Need info on Waltham 645 Scepter 21 Jewel

Rosanne S.

New User
Oct 11, 2018
3
1
3
69
Country
20181011_170831.jpg 20181011_171250.jpg 20181011_102940.jpg 20181011_103331.jpg
Hello Everyone. I'm new here asking for information on this watch which was given to me, in particular its age. I know next to nothing about watches! It is a Waltham Model 645 screw-on back open face. Inside the back cover it says GUARANTEED 25 YEARS and has the number 0188160. 21 jewels, 5 positions. Adjusted. I couldn't find a picture of one with this exact design. I took it to a jeweler for a quick review, but they couldn't give me an exact year of manufacture. Apparently the mechanism inside was spinning, it apparently has balance problems and needs repair, especially since the inside works are not communicating with the face. It has a lot of jeweler markings inside, and the jeweler said the original glass was replaced with plastic. It is a beautiful design, but I would really like to know the age. Any thoughts?
 
  • Like
Reactions: viclip

richiec

NAWCC Member
Feb 24, 2007
7,200
920
113
69
Brick, Ocean, NJ
Country
Region
To give you good information, we need a clear picture of the serial number on the watch movement itself, can only read the last 4 digits. The case style would be probably 1930's-40's. it is a railroad approved watch.
 

Tom McIntyre

Technical Admin
Staff member
NAWCC Star Fellow
NAWCC Ruby Member
Sponsor
Golden Circle
Aug 24, 2000
85,199
2,939
113
86
Boston
awco.org
Country
Region
It looks to me like the number is 17179316.

We do not have accurate date information for serial numbers later than 7.5 million, but the watch was made around 1915 give or take a couple of years. It is a 21J 1908 model Grade 645 as marked. This was the "standard" railroad watch that replaced the Crescent St./riverside for a period when there was an effort on the railroad side to require watches to have numeric grades to avoid confusion between similar grade names.

Waltham was not enthusiastic about it.
 

captainscarlet

Registered User
Oct 15, 2013
497
66
28
Country
Region
[QUOTE="Ros
especially since the inside works are not communicating with the face.[/QUOTE]
Hi Rosanne this is a 'lever set watch. Try unscrewing the bezel that holds the glass and you should find a small lever at the edge of the dial at around 1 o'clock. Pull it out and try setting the time with the crown.
 

Rosanne S.

New User
Oct 11, 2018
3
1
3
69
Country
20181011_214510.jpg
You are correct on the number. (Sorry, I'm not a very good photographer either!) The jeweler was guessing around 1915 as well. Thank you all very much for the replies. I can't seem to get the front part off...it's very, very tight...so I'll have to get help with the lever thing.
 

musicguy

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 12, 2017
9,993
7,453
113
New York State
Country
Hi Rosanne S. welcome to the NAWCC forum.
You have a 21-jewel railroad grade watch.
These are high grade watches and are in the top tier of all jeweled pocket
watches that were made in the U.S.
Just a note that the 645 (from what I've read on this site) is in the
lower end of the high grade watches.
Your watch has the quintessential double sunk Railroad Montgomery Dial( (Marginal minute dial)
where each minute is numbered 1 through 60 in a complete ring around the outer edge of the
dial’s face. You have a very nice watch.
I recommend not using a local jeweler that
might not be familiar with pocket watches
but a person who deals primarily with them.

Have it serviced and enjoy it!


Rob
 
Last edited:

Kent

Gibbs Literary Award
NAWCC Star Fellow
NAWCC Gold Member
Aug 26, 2000
18,663
2,474
113
Country
Hi Rosanne S.:

Welcome to the NAWCC American Pocket Watch Message Board!

Please add my welcome to those of the others. To add to the good information posted by them:

Please excuse me if I repeat some of what you already know, 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 17179316 can be seen to be
a 16-size,
model 1908,
grade N0. 645,
Adjusted to Temperature, Five Positions and Isochronism,
lever-set,
open-face movement,
having 21 jewels,
and a Starwheel Patent Regulator.
It was built in about 1909, give or take a year or so. This was a popular movement of which over 53,000 of this variation were made.

You can see a catalog description of the No. 645 grade, along with a picture and where it fits in Waltham's line of 16-size movements, on pages W4 & W3 of the Oskamp-Nolting Co. Great American Jewelry Catalog 1917.

Your Watch Case is gold-filled and was made by the Star Watch Case Co. Its design of the bow and low pendant suggests that the case is 15 years or more newer than the movement. This could be so if the origianl case wore out and the movement was recased.

Your watch is a railroad watch, one that was widely accepted into railroad time service at the time it was built.

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.

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,

pg_W4_Waltham_16S.jpg pg_W3_Waltham_18S_&_16S.jpg 1917_Feb_Walthan_645_Potter_Master_RR_Watch.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: musicguy

Rosanne S.

New User
Oct 11, 2018
3
1
3
69
Country
Wow! You are all so very knowledgeable and helpful. I certainly came to the right place. Thank you all for the replies!
 

Tom McIntyre

Technical Admin
Staff member
NAWCC Star Fellow
NAWCC Ruby Member
Sponsor
Golden Circle
Aug 24, 2000
85,199
2,939
113
86
Boston
awco.org
Country
Region
Kent, do you have an idea why they had a difference in price between the Crescent St. and the 645?
 

Kent

Gibbs Literary Award
NAWCC Star Fellow
NAWCC Gold Member
Aug 26, 2000
18,663
2,474
113
Country
Kent, do you have an idea why they had a difference in price between the Crescent St. and the 645?
I can only guess at the reasons (pure speculation - but call them 'educated guesses'):

Marketing - Waltham's marketing department may have wanted a low price, 'entry level' (to use a modern term) 16-size, 21-jewel railroad movement to meet the competition. After all, until relatively recent years General Motors offered Chevys; Pontiacs; Oldsmobiles; Buicks and Caddys.

Also the No. 645 may have been adjusted to five positions and met the required rate of +/- 30 seconds per week, but the Crescent St. may have been adjusted to a tighter rate then the No. 645.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
177,626
Messages
1,556,821
Members
53,634
Latest member
Mikel Edd
Encyclopedia Pages
909
Total wiki contributions
3,058
Last edit
Watch Inspectors by Kent