American Waltham Watch Co

Mharris

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Dec 26, 2010
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My wife received her grandfathers watch for xmas. He was a NY city trolley conductor and bought this pocket watch in the early 1900's used. According to the records on the web it is a AWWCo 1888 no 20 (serial num 7471157) but I can't find out much more. The watch has AWW Co WALTHAM, MASS written on the top. The case says ROYAL 14k 366992 on the inside and is decorated in etched leaves and flowers. It looks in good condition but won't wind. If I hold the winder tight it starts running. Any ideas on history, problem and value?
 

Kent

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Hi Mharris:

Checking the references listed in the Waltham Watches Encyclopedia article, Waltham movement serial number 7471157 can be seen to be a grade No. 20 which is a modest, 16-size, 7-jewel, hunting-case movement, made (as you determined) in about 1897, give or take a year or so. This was a popular watch, of which not quite 150,000 (just in the hunting-case version) were made between about 1891 and 1902.

The Royal watch case may have been made by Bates & Bacon, we'd need to see pictures of the markings inside of the case back to be sure. You can ignore any "hand-scratched" characters, they're watch repairers' marks. If it is a B&B Royal case, it would be gold-filled, not solid gold.

It sounds like it may have a mainspring issue, but I can't be sure, you would have to get it to a competent watch repair person to be sure. In any case, 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.

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 (model 1888, 7-jewel, hunting-case, gold-filled case) 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 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! Also, a solid gold case instead of a nickel or gold-filled case will make a difference as well.

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,
 

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