have nickel plates with the barrel bridge being marked Appleton, Tracy & Co., Waltham, Mass., and will have 17 Jewels on the barrel bridge above the name. The word Adjusted will be under the serial number.

    Some general information on Model 1883’s and Appleton, Tracy & Co.:

    There were over 5,500,000 Model 1883’s produced from 1883 to 1920. The Model 83 was the most produced watch by Waltham and was produced the longest.

    There was more than 120,000 Appleton, Tracy & Co. grade produced during this time. Appleton, Tracy & Co. were produced in key wind, pendent set - open face, lever set - open face, dual setting (both pendent and lever set), and lever set - hunting.

    There were different jeweling for the Appleton, Tracy & Co. with the variations in jeweling being, 4 pairs (15 jewels), and 17 jewels.

    The Appleton, Tracy & Co. were made with gilt plates, gilt damaskeen plates, nickel plates, nickel-frosted plates, and tu-tone plates (nickel and gilt together). Appleton, Tracy & Co.’s were adjusted movements. They were also made as “Non-Magnetic” movements.

    If you could post pictures of the watch movement, dial and case there could help in identifying any errors that might be in the serial number lists and records.
    Member of Chapter 100, Chapter 149 and Web Horology Waltham Model 83 Watches

  8. #8

    Default Re: Need help identifying Waltham (By: Steven Mercer)

    Thanks for all the information Kent and Steven.

    The hands do not move when I pull the knob up and turn. It does say 'safety pinion' and 'adjusted' on the inside. It is gold colored, although the finish isn't looking so great anymore. The knob is at the 12 o'clock position.

    Here's some pictures. They're from my phone so they're not the best quality.




  9. #9

    Smile Re: Need help identifying Waltham (By: Heidi)


    Thanks for the pictures. The watch looks just as I (and probably Steven) imagined it would look.

    The watch is probably a lever-set watch. Unscrew the bezel (the metal ring that holds the crystal) from the front of the case. To set the time, the lever (at the 11 minute position) is pulled out, parallel to the surface of the dial. Usually, people hold the watch in their left hand and use their right thumbnail to catch the lever's little tab and pull it out. Be careful not to catch the edge of the dial with your thumbnail, dials get chipped that way. Pocketwatcher's website has some good instructions for Setting A Lever Set Watch.

    Good luck.
    That guy down in Georgia

  10. #10

    Default Re: Need help identifying Waltham (By: Kent)

    Alright cool, thanks. I'm thinking I might just take it to a jeweler or something to have them set it, I'm terrified of breaking it. I had planned to hold on to this watch but I'm wondering, is it worth money? I'd like to keep it but if it is worth anything my grandmom could certainly use the money. I saw a few on ebay in the thousands...

  11. #11

    Smile Re: Need help identifying Waltham (By: Heidi)


    I'm sorry to say that as it says near the top of this page, in the menu bar, "No Appraisals." However, now knowing the proper description of your watch you should be able to use a Google Search to find similar watches offered by internet dealers, or on eBay, and see what they are selling for. Alternately, check the value in the Complete Price Guide to Watches, No 27, C. Shugart, T. Engle and R. Gilbert, Tinderbox Press, Mount Pleasant, SC, 2007. A new edition comes out each year in January or February, so ask for the latest edition. The book is available at libraries, at most major booksellers and online at the NAWCC Gift Shop (ask about the current edition). Condition matters! The worn condition of the gold-filled case will make a difference.
    That guy down in Georgia

  12. #12
    Registered user. Kevin W.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help identifying Waltham (By: Heidi)

    Yes its worth money.We cant discuss that here as board rules say this.
    I suggest you go on Ebay and see what past watches like this have sold for.I doubt you will get what you think you might.
    If it were me and a family heirloom i would hang onto it.
    Last edited by Kevin W.; 02-21-2011 at 06:39 PM. Reason: spelling
    One clock at a time. Kevin West

  13. #13

    Default Re: Need help identifying Waltham (By: Kevin W.)

    Hi Heidi

    As Kent stated it is probably a lever set watch, unless when you pulled up on the stem it didn't pull up all the way and click.

    If it is a lever set watch it will be the first one in this run that I have recorded as such. I would appreciate it if you could let us know if the watch does have a lever just past the "2". From the picture of the dial you took it looks like there is a chip in the dial at that point already.
    Member of Chapter 100, Chapter 149 and Web Horology Waltham Model 83 Watches

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