My American Waltham Pocket (Railroad?) Watch

N

nnicko

Hi! I'm trying to get some info on my grandfather's American Waltham pocket watch e.g. model,year made, etc. I've searched the web without much success. The serial number on the movement is 16574322 and it has 15 jewels. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!!
 
N

nnicko

Hi! I'm trying to get some info on my grandfather's American Waltham pocket watch e.g. model,year made, etc. I've searched the web without much success. The serial number on the movement is 16574322 and it has 15 jewels. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!!
 

Kent

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Hii nnicko:

Welcome to the NAWCC Pocket Watch Message Board!

To add to what Tom told you, your grandfather's watch movement is a Waltham grade No. 820. You can see a catalog description and picture, and see where the watch fit into Waltham's line of 18-size watch movements, on page 76 of the 1903 Oy Company Catalog at:
<span class="ev_code_brown">www.elginwatches.com/scans/sales_catalogs/1903_Oy_Company/m_index.html</span>

<span class="ev_code_blue">To view, go to the </span><span class="ev_code_brown">Elgin Watch Collectors Site Home Page</span> <span class="ev_code_blue">at</span> <span class="ev_code_brown">elginwatches.org</span>, <span class="ev_code_blue">then copy and paste the address in your browser's address bar and click on </span>'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 (even then, uncased movements were furnished to the trade at least until the 1960'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.

Note: The grade of a case is the quality of the materials and work that went into it. Each case grade was offered in many different engraved designs.

A short history of American watch cases, within the online article "<span class="ev_code_brown">Decorative Aspects of American Horology</span>," by Philip Poniz, can be viewed on The Antiquorum Magazine website.

If you can tell us about (or post a picture of) the trade marks or names stamped into the inside back of the case, we may be able to tell you a little about the case material and its manufacturer.

Good luck,
fixme7111936
 

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