American Waltham, Gents watch, markings and info help

RyanBee

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Oct 27, 2016
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Hi,

Complete watch newbie here so forgive me if I've not listed this in the right area.

I've had this watch for a few years, given to me by my grandfather over 20 years ago. I'm not sure how long he had it, he was a collector though. I got myself a cheap magnifier to identify some of the markings on the watch.


So far I know it's an 18 karat gold dial key wind watch, mostly from what my Granddad had written on the tag!


I've attached pics of the case serial number and works serial number, I was expecting these to be different? I'd like to find out as much info from the markings etc as I can if anyone can help?

Should say its all in working order, seems to keep time perfectly whenever I've wound it up.

thank you









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RON in PA

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Welcome to the Message Board.

You have left out the most important photo that we need for ID, a sharp close-up of the movement, all of the movement.
 

topspin

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Dec 14, 2014
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As a fellow Waltham collector I'll agree with Richie, it's nice whatever it is, but it's not a Waltham. If it was a Waltham it would say so on the movement, and (usually) on the dial.

I have no idea who or what "AW" might have been.

Sizings might also be useful, e.g. overall diameter in mm excluding the bow?
 

MartyR

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Dec 16, 2008
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Hello Ryan and welcome to the board :)

What you have is an English lever 3/4 plate watch in an English 18 carat gold case made in 1885 by Amelia Wickes and Frederick Trahern of Coventry. That last information is gleaned from the hallmarks in the first photo in your later post.

The watch is keywind and keyset, and the balance wheel (probably made of gold) is uncut and uncompensated, and this would typically suggest an earlier date than 1885, but the very conservative English market certainly makes that date possible ... or it may be a recase.

Your movement photos are not sharply focussed, but the movement does look to be of a reasonable middle quality. The movement is unsigned, and this may suggest that the watch was made to be sold to a "named" retailer who would then have their name engraved on the movement. The watch may well have been made in Coventry.
 

RyanBee

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Oct 27, 2016
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Wow, thank you so much for this, that is exactly the information I wanted to find.

Would you mind me asking if I could find any books or websites on this to read up on Amelia Wickes and Frederick Traher? I had a quick Google but didn't find much info. This has been a prized possession of mine since I was around 11 years old and always make me think of my strange old granddad.

To answer above as well the face is 37mm.

Thanks again, fantastic.
 

gmorse

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Hi Ryan,

There's a section on Wickes & Trahern containing quite a lot of biographical details and dates, together with pictures of the firm's workshop, in Philip T. Priestley's book "Watch Case Makers of England 1720-1920", if you can find a copy.

Regards,

Graham
 

MartyR

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Ryan, in case my wording confused you I should make clear that Wickes and Trahern made only the case, not the movement! I do have some biographical notes on Wickes and Trahern as follows:

Alfred Wickes is first recorded at Craven St, Coventry in 1868, and in 1877 he moved to Old Allesley Rd, Coventry where he was joined by Frederick Trahern. Wickes died sometime between 1877 and 1885, at which point his place in the partnership was taken by his widow Emily Wickes. I assume that Amelia Wickes must have been the daughter of Alfred and Emily, although I cannot find documentary evidence of that. The Wickes Trahern partnership was formally dissolved in 1889.
 

RyanBee

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Oct 27, 2016
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Hi Ryan,

There's a section on Wickes & Trahern containing quite a lot of biographical details and dates, together with pictures of the firm's workshop, in Philip T. Priestley's book "Watch Case Makers of England 1720-1920", if you can find a copy.

Regards,

Graham
Thanks Graham, I will have a look out for this.

Ryan, in case my wording confused you I should make clear that Wickes and Trahern made only the case, not the movement! I do have some biographical notes on Wickes and Trahern as follows:

Alfred Wickes is first recorded at Craven St, Coventry in 1868, and in 1877 he moved to Old Allesley Rd, Coventry where he was joined by Frederick Trahern. Wickes died sometime between 1877 and 1885, at which point his place in the partnership was taken by his widow Emily Wickes. I assume that Amelia Wickes must have been the daughter of Alfred and Emily, although I cannot find documentary evidence of that. The Wickes Trahern partnership was formally dissolved in 1889.
Wow, again!

No I understood Marty, the case for me at least is just as interesting as the works. Before this week I knew very very little about my watch, so very appreciative on all the help given.

I will try and get some better pictures of the works, I struggle with my camera phone. I've always thought the hands were a strange choice of colour for the rest of the watch, but the case and general face of it I've always liked. Plus it was very different to the rest of his collection.

Ryan
 

gmorse

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Hi Martin,

According to Phil Priestley, Emily was registered at the Assay Office as Amelia for some reason.

Regards,

Graham
 

MartyR

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According to Phil Priestley, Emily was registered at the Assay Office as Amelia for some reason.
I guess the Assay Office were not used to dealing with women's names :D I think we should start a thread on female casemakers and watchmakers?
 

RyanBee

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Oct 27, 2016
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I guess the Assay Office were not used to dealing with women's names :D I think we should start a thread on female casemakers and watchmakers?
Just another quick question, is it normal the case and the works would have the same serial number? Just trying to understand the way it would have been made etc.

Ryan
 

MartyR

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Just another quick question, is it normal the case and the works would have the same serial number?
The two serial numbers would have been the same for watches made by the top-rank makers of the day, such as Frodsham, Dent, Barraud, McCabe etc.

For "lesser" makers it is relatively unusual, but it does happen!

I think the reason must be that the top makers made (or sometimes commissioned) the movement, and bought the case themselves to fit the movement, then only sold a complete cased watch. Other makers might sell the movement alone to be cased by a retailer.
 

gmorse

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Hi Dr. Jon,

Yes, very highly recommended, Martin Matthews was the last of the traditional Clerkenwell case makers, and was a lovely man by repute as well as being a peerless craftsman with the tools which had remained unchanged for all of those four generations, (and long before).

Regards,

Graham
 

RyanBee

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Oct 27, 2016
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Thank you to you all, I will bookmark the video. I wish I'd asked this years ago :)
 

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