Another Waltham

Thomas Boyd

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Apr 9, 2017
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This watch was my father's, and it might have been his father's, too. I'd like to know a bit more about it, and the photo of the movement should provide experts and collectors with any and all useful information. I've looked at several photos on line and am guessing it might be from the early 20th c. It no longer works but appears to be very clean inside. I can pull on the stem and adjust the hands but pushing in on it to wind it doesn't seem to do anything, although I can hear the ratchet while doing that, but it seems to have no effect. I have no plans to have it repaired or made to work but just out of curiousity, are vintage watches like this repairable?

The case is marked Keystone inside the lid. Did an original buyer have a choice of cases? Initials ("McK"??) are engraved on the case but I don't think they represent a family member.

I know the value of this watch isn't great -- maybe $100 or so, but no matter -- I just plan to hold on to it as a family keepsake.

Thank you for your time,

Tom Boyd

P1100223.jpg P1100232.jpg P1100224.jpg P1100225.jpg
 

Ethan Lipsig

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Thomas Boyd , I believe that what you have is a circa 1890 ladies watch, a "Lady Waltham", size 6. It looks to be a reasonably good-quality movement. It sounds like your watch has a broken mainspring. If that's all, it shouldn't be expensive to fix but you should not run the watch except on rare occasions unless you have it cleaned and serviced. You are right that the movement isn't worth much. Waltham made quite a few Lady Walthams; they are not scarce. If the case is solid gold, most of the watch's value would be in the case. Keystone made solid gold cases as well as gold-filled cases. Post photos of the insides of all the covers. The markings should tell whether the case is solid gols.
 

musicguy

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MrRoundel

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The Lady Walthams are a very nice grade of 6s watch. While it is possible that a man who hated large pocket watches would wear such a size, it's more likely that it belonged to a woman or a young boy. I'm betting on it being a woman. Maybe it belonged to your grandmother who had it when she went by her maiden name?

It looks to me like the case says that it is guaranteed to wear for 25(?) years. If it does have such a marking, it means it is a high quality gold-filled case.

The movement looks clean, and as Musicguy said, it probably worth getting it serviced, especially if it doesn't need a lot of work outside of a cleaning and oiling. The regulator on the balance cock, where it says "Fast" and "Slow" has been set over to the farthest "Slow" point. That probably means that the hairspring is either dirty or has been magnetized. Both should be simple fixes for a watchmaker.

Good luck with your heirloom.
 
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Ethan Lipsig

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Thomas, if you do get the watch restored, have your watchmaker "soak" the dial in an appropriate cleaning solution (the watchmaker should know what to use). That will make the hairline cracks on the dial nearly disappear, materially improving the watch's appearance.
 

musicguy

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While it is possible that a man who hated large pocket watches would wear such a size, it's more likely that it belonged to a woman or a young boy.
Although 100% correct, I really like to carry this size. It's
really a nice size watch. I have a bunch of them.


Rob
 

MrRoundel

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Although 100% correct, I really like to carry this size. It's
really a nice size watch. I have a bunch of them.


Rob
I agree that they are a nice size of pocket watch. One of those things we'll never know, unless perhaps a watch's inscription clues us in, just how many men wore 6s watches as pocket watches. There are certainly very good arguments to be made for keeping a smaller watch in your pocket. And the 6s still present relatively large numerals from which to read the time.

I will admit that the diameter of a 6s pocket watch movement dwarfs most of my wrist watches, which are small by today's standards. ...and admit that the sizes around you have grown...the sizes, they are a changin'. ;)
 

Kent

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Hi Tom:

To add to the good information posted by the others:

Please excuse me if I repeat some of what you already know, or has already been posted, it's easier for me this way. Checking the references listed in the Waltham Watches Encyclopedia article (and looking at your pictures), Waltham movement serial number 11,041,199 can be seen to be
a 6-size,
model 1890,
Lady Waltham grade,
Adjusted to Temperature,
pendant-set,
hunting movement,
having 16 jewels,
and a Star-wheel Patent Regulator.
The movement is fitted with a single-sunk, Roman dial having a R5MT (Red 5 Minute Track).
It was built in about 1902, give or take a year or so. This was a popular movement of which over 13,000 of this variation were made (alomg with another 39,000 which weren't in the records whether they were hunting or open-face) from about 1899 to 1916.

If your Watch Case was made by the Keystone Watch Case Co., you can look it up in the Encyclopedia article.

Unless you know that it has been properly cleaned and oiled within the last few years, 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. The Encyclopedia article on Choosing a Pocket Watch Repair Person may be useful as well.

I have no plans to have it repaired or made to work but just out of curiousity, are vintage watches like this repairable?

The case is marked Keystone inside the lid. Did an original buyer have a choice of cases?
Yes your watch is repairable. The Watch Case Encyclopedia article explains how watches were put into various cases.

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 - or as far back as you can go, including (and clearly identifying) what you can guess. 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. You might even include a CD or, better yet, a USB thumb drive with copies of the pictures or information, in addition to the printouts. Even though they may not be readable 100 years from now, some more recent descendent may transfer the files to the then current format and media. 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.

Unfortunately, many of the links in our Encyclopedia articles were disrupted when we changed to the current version of our Message Board and its been a long process getting them all reinstated. So, if you come across a broken link and want to see what it led to, just let us know and we'll try and post it.

Please feel free to ask about anything that isn't clear to you.

Good luck,
 

Thomas Boyd

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Thank you all very much for your time and knowledge, and for the links to further information. When MrRoundel wrote, "Maybe it belonged to your grandmother," I restudied the engraved initials on the case. I now think the first and third initials are "A" and "B," and that would make it my grandmother's (Annie Boyd). There is also a small folding knife attached to the other end of the watch chain and it is engraved "DFB," my father's initials. He was a banker and a photo from the late 1940s shows him in a three-piece suit. So the watch, chain and knife seem to comprise the perfect set of accessories (with the knife as a letter opener). As for the case itself, the interior of the front side has only a serial (?) number: 7025798. The interior of the rear side repeats that number, above which is the maker's identification (Keystone) and symbol, including an image of a set of scales. I'm no photographer but I think the attached photo is at least readable. All this almost makes me wish I still had the three-piece suit I had in the Seventies ....

P1100239.JPG
 

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