Please show your Waltham Model 1872's - all grades

Clint Geller

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I thought I would start a thread dedicated to my favorite watch model: The Waltham Model 1872. I'll get the ball rolling with one of mine: 21 jewel open face AWCo Grade Model 1872 SN 2,788,104, bright nickel finish, glass enamel A.W.Co. dial, 14K "Waltham" drum style case. I've shown this one before, but I'll have two recent acquisitions, in addition to several other older ones, to show fairly shortly.

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musicguy

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Great thread keep them coming!


Rob
 

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I thought I would start a thread dedicated to my favorite watch model: The Waltham Model 1872. I'll get the ball rolling with one of mine: 21 jewel open face AWCo Grade Model 1872 SN 2,788,104, bright nickel finish, glass enamel A.W.Co. dial, 14K "Waltham" drum style case. I've shown this one before, but I'll have two recent acquisitions, in addition to several other older ones, to show fairly shortly.
What were the prices on these in 1885(for just the movement)?


Rob
 

Clint Geller

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These are my earliest and latest 1872 model movements. On the left is "Park Road" #750,424. On the right is a "Royal" grade movement #4,146,661.
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The dials are in the same relative position.
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The NAWCC-info Waltham serial number research utility indicates that the very first Model 1872 was 15 jewel "Amn Watch Co." Grade movement SN 600,001, finished in May of 1871. I wonder how close in SN the folks here can get to that movement. I am guessing movement SN 600,001 is pin set, though the complete watch is either button set or, nail set with Fitch's case attachment, like the first run of 18 jewel "American Watch Co." Grade movements at SN 670,001, but it would be great to actually know this.

Jerry, would you happen to know whether the Park Road's at SN 750,401 were the first lever set Model 1872's?

Here is my first run AWCo Grade example, SN 670,095, which was one of three movements from that same run cited for exceptional performance at the famous timing trials at the Philadelphia Centennial Expo and the subsequent longer trial at the Detroit Observatory in Ann Arbor. It exhibits an isochronism adjustment screw on the balance cock, and Fitch's patented nail setting mechanism in the case. More standard AWCo Grade features, Fogg's cam regulator and safety pinion, are also present. The 18K AWCo case is smooth polished, and always was. We know of at least one other extant watch from this famous trio from the Centennial trials, perhaps the best performer of the three. Perhaps Tom McIntyre can be persuaded to show it here.

Movement SN 670,095 has endstones on both sides of the escape wheel pinion, but a hole jewel only on the top plate side of the center wheel pinion. The watch features the earlier style of three-line signature glass enamel dial, which is subtly different than the 3-line signature dials of inferior quality that appear on some much later movements.

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musicguy

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Many of these prices include solid gold cases

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Rob
 

Clint Geller

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Many of these prices include solid gold cases

View attachment 730099


Rob
A very interesting ad, Rob. It requires some interpretation, since it apparently refers to "American" Grade watches, "Am'n" Grade watches, and "Am" Grade watches, all as "American Watch Co." watches. Also, endstones, other than those on the balance staff, were not counted in the jewel count. Thus, "five pairs" apparently refers to a 21 jewel AWCo Grade watch, "4 and half pairs" refers to a sixteen jewel Am'n Grade watch, and "4 pairs" refers to a fifteen jewel AM Grade watch. The prices quoted for silver cased watches come closest to movement prices. I don't know whether Waltham was making "nonmagnetic" movements by 1887, but there was a significant price premium on those, especially in the upper grades.
 
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musicguy

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Clint Geller

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This next Model 1872 example I have not shown before, as my watchmaker just got finished with it. It is 21 jewel American Watch Co. Grade movement SN 1,427,904, out of the fifth short run of twenty AWCo Grade Model 1872 movements. At least by serial number, SN 1,427,904 is the fourth open face AWCo Grade movement (other than perhaps the Charles vander Woerd experimental movement), one of a total of 180 open face "gold dome" Model 1872 movements, referring to the raised gold section of the balance cock surrounding the upper balance jewel setting. However, this movement has bright nickel finish, an unusual combination with a gold dome, suggesting that it was completed somewhat later than it was begun. 21 jewel AWCo Grade hunting case Movement SN 2,605,261, which lacks the gold dome, has virtually the same sublime damaskeening pattern. The Fifth Run of open face 21 jewel AWCo Grade Model 1872 movements exemplified by the movement shown here was the final run to feature an Old English style black-inlaid signature engraved on the top plate. The AWCo box-hinged case contains 55 pennyweights of 18K gold. I am not usually that partial to box-hinged cases, but I am delighted with this one. The style of Old English "A. W. Co." glass enamel dial, which succeeded the earlier three-line signature style, is combined on this watch with elegant Breguet "moon style" hands. By this Fifth Run of AWCo Grade Model 1872 movements most examples featured winding wheels with bevelled edges, but this feature may have debuted sporadically as early as the Third Run. (Serial number order and completion date order do not perfectly coincide.)

Like the hunting case Third Run of AWCo Grade Model 1872's at SN 999,901, the twenty movements of the open face Fifth Run at SN 1,427,901 advertise Charles vander Woerd's middle temperature compensating sawtooth balance on their top plates. However, no example from this short open face run is actually known originally to have had such a balance. The dial plates also exhibit the much more common "Woerd's Patents" marking associated with other features of the movements.

A long-time friend of mine graciously agreed to sell me this watch recently. I'm guessing it had been in his collection for at least 25 years. After my watchmaker was done with it, it gained fewer than 5 seconds in 36 hours.

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musicguy

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Very nice!


Rob
 

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I think these have appeared individually before so this seems like a good thread to group them.

Circa 1887, SN:2747801, 21j, Gr: AWCo
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Circa 1890, SN:4527195, 15j, Gr: Champion
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Circa 1887, SN:3220798, Gr: Riverside
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Very attractive combination of gold damaskeened plates and engraved steel winding wheels on the Champion and the Riverside, and I love cases with gadrooned edges like on your Riverside. Of course, your 21J AWCo is simply gorgeous too.
 
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Dr. Jon

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The banner below is Latin

Ne Obliviscaris.

This is the motto of the Duke of Argyl the head of the Cambell Clan.

This is an intersting motto for a Scotts regiment because the Cambells and McDOnalds are long standing and still bitter enemies. No McDonald woudl ahve been part of this outfit.

The symbol is a mystery to me and does not match any of the Canadian Scott regiments I checked.

The back cover has an engraved stag coming through a crown.
 

Clint Geller

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Since I showed my open face 21 jewel movement with the Woerd's patent balance marking, I suppose I should show the one of my 21 jewel hunters that actually has Woerd's balance. 21 jewel movement SN 999,960 is out of the third run of AWCo Grade Model 1872 movements, which was the first AWCo Grade run with quick (i.e., 18,000 bph) trains.

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Clint Geller

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The banner below is Latin

Ne Obliviscaris.

This is the motto of the Duke of Argyl the head of the Cambell Clan.

This is an intersting motto for a Scotts regiment because the Cambells and McDOnalds are long standing and still bitter enemies. No McDonald woudl ahve been part of this outfit.

The symbol is a mystery to me and does not match any of the Canadian Scott regiments I checked.

The back cover has an engraved stag coming through a crown.
Love it. On an American watch, no less. Perhaps the Scotsman was thumbing his nose at the English. :)
 
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grtnev

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Referring to the NAWCC Oct 1996 Bulletin article, "The American Watch Company 1872 Model" by Philip J. Guest; page 588 describing the Am'n grade; "It is usually found with 15 jewels and is always listed as such, but a number were made with 16 jewels (the center wheel on the top plate was jeweled) and some even have gold settings and a gold center wheel".

Only Model 1872 I own - 16j Am'n grade, sn 2605155, ca: Feb-Apr 1885 - nicely finished with gold jeweled settings and perhaps even a gold center wheel as discussed by Mr. Guest.

Richard

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Clint Geller

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Referring to the NAWCC Oct 1996 Bulletin article, "The American Watch Company 1872 Model" by Philip J. Guest; page 588 describing the Am'n grade; "It is usually found with 15 jewels and is always listed as such, but a number were made with 16 jewels (the center wheel on the top plate was jeweled) and some even have gold settings and a gold center wheel".

Only Model 1872 I own - 16j Am'n grade, sn 2605155, ca: Feb-Apr 1885 - nicely finished with gold jeweled settings and perhaps even a gold center wheel as discussed by Mr. Guest.

Richard

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Richard,

You have a lovely watch. Most of the Am'n Grade Model 1872's I can recall seeing had 16 jewels. The information on the NAWCC-info site seems consistent with my recollections:

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Fred Hansen

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Referring to the NAWCC Oct 1996 Bulletin article, "The American Watch Company 1872 Model" by Philip J. Guest; page 588 describing the Am'n grade; "It is usually found with 15 jewels and is always listed as such, but a number were made with 16 jewels (the center wheel on the top plate was jeweled) and some even have gold settings and a gold center wheel".

Only Model 1872 I own - 16j Am'n grade, sn 2605155, ca: Feb-Apr 1885 - nicely finished with gold jeweled settings and perhaps even a gold center wheel as discussed by Mr. Guest.

Richard

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That’s a terrific bulletin article, but I believe the “Amn. Watch Co.” header above those page 587/578 comments quoted was a typo as the comment you quoted (and the remainder of the comments with it) correctly match to the the Am. Watch Co. grade, so this should have instead been the “Am. Watch Co.” header.

Also note that there is a proper “Amn Watch Co.” header with commentary correct to the grade on page 584/585.
 

grtnev

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[That’s a terrific bulletin article, but I believe the “Amn. Watch Co.” header above those page 587/588 comments quoted was a typo as the comment you quoted (and the remainder of the comments with it) correctly match to the the Am. Watch Co. grade, so this should have instead been the “Am. Watch Co.” header.
Fred,

Thanks for pointing that out. Makes more sense to me now. I have to admit that the Model 1872 grade designations have always been very confusing (at least to me). To add to my confusion the NAWCC online Waltham database has its own variation(s); for example using “amn” instead of “Amn”.

Am I correct, that in order of their hierarchy, the top three grades were:
  1. American Watch Company (AWCo)
  2. Amn. Watch Company (Amn and sometimes Am'n)
  3. Am. Watch Co. (AmWCo)
Thanks,

Richard
 
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Clint Geller

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Fred,

Thanks for pointing that out. Makes more sense to me now. I have to admit that the Model 1872 grade designations have always been very confusing (at least to me).

Am I correct, that in order of their hierarchy, the top three grades were:
  1. American Watch Company (AWCo)
  2. Amn. Watch Company (Amn and sometimes Am'n)
  3. Am. Watch Co. (AmWCo)
Thanks,

Richard
Richard, you listed those three best known grades in the correct order, and the American Watch Co. Grade was always the top grade, but there were other grades, or at least names, such as Park Road, and later Riverside, Champion, and Royal. I couldn't tell you exactly what all the quality differences were, but some had gilded plates and/or simple regulators.
 
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Ethan Lipsig

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I've shown all my '72s before, but here they are again.

American Watch Co. Grade #999,928 in Unsigned 18k Hunter Case, Circa 1880: This watch is special for several reasons. One is that it comes from the small run of 100 hunters and 20 OFs that were marked Woerd's Pat. Compensating Balance. Like many or most of these 120, this watch does not have that special balance. The other reason this watch is special is that it was awarded a Class 1 certificate by Yale's Winchester Observatory in the first year that institution undertook watch testing. It was bested by four AWCO '72s (##999,933, 871,143, 999, 999,931, and 999,920), which finished 1, 2, 3, and 5 (in that serial number order) and by a Mathez that came in fourth. It tied with a Patek Philippe for the fifth best. The top six scores were 83, 80, 79, 78, 77, and two at 76.

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American Watch Co. Grade #2,605,082 in Waltham-signed 14k OF Case, Circa 1885: This watch is special for two reasons as well. One is that its dial is correct, but double-sunk. Correct double-sunk AWCO dials are scarce, perhaps even rare. The other reason it is special is that has an non-magnetic balance spring and may also have a non-magnetic balance and escapement as well, though the watch is not marked non-magnetic. I don't know if this feature or these features were in the watch when first made or were a later retrofit. Waltham offered to refit AWCO '72s to be non-magnetic for $20-$25 in 1887.

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American Watch Co. Grade # 2,737,494 in AWCCo 18k OF Case, Circa 1887: This beautiful watch seems to have been modified by Waltham to fit its lovely extra-heavy case.

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American Watch Co. Grade #3,349,065 in 14k AWCCo Hunter Case, Circa 1891

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Clint Geller

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Thank you for posting these, Ethan. I would say that your double sunk glass enamel AWCo dial is definitely rare, not just because it is double sunk, but because it has radial Arabic numerals as well. The "A. W. W. Co." glass enamel dials on American Watch Co. Grade Model 1888's mostly had upright Arabic numerals, similar in that way to railroad watch dials, but I don't off-hand recall seeing any other "A. W. Co." dial than yours with Arabic numerals, whether upright or radial. Period catalogs indicate that there was a price premium for Arabic numeral glass enamel Waltham dials. All of your movements are a consummate joy, but I think the winding wheels on SN 999,938 are especially distinctive.
 
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Clint Geller

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Here is a marked nonmagnetic American Grade Model 1872 with a double roller escapement, SN 2,788,058. In my 38 years of collecting, I have owned three marked nonmagnetic examples including this one and I have seen or heard reports of another five. I can't say how many marked examples actually were made, but even the unmarked ones are scarce, and the marked ones much more so. The oddest one of the three marked nonmagnetic examples I once owned was a hunting case gold dome model with Am'n Grade winding wheels that was obviously finished later than it was begun. The case of my current example shown here has 46 dwt of 18K gold.

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Clint Geller

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You know it was not Factory stamping, so it is just speculation. Maybe someone inscribed their initials.........
Perhaps a fictitious "21 jewels" marking that someone else subsequently removed.
 

Clint Geller

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Here is an example out of the fourth short run of fifty American Watch Co. Grade Model 1872's, SN 1,265,944. By this point in Model 1872 production the transition to the Old English "A. W. Co." signature on the glass enamel dials had mostly been effected. The fourth run also saw a brief reversion to slow beat (16,200 bph) trains after the switch from slow to quick beat trains between the preceding second and third runs. The Nashua Department went back to quick beat trains for good in the following fifth short run of twenty open face movements, an example of which was shown earlier on this thread. Interestingly, whereas the third and fifth quick beat runs both carry Woerd's patent balance markings, if not actually the special balance itself, the fourth run does not. However, movement SN 1,265,944 clearly shows the increasing complexity in damaskeening patterns and winding wheel decoration that reached its zenith in later 1872 runs. The AWCo hunting case contains about 50 dwt of 18K gold.

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musicguy

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The Waltham 72's are very nice thanks for starting this thread.


Rob
 

Clint Geller

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The Waltham 72's are very nice thanks for starting this thread.


Rob
It's been my pleasure, Rob. I have a few more Model 1872's eventually to show. I'd like to acknowledge the absolutely invaluable assistance of a first class watchmaker and Waltham expert, my friend Mr. John Wilson of Philadelphia, who has been instrumental in helping me to achieve many of my collecting goals.
 

Clint Geller

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Here is a nice watch that belongs to a friend, open face .21 jewel AWCo Grade movement SN 2,747,924 in a 14K smooth polished Model 1872 case by the Courvoisier-Wilcox Manufacturing Co., with an interesting diamond faceted band and an internal front bezel to protect the dial and hands during lever setting.

I am going to endeavor to try and get as many examples documented on this thread as I can.

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Clint Geller

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Here is another very famous watch that belongs to a friend: Charles vander Woerd's personal watch, a 21 jewel open face Model 1872 (likely the very first open face 21 jewel Model 1872 movement) with an experimental chronograph mechanism. The movement, with Woerd's patented middle temperature compensating balance and asymmetric lift escapement, has no serial number and the chronograph dial carries vander Woerd's name. No Model 1872 thread would be complete without pictures of this watch. The pictures are compliments of my long-time friend Mr. Craig Risch.

There will be more to come, but I am off to the York Regional in a few minutes - my first show since the pandemic. Perhaps I'll see some of you there.

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Clint Geller

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Here is another one of mine. I have shown it before, but there is a point to getting all of these images, and as many other Model 1872 images, on a single thread. I have one more of mine to show after this one, which I will show when my watchmaker is done with it, but I have several friends' watches that I have permission to show as well. Here is SN 3,349,025 out of the final run of AWCo Grade Model 1872's, all of which, at least according to the records, were finished in 1891, six years after the company's name changed from AWCo to AWWCo. This movement, signed "William Moir, NY," is one of only three private label AWCo Grade Model 1872's of which I know. The damaskeening is particulary spectacular. The interesting AWCo Grade winding wheels combine the subtle radial line pattern seen on 19 jewel Model 1888 winding wheels with a second decorative pattern that one might describe as "bunting." The very appropriate double sunk glass enamel Old English dial and 18K hunting case, which the previous owner chose for this movement, are both signed "AWWCo." This marking is rare on 18K Model 1872 cases.

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Clint Geller

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In the interest of assembling a really comprehensive Model 1872 thread, here are two more first run AWCo Grade Model 1872 watches from Tom Mcintyre's website, shown with his permission:

The first movement shown is SN 670,012, and the second is movement SN 670,044. Like my SN 670,095, all are 18 jewel movements with three-line signature glass enamel dials and isochronism adjusting screws on the balance cock. All three first run movements shown so far have very similar minimal damaskeening on the plates. but SN 670,044 has more elaborately decorated winding wheels. An even lower-numbered first AWCo grade Model 1872 example than SN 670,012 also is known to me, SN 670,005. Serial order does not always coincide with completion order. However, movement SN 670,005 exhibits the same spotting pattern, as opposed to true "damaskeening," as the first run of 18 jewel AWCo Grade Model 1868 movements at SN 410,401, indicating that it may well be the earliest surviving First Run AWCo Grade movement. The movements themselves are all "pin," or "push" set, but the assembled watches shown here are nail set, owing to Fitch's nail setting case patent.

Like movement SN 670,095 previously shown, movement SN 670,044 was one of three movements cited for especially outstanding performance at the famous Centennial timing trials in Philadelphia and Ann Arbor, and movement SN 670,044 was judged to be best performer of all.

SN 670,012:

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SN 670,044:

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Ethan Lipsig

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Clint, thanks for posting all these great '72s!

At the risk of appearing jejune, I was puzzled by your statement that "The movements themselves are all pin set, but the assembled watches shown here are nail set, owing to Fitch's nail setting case patent." What is the difference between a pin-set watch and a nail-set watch? I had thought these were just different label for the very same thing.
 
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Clint Geller

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Clint, thanks for posting all these great '72s!

At the risk of appearing jejune, I was puzzled by your statement that "The movements themselves are all pin set, but the assembled watches shown here are nail set, owing to Fitch's nail setting case patent." What is the difference between a pin-set watch and a nail-set watch? I had thought these were just different label for the very same thing.
Dear Ethan,

Thank you for supporting this effort with some of your own images. Post #7 of this thread addresses your question. It shows a close-up of the "nail setting" attachment adjacent to the pertinent patent date engraved on the case. That attachment converts the movement from pin setting to nail setting. I believe there are a few pin set Model 1872 movements, perhaps mostly Park Road Grade movements, in button set cases too, by the way.

Clint
 
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Clint Geller

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Here is an especially lovely later 21 jewel Model 1872 movement sans the gold dome that belongs to another friend, SN 2,670,662. The isochronism adjusting screw, mainspring let-down screw, and the "Woerd's Patents" marking on the pillar plate of the earlier movements are also gone. The movement features bright nickel finish and a rhomboidal damaskeening pattern, which is less commonly seen that rectangular patterns. The distinctive winding wheels carry the braided rope decorative motif to its limit. The movement signature is cursive script, and the glass enamel dial has an Old English "A.W.Co." signature. The 18K case has a glass exhibition inner dust cover.

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Clint Geller

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Here is another late 21 jewel hunting case Model 1872 movement, also from a friend's collection, SN 2,747,858. We see here another example of American Grade winding wheels combining the radial line pattern characteristic of 19 jewel AWCo Grade Model 1888 winding wheels with a second, circumferential design element. The circumferential element is accentuated by an engraved circular border. A second engraved circle outlines the wheel edges just inside the bevelled teeth. Beyond approximately serial number two million, a dust ring, such as that shown here, was added to the Model 1872 movement design. The glass enamel dial of Movement SN 2,747,858 once again features an old English "A.W.Co." signature and fine spade hands.

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Clint Geller

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Here is another one of Tom's watches, with Movement SN 999,988, which his another example from the interesting Third Run of AWCo Grade hunting case gold dome movements, which is also the first run with quick beat (18,000 bph) trains. As previously stated, while all the examples in this run carry the Woerd's Patent Balance marking, only a few have Woerd's special sawtooth balance. Many of the movements from this run, perhaps including this example, have Woerd's patented unequal lift escapement with an asymmetric counterpoise and a square roller jewel. The third AWCo Grade movement run predates the introduction of bright nickel plates. The lighting in this particular picture of Tom's does not show it, but I believe the winding wheels exemplify what I have called the "spiral lightning" decorative pattern that is characteristic of the Third Run of AWCo Grade Model 1872's. One needs to catch the light just right to bring out their subtle beauty. This run also likely saw the beginning of the transition from three-line signature to old English "A.W.Co." glass enamel dials. Both dial styles show up frequently enough in this run that one cannot say much more than this. The black-inlaid old English movement signature style is my favorite. The handsome AWCo-marked drum style case is 18K.

Woerd's patented unequal lift escapement variation is rare among AWCo watches, but Woerd subsequently used it extensively after he moved to US Waltham. Among Waltham watches, this escapement variety has been seen among examples of the second and third runs of AWCo Grade Model 1872's. My watchmaker opines that the square roller jewel offered at least the theoretical, if not an actual advantage that the necessary endshake in the balance staff would affect the depth of engagement between the tines of the fork and the roller jewel, and hence the rate of the watch, less with a square roller jewel than with a D-shaped roller jewel when the movement is not horizontal. (However, in his patent papers Woerd never explained his preference for a square roller jewel.) Tom has stated that these escapements were made with unique alloys as well. It would be nice to know more about that aspect of these escapements.

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Tom McIntyre

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My 670,044 is an exception to the 18J configuration. For whatever reason it was made with a jeweled center in the pillar plate.

My late friend Len Dionne was given that watch in a box of "interesting" Waltham material by a former Waltham employee while they were both working for Edwin Land at Polaroid. Len was Land's primary model maker and was also lead mechanic for the SX70. When Len retired Polaroid gave him the Linley Jig Borer that he had used in the lab.

Len also had a 1955 Porsche 356 Speedster that he liked a lot but very rarely drove.

He was one of my favorite people. Len believed the 670044 jeweling was original to the factory.
 

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