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American Waltham Watch Company

L

Lanibear

My son was given a American Waltham Company watch when my father past away this past June, My father received this from his Uncle who if still alive would have been about 100 years old right now. I don't know how to find out what model it is or what the serial number is, Does 6411 mean anything or 11783953? Also, inside the movement it has 15 jewels. Any information someone could give would be greatly appreciated. It seems to be Sterling Silver, it has a quarter moon ans star on the inside back cover and says sterling has a box with a 3 in it then says 6411 again, the number 6411 is on this watch in about three places.on the firsat covering in the back, it also has the same moon and heart with the words C.W.C. CO, TRADEMARK and Sterling and the number 6411 Any other information I can give let me know Thank-You.....Elaine Madden Lanibearm@aol.com
 
L

Lanibear

My son was given a American Waltham Company watch when my father past away this past June, My father received this from his Uncle who if still alive would have been about 100 years old right now. I don't know how to find out what model it is or what the serial number is, Does 6411 mean anything or 11783953? Also, inside the movement it has 15 jewels. Any information someone could give would be greatly appreciated. It seems to be Sterling Silver, it has a quarter moon ans star on the inside back cover and says sterling has a box with a 3 in it then says 6411 again, the number 6411 is on this watch in about three places.on the firsat covering in the back, it also has the same moon and heart with the words C.W.C. CO, TRADEMARK and Sterling and the number 6411 Any other information I can give let me know Thank-You.....Elaine Madden Lanibearm@aol.com
 

Jon Hanson

Golden Circle
Aug 24, 2000
17,652
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63
Boston, Ma.
www.americanhorologe.com
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what is the serial number on the back brass plate of the movement where the balance wheel rotates? (NOT THE CASE NUMBER)
 

Jon Hanson

Golden Circle
Aug 24, 2000
17,652
134
63
Boston, Ma.
www.americanhorologe.com
Country
Region
Model: 83
Grade: No. 820,
18 Size
15 Jewels
style: open face
approx year 1902-03
 

Kent

Gibbs Literary Award
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Aug 26, 2000
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Elaine:

Welcome to the NAWCC Pocket Watch esage Board!

The American Waltham Watch Co. (Waltham, MA) had its origins in the 1850's. It was the first successful company in America to manufacture watches in mass production using machinery to make identical (or at least, near identical) parts. Over the next hundred years or so of its existence, its output of jeweled watches (over 34 million) was only exceeded by one other company, the National Watch Co. at Elgin, IL. Commonly referred to as "Waltham," the company made a full line of watches ranging from modest, affordable watches to some of the finest watches made in this country.

You can find out some basic facts about your Waltham watch by entering the serial number on the movement (the "works") in the field on the NAWCC Information Storage - Waltham Serial Number Data Base (don't use any commas). There is also a Glossary of the terms provided by the serial number lookup. Should the date not be listed there, this Waltham Production Date chart is a means for determining the approximate production date.

Having looked your watch up at the above website (using 11783953 as the movement serial number), it can be seen to be, as Jon said, an 18-size watch. It is a 15-jewel, grade No. 820, built in about 1903.

Catalog Information for some Waltham watches can be seen online in scans from the catalogs listed below. Check the 1903 Oy Co. catalog to where your watch movement fit in the Waltham line.

1887 (Updated to 1889) S.F. Myers Catalog at:
www.elginwatches.com/scans/sales_catalogs/1887_S_F_Myers/m_index.html

1896 Marshall Field Jewelry Catalog at:
www.elginwatches.com/scans/sales_catalogs/1896_Marshall_Field/m_index.html

1903 Oy Company Catalog at:
www.elginwatches.com/scans/sales_catalogs/1903_Oy_Company/m_index.html

1917 Oskamp-Nolting Catalog at:
www.elginwatches.com/scans/sales_catalogs/1917_Oskamp-Nolting/m_index.html

1926 Waltham Sales Catalog at:
www.elginwatches.com/scans/sales_catalogs/1926_Waltham/m_index.html

To view these catalogs, go to the Elgin Watch Collectors Site Home Page at elginwatches.com, then copy and paste the address in your browser's address bar and click on 'Go'.

Only a small percentage of American watches (or Swiss watches for the North American market) were cased at the factories prior to the mid-1920's. Most watch companies just made movements (the "works") in industry standard sizes. The case companies made cases in those same sizes. The practice at that time was to go to a jeweler, select the quality of the movement and then pick out the desired style and quality of case. The jeweler would then fit the movement to the case in a matter of moments.

Or, watches were sold by mail-order. Large outfits such as Sears, Roebuck & Co., Montgomery Ward, or T. Eaton (in Canada), would offer the movements in a variety of cases of different design and quality in their catalogs. Smaller mail-order retailers would case the watches, typically in a 20-year gold filled case and offer it only that way, with the buyer not having a choice of cases.

However, the markings inside of your case indicate that it is a 3-oz. sterling silver case made by the Crescent Watch Case Co. According to "History of the American Watch Case," Warren H. Niebling, Whitmore Publishing, Philadelphia, PA, 1971 (available on loan by mail to members from the NAWCC Library & Research Center):

From page 48:
The Chicago Watch Case Co. started in Chicago in 1882, manufacturing gold cases, mostly 10K. Around 1885, the firm moved to Brooklyn, NY, where, after a reorganization, it was renamed as the Crescent Watch Case Co. All production was sold through the Waltham Co. agents, Robbins & Appleton. The distinctive Crescent Watch Case Co. trade mark can be seen in a old ref::1901 Crescent Ad.

In 1904 the Crescent Watch Case Co. was merged with the Philadelphia Watch Case Co., Bates and Bacon and the Keystone Watch Case Co.

From page 7:
"... After a series of mergers in 1904 the name became the Keystone Watch Case Co., Riverside, N.J."

Regardless of the company's name, the cases continued to be stamped with the previous, well-known trade names.

Prior to the 1904 merger that resulted in the Crescent Watch Case Co. becoming part of the Keystone Watch Case Co., Crescent had bought up several other watch case companies that had made silver cases (among others), thus expanding their capacity (see link, below).

Good luck,
 
L

Lanibear

Thank-You Thank-You Thank-You My son cherishes this watch his grandad gave him and will be so thrilled to read about his watch. Hey that Georgia guy, My dad was from Alabama I live in Massachusetts now but I guess you and dad were kind of neighbors. Again thanks for all the information, I know my son will greatly appreciate it as I do.
 

Kent

Gibbs Literary Award
NAWCC Star Fellow
NAWCC Gold Member
Aug 26, 2000
18,711
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113
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Elaine:

You're welcome. A family heirloom like your watch should be treasured and taken care of.

Watches that are carried daily need to be cleaned and oiled at regular intervals. Railroad time service rules varied, but requirements for cleaning on a basis of once every year and a half were typical for railroaders at the turn of the century. By the mid-1920’s this was extended to two year intervals.

The 1897 "Sears, Roebuck and Co., Inc. Catalogue No. 104," Chicago, IL, 1897, reprinted by Chelsea House, Philadelphia, PA, 1968 had this to say on page 371:

"We Guarantee for Five Years All the movements sold by us. This does not refer to the life of the movement, but that we will for five years from date of purchase, correct free of charge any fault which may occur from defective material or workmanship. Any well made movement will run a lifetime if properly cared for.
"Remember That your watch should not run longer than one and one-half years without having the old oil cleaned off and fresh oil supplied. This must be done at the expense of the purchaser.
"The balance wheel of all modern watches makes 18,000 beats or revolutions per hour; 432,000 per day, or 157,788,000 per year. An engine or sewing machine will be oiled several times per day, but we have known people to carry a watch for ten years without having it cleaned or fresh oil applied.
"Usually, a movement thus treated is of no value, being entirely worn out. Take good care of your watch if you wish it to perform its duty properly, for it is a very delicate machine. Our charge for cleaning and oiling is 75 cents. The regular retail price is $1.50."


Watch cleaning and oiling costs a bit more today than it did a hundred years ago. Check out What You Need To Know About Watch Repair at Wayne Schlitt's Elgin Website:
<span class="ev_code_brown">www.midwestcs.com/elgin/help/watch_repair.html</span>
<span class="ev_code_blue">To view, go to the </span><span class="ev_code_brown">Elgin Watch Collectors Site Home Page at elginwatches.com</span>, <span class="ev_code_blue">then copy and paste the address in your browser's address bar and click on </span>'Go'.

Also, Ed Ueberall, of The Escapement has put together some notes on the Use And Care of Your Vintage Watch that should be helpful.
fixme7111936
 

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