Odd Waltham?

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by topspy, Feb 21, 2020.

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  1. topspy

    topspy Registered User
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    I have a Waltham 18s keywind model 1877 That the pocketwatchdatabase says is a P.S. Bartlett. This one is marked "Davis & McCullough Special" instead. Is there any info about this or special significance? Thanks for any info... Waltham of mine.JPG
     
  2. Rick Hufnagel

    Rick Hufnagel Just Rick!
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    Hi topspy,
    It's a private label, if that's what you mean. I can't read the location, but most of the fun of buying a private label is researching the jeweler!

    For a price, (I don't know how Waltham did it) the watch companies would stick a jewelery store name on the movement and/or dial.

    Cool watch!

    P.s. thanks for the reply in the other thread, I will look into what you mentioned!
     
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  3. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
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    Here is a link to the wiki on private labels watches.
    Private Label Watch

    How is the dial marked?


    Rob
     
  4. John Cote

    John Cote Director
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    #4 John Cote, Feb 21, 2020
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 21, 2020
    According to The Jeweler's Circular, April 13, 1898, Davis & McCullough Jewelry of Hamilton Ontario went out of business and their stock was offered at auction without success. It was decided to sell it at private sale and that there was a possibility that WR Davis might become the sole proprietor.

    Anyway...nice watch. I love private labels. I have a bunch of these worthless things in my safe deposit box. They make me happy even if they are worthless. ;)
     
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  5. Rick Hufnagel

    Rick Hufnagel Just Rick!
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    There are plenty of people who collect and enjoy all types of watches.


    Judging by the old winky face, I'm sure I've missed an inside reference here, but worthless? I think that's completely absurd. For the record!

    Researching the label is incredibly interesting. Preserving these private label watches is important. In some instances there may only have ever been a few watches made with that label.
     
  6. ben_hutcherson

    ben_hutcherson Registered User
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    I can't speak for John, but I've known him a long time and consider him a good friend.

    He and I, along with a bunch of other people, collect PL watches pretty extensively. The wheres, whys, hows, and some of the interesting things that happen with them are the stuff of legendary mart room and hotel bar discussions(I'm a complete teetotler, but have been part of many of the latter and have learned more than you will ever find published and I love being part of those).

    Unfortunately, a lot of collectors undervalue PLs as compared to factory marked watches. There are certainly notable exceptions(find a straight Kendrick Ball or any other PL Ball in decent shape with the correct dial for a sub-4-figure price and I'll simultaneously congratulate you and be incredibly jealous of you) but a PL can-in many cases-be a tough sell to the wrong buyer and simultaneously an easy sell to the right buyer. The "right buyers" are few and far between, though, in my experience, although I can't speak 100% first hand as I haven't sold a huge number of the PLs I've acquired over the years.

    It's made extra complicated too with companies like Illinois where there's sometimes no clear grade to which you can assign a PL, and they can be "upgraded" or "downgraded" from what a readily available reference(Erhardt/Meggars and Snyder for Illinois) says. As an example, and I know this is really side-tracking, Illinois made a whole pile of watches with the grade designation 65-E, and the vast majority were PLs(I think John at one time had the factory marked 21J, which has to be the most difficult one to find). Only a handful(a few hundred IIRC) were 21J per the serial number list. I've had two. One early one is a PL for a Toronto jeweler, and I'd challenge anyone to find a way that it's not fully equivalent to a Bunn Special grade. It's marked "21 Ruby Jewels" and both the visible and under-dial steelwork are finished to Bunn/Bunn Special standards. The only thing it's really lacking is a known BS demaskeen pattern, and instead is more in line with a lower grade watch. A late one that I sold to a member here was signed for John C. Pierik, Springfield IL, a PL which I've affectionately referred to as "The Illinois Watch Company Close-Out store." It has the "sunburst" Bunn demaskeen, is marked "21 Jewels"(not 21 Ruby Jewels) and 5 positions(Bunn Specials were marked 6). Some of the steelwork is BS grade, some not. These are all fascinating to me, but many collectors pass them by.
     
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  7. John Cote

    John Cote Director
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    Rick,

    Absurdity and cynicism are my hallmarks. Sorry...I thought the weird face would clue everyone in to that. I suppose my comment was meant to say that my PLs are a pleasure to me and therefore worth much more (to me) than the horrible pocket watch market would otherwise lead us to believe.

    It is a great time to be a lover of pocket watches...unless you spend time fretting about the low values. For myself...I love what is in my collection regardless of the market and with the market the way it is I am buying like mad.
     
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  8. Jim Haney

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    Rick,

    I believe you missed the ;););););););), Don't get so serious about these things that you miss the humor, because John is simply poking fun at himself.


    I see John got to it first.
     
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  9. John Cote

    John Cote Director
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    I have always thought that I was my own easiest target...I guess I am a bully. :p
     
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  10. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
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    I'm glad that most collectors here on the forum value them highly. For me, they are some
    of my favorite watches. Except for the Hamilton ones;););)



    Rob
     
  11. Rick Hufnagel

    Rick Hufnagel Just Rick!
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    Ben I certainly share your fascination with private label watches. What further puts me in a minority is the time period, types of movements and companies I enjoy. I have a lot to learn and really enjoy the process.

    There wasn't any hostility in my previous post. Just a statement. I'm a sarcastic jagoff normally. I see I rocked the whole boat here. Gotta keep you fellers on your toes.



    Where I'm coming from, so it doesn't seem like i was just inexplicably ranting, is that I and many others I've met along the way study, collect, and have a passion for these types of things that I continuously see being cast off as insignificant timepieces. Maybe it's just a sore spot.
     
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  12. topspin

    topspin Registered User

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    Returning to the original watch...
    If you were to examine it in detail, I see no reason to not expect the insides to be pretty much the same as any other PS Bartlett of the same model & era.
    I guess the makers didn't actually label it as "PS Bartlett" because that would have been overkill and all that writing would have looked a bit cramped & cluttered.

    Private Labels are indeed an interesting thing to collect - either lots of different watches with the same label, or lots of different labels on the same model, or some other permutation, or just the one-in-a-thousand that's from your favourite area or happens to have your surname, or.....
     
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  13. topspy

    topspy Registered User
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    The dial is just marked "A.W.Co Waltham" Perhaps a later replacement? If a private label you would think it would be on the dial also, but perhaps not.
     
  14. topspy

    topspy Registered User
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    Under the Davis and McCullough it is marked "Waltham Mass."
    Thanks for all the info everyone! The watch needs a complete overhaul and crystal. I'll put it in my queue to work on.....one of these days if I ever get caught up!
     
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  15. Rick Hufnagel

    Rick Hufnagel Just Rick!
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    great invoice from 1881 for the jeweler.

    Invoice to William Busby from Davis & McCullough (Dec. 2, 1881) - in which William Busby purchased watches for what appears to be $25.43 from Davis & McCullough watch importers (Hamilton).

    Address is on there too, good start for research.

    That was just a quick Google search, but a neat item to find, I'm always grateful to the people who upload such information. Maybe the Oakville historical society would enjoy a picture of your watch, or be able to give you more information on the jeweler.
     
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  16. topspy

    topspy Registered User
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    That's very cool! I'll print one to go with the watch. Thanks!
     
  17. ben_hutcherson

    ben_hutcherson Registered User
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    There's no hard and fast rules about whether a PL will be signed on the dial, the movement, or both.

    Many people are skeptical of watches signed only on the movement but with a factory dial, but I've seen specific examples where enough PLs in the same block turned up with the same factory dial to believe they are correct/original. It can be an uphill battle to prove this, though-the default is to assume it's a replacement, but there again I don't necessarily automatically jump to that conclusion.

    I've have read/heard that at various times, different manufacturers had different policies as to charging for signing a dial vs. a movement, and sometimes the latter was done at no charge while the former was an extra charge I suspect this is SOME of the explanation, but I have never seen anything in writing to support this, much less what the specific polices were on it and which manufacturers.
     
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  18. Clint Geller

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    #18 Clint Geller, Feb 22, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2020
    Well, in the case of one manufacturer, E. Howard & Co., dozens of private label dials are known, but with one notable exception, no private label-marked movements have been seen. The one notable and prominent exception is, of course, the Ball Howards, which carried the Ball name on both their movements and dials. However, these movements all were made after Edward Howard retired, and the movements that Howard made for Ball also were unique in several other respects.
     
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  19. Mark Kauzlarich

    Mark Kauzlarich Registered User
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    I'm newly back into the hobby, with very little knowledge base so I'm being cautious with what I'm buying, but I feel the same way. The prices are great for buying. I don't have a good frame of reference for how much to spend but I'm finding things that are interesting to me within a range of what I've seen similar past watches go for. So I've far picked up one with maybe two more to come soon.
     

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