Dating Waltham A-17 wristwatch

Discussion in 'Wrist Watches' started by Larry Jones 98326, Nov 20, 2001.

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  1. tym99,

    I'm pretty sure the "AF-56" prefix to your serial number refers to an Air Force contract of 1956, indicating that the watch was made no earlier than that date.

    You might look again, the movement should also have a serial number that can be dated with the Waltham table.

  2. I can't find a serial number list that shows the later numbers like you have. I'm fairly certain about what I said above regarding contract dates.

  3. Elgin used letters to substitute for numbers on some of their watches, but I can't find any reference for Waltham doing this, including the Waltham parts books. Part of the problem is that I don't have any references more recent than 1957.

    No one else has jumped in with an answer, which normally means no one else has a reference, either.......
  4. Wayne,

    I thought I had a list too, but can't find it if I do. I don't know when Waltham gave up on watches, but they did continue to make aircraft clocks into the 1990's.

  5. This little problem has driven me nuts on a few of my watches-- there seem to be 2 uses of "Letter" prefixes in the serial number list.
    1. On page 128 of the list is a footnote that states, "Some small movements are numbered with a Letter representing the first 3 or 4 Digits, as in 450 Model D08001 (27,808,001)" This is understandable as there just wasn't any space for the full serial number. BUT!!
    2. On page 134 of the serial number list, under the heading "Supplementary Information" sub-headed "Abbreviated Numbers with Letters (Small Watches) Waltham seems to have switched usage of letters to indicate models of small watches as well as first movement made production dates. Thus the "D" of the 450 model above could also identify a 670 model which could, alternatively, have the letter "C" on the movement. BUT!!
    3. There IS a listing for tym99's Q86,480 on page 133 of serial number book. The listing reads: 6/0 size, AO (model), S.S. D (grade), 17 jewels, POS (setting), R.B. (style). This is listed as being made in March 1952. So we have a 6/0 D, Sweep Second, 17 jewel watch with a Running Barrel. (Does anyone know what the "AO" and "POS" (easy boys!!) stand for?) BUT "Q" is not listed as model designation letter as in #2 above. It looks to my cursory reading of the list as though Waltham was using letter prefixes, at the end of their existence, as a substitute for 3 digits as in #1 above and this is borne out by the fact that the letters seem to advance in correct chronological sequence.
    So, there you have it, clear as mud, and not as much fun.
    I have heard rumors of a serial number list that covers the absolute end of Waltham production. Is it possible to get a copy of this? I have at least 2 watches that come after the 1953 serial number book ends and I'd love to be able to look them up.
  6. Wally,

    I'll take a stab at POS meaning positive setting, or what we more commonly call Swiss style with integral stem. Not sure on the AO

    tym99, I would think that the 1952 manufacture date isn't a big conflict with the 1956 case date, given the end of WWII and Korea and possible overproduction of movements?

  7. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    I work at the Veritas Tools machine shop.
    Nepean, Ontario, Canada
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    Anyone have a idea as to when the last Waltham A-17 watch was made?

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