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  1. #1
    Registered User Jerry Treiman's Avatar
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    Default Waltham's Riverside grade -- the 12-size variants

    Many of you know already that I am high on Waltham's “Riverside” grade. The Riverside was offered by Waltham as their most popular movement. Over the course of 60 years Waltham offered this grade in at least 22 models and at least a dozen sizes, with many variations.

    I wanted to take a look here at just the 12-size 1894 model Riverside and the few derivatives that use almost all of the same parts. All have a double-roller escapement, micrometer regulator and at least 17 jewels. Let's start with the standard 12-size movement, which was first produced in 1896. The 12-size Riverside was advertised as the best choice for a gentleman's watch, as seen in this ad from 1898.

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    The first-run examples have a 3/4-plate movement, 17 jewels and a script signature. The next few runs had the same damascening pattern but a new signature style and a gold center wheel, both of which came to be standard for this model. A cupped and polished dome around the upper balance jewel was introduced during this period. Waltham also produced a numbered grade movement (grade no.250) that was equivalent to the Riverside in quality and finish, yet they asked (and got) a $2.50 premium for the Riverside name. The grade 250 was not offered for very long.

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    By around 1900 Waltham had added conical pivots and cap jewels to the escape wheel and, with this addition, the Riverside became a 19-jewel watch. The "19 Jewels" notation appeared in two different locations on the barrel bridge. The damascene pattern is also a little simpler than the first production, lacking the arcaded swirls around the outside of the earlier examples. (If this were an Illinois Bunn Special these changes would be a big deal). We also see cupped winding wheels at this point.

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    Around 1902 Waltham changed the plate pattern for their better grade 12-size movements, using what I call a semi-bridge layout. For the Riverside, they switched to a jeweled mainwheel rather than the capped escape wheel to make 19 jewels. Other than these changes, this movement is mechanically identical to the earlier style and is still considered an 1894 model. This model and grade was used for a few private-label movements as well.

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    A rather scarce variant on the Riverside was produced around 1904-1906. This model was originally made to be a contract movement for Keystone-Howard and displays the unique plate variant and regulator index designed for the Howard contract. [This plate pattern was used several years later for Waltham’s Equity model and for some export movements]. A whiplash regulator was used here, instead of Waltham’s patented star wheel regulator; the whiplash regulator was not otherwise used until much later, except for some contract watches such as this one was intended to be. Hunting-case movements have the early damascene pattern and the open-face movements have the later damascene pattern.

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    By the mid-twenties Waltham saw fit to up-jewel the grade again, re-introducing the capped escape wheel to make a 21 jewel movement. Most of these are the Riverside-equivalent grade 250 (resurrected from a 25 year hiatus) but some are also marked Riverside. By now Waltham is regularly using a whiplash regulator on some of their best movements.

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    The preceding examples account for most of the standard 12-size Riverside movements. Up until the twenties they were made in both open-face and hunting-case configurations.
    Jerry Treiman, NAWCC member since 1971
    Charter member of Pocket Horology Chapter 174

  2. #2
    Registered User Jerry Treiman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Waltham's Riverside grade -- the 12-size variants (By: Jerry Treiman)

    Size variants

    Waltham also made a few size variants on the 12-size Riverside. First was the 14-size 1897 model movement. Aside from adding 2/30 of an inch to the top and bottom plate diameter, and a longer winding pinion, these are mechanically the same as the 1894 model 12-size movement. The movement marking is a little different, including the "U.S.A." notation (since these were produced for export).

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    Around 1907 Waltham introduced their Colonial Series movement which had a 14-size bottom plate but the standard 12-size top plates/bridges and parts. Open-face versions used the semi-bridge bridge pattern but the hunters used the 3/4-plate pattern. These are difficult to distinguish from the standard 12-size when they are cased. Note the earlier damascene pattern, as well, on the hunter.

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    Another odd-size movement was modified to fit a Marsh Patent case. These were usually thin gold cases with a special reinforcing shield installed around the movement. The pillar plate is cut down to 10 size to fit the movement protector. Rather than installing from the front and using case screws, these movements, with protective shield, were placed in the case from the back and locked in place with sliding lugs from the movement.

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    Riverside Maximus

    Although some may not think of it this way, I consider the Riverside Maximus to be basically a Riverside movement with extra finishing (a Riverside movement finished to the max!). This 1897 Waltham ad from The Century supports this concept. If you consider these as part of your 12-size Riverside collection that adds several more variants along the lines of those listed above (21 or 23 jewels, 3/4-plate or semi-bridge, Colonial Series, private labels, damascening).

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    Last edited by Jerry Treiman; 03-06-2012 at 10:51 PM.
    Jerry Treiman, NAWCC member since 1971
    Charter member of Pocket Horology Chapter 174

  3. #3

    Default Re: Waltham's Riverside grade -- the 12-size variants (By: Jerry Treiman)

    Jerry,

    Thanks for the post. The Riverside grade is one of my favorite ones too. I have one that is a HC 19 jewel model that falls between your first two run examples. It has the damascening pattern, and flat winding wheels of the first model, but 19 jewels of second model (it has a capped escape wheel). It is SN 7,311,490 which is listed in the gray book as part of a 17J run of riverside 1894s. Perhaps Waltham upjeweled leftover movements as the new model was being produced? This one came to me in an open-faced case that doesn't have any other screw marks, so it could be an original pairing.

    Here's a picture:
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    Mike Miller

  4. #4
    Registered User Jerry Treiman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Waltham's Riverside grade -- the 12-size variants (By: Mike Miller)

    Nice example, Mike. It helps demonstrates the evolution in the finish characteristics of this grade in the first few years of production. When you look at the ledger entries you see that many of these early runs were finished over a several year period (1898-1902 for yours), so it is no surprise to even see variation within a single run. I also have a 19 jewel movement in the 7-millions, but with the later damascene pattern.

    Which dial does yours have? Most of the early ones have upright arabic numerals and a double-lined minute track, like this example from the first series.
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    The first ones have a pressed center section to the dial (not actually double sunk) but later dials are single sunk. I have also seen several with Riverside Maximus dials. Roman numeral dials show up, but are not too common.
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    Jerry Treiman, NAWCC member since 1971
    Charter member of Pocket Horology Chapter 174

  5. #5

    Default Re: Waltham's Riverside grade -- the 12-size variants (By: Jerry Treiman)

    It is a single sunk (no pressed center section) with double-lined minute track. Lots of variety in these Riverside grade to choose from. I don't have a copy of the hand-written ledgers, but in the gray book, there is noted a run of Riverside grade Model 94s noted as being a mixed run of 17-19 jewel finishes starting at SN 7,312,001 through 7,314,000. This is exactly after the "17 J run" entry that mine was in. So these couple of runs must have merged somewhere in the finishing department and trickled out over the next few years as demand called for them?

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    Mike Miller

  6. #6
    Technical Admin Tom McIntyre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Waltham's Riverside grade -- the 12-size variants (By: Mike Miller)

    Jerry, you mentioned that some of these were made for E.Howard Watch Co. This example is not the one normally seen since it is 17 jewels rather than 19 jewels. I don't think any of the 12 size Waltham/Howards are common, but this is the only 17J I have had.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Waltham's Riverside grade -- the 12-size variants (By: Jerry Treiman)

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ID:	123302Very interesting and authoritative work about these interesting to me Walthams. I have a few only because of being gold case cheapies in the past. Now much better appreciated.((((Tom's suggestion to use Firefox browser with my old and overloaded laptop makes image loading a lot easier))))))
    Last edited by artbissell; 03-07-2012 at 09:37 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Waltham's Riverside grade -- the 12-size variants (By: artbissell)

    Thanks for starting this Jerry and thanks for doing all of this work!
    John Cote
    Watch Collector (pocket & wrist), Clock Admirer, Time Nerd...

  9. #9
    Registered User Jerry Treiman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Waltham's Riverside grade -- the 12-size variants (By: John Cote)

    Tom - Waltham actually had several production runs of 12-size movements for Howard. These included 21-jewel bridge models and 17 and 19-jewel 3/4-plate movements. Your 17-jewel movement was delivered to Keystone in 1904 - these have an 866xxx Howard serial number or may have an H prefix. I am not sure if it is a Riverside grade movement - the damascening is correct for a Riverside but most Riversides had 19-jewels and a steel escape wheel by this point. A later order was to include 12-size 19-jewel movements but I believe that most of these were never delivered and were finished at Waltham as Riverside movements, like the one I show above. Here is a side-by-side comparison of the two.

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    Art - The watch you show is not a standard 12-size movement and has no parts interchangeability with any of the preceding movements we have shown. Yours is a 14-size Colonial-A model and it shares parts and construction details with the later 10-size Colonial-A (on the left). [see how much closer the winding wheels are to the edge of the movement on the 10-size model]

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    Another one that some people confuse with the 12-size series of movements is the 1924 Colonial (also known as Colonial-B). There was a Riverside grade in this model too, but it is different from either the original 12-size or the Colonial-A series and parts are not interchangeable with these other movements. You can tell the Colonial-B by the narrower crown wheel with a larger hub.

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    Last edited by Jerry Treiman; 03-08-2012 at 01:20 AM.
    Jerry Treiman, NAWCC member since 1971
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Waltham's Riverside grade -- the 12-size variants (By: Jerry Treiman)

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	123323Oops, do not know sizes very well apparently. I have a big jewelers wholesale catalog that shows many 10-12-14 size Walthams without accurate descriptions. Prices were 1/2 the Premier Maximus in same 1930 book for a couple of the Colonials. Will photo entire pages.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Waltham's Riverside grade -- the 12-size variants (By: artbissell)

    1931 catalog pages of Waltham small p.w.Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	123348 3rd click to read. No movements shown in this catalog.
    Last edited by artbissell; 03-08-2012 at 11:40 AM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Waltham's Riverside grade -- the 12-size variants (By: Jerry Treiman)

    1916 Waltham catalog pages for the 12 size Colonials. Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	123503 No 10s and 14s then? Only these cataloged? $9. to $123. amazing spread. 3 clicks to read.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Waltham's Riverside grade -- the 12-size variants (By: artbissell)

    this is my new addition colonial riverside
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  14. #14
    Registered User Jerry Treiman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Waltham's Riverside grade -- the 12-size variants (By: hawk61)

    These are 14-size Colonial-A movements are high-quality movements, and quite thin by American standards. Many have diamond endstones. Unfortunately, they take a special case. I believe there may have been some after-market gold-filled cases made at one time that will fit these, but any case that fits is now hard to find.
    Jerry Treiman, NAWCC member since 1971
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Waltham's Riverside grade -- the 12-size variants (By: Jerry Treiman)

    If all else fails - try sticking it in a case taken from a non-running model 1897 (e.g. grade "Bond St" or similar.) Cheap & plentiful here in the UK. You may need some M2-size washers to help the movement stay in place (see photo for what that looks like) - but it's very satisfying if you can get it to work.

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