Waltham Bartlett grade 15 question

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by Tentate, Mar 28, 2019.

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  1. Tentate

    Tentate Registered User

    Apr 27, 2016
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    Hi Everybody
    I was checking the gray book, and according my serial number, my watch should be 17j.
    But I don´t get it clear, because I have heard that 11j, 15j or 17j has to do with watch finish? is it so?
    I post some pictures of my watch, I should like to know it´s grade and jewels count if possible
    Thank you

    VID_4170.JPG
    VID_4169.JPG
     
  2. Kent

    Kent Registered User
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    Aug 26, 2000
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    Hi Tentate:

    Looking at your pictures, your watch is a 15-jewel, P.S. Bartlett grade. If it had 17 jewels it would be stamped as such and I don't think that it would have screw-down jewel settings if it was a 11-jewel watch.

    This is confirmed by the NAWCC Waltham Serial Number Data Base. Don't be put off by listing of it as a grade No. 15. They're the same watch; No. 15 being the nameless version of the P.S. Bartlett grade.
     
  3. Tentate

    Tentate Registered User

    Apr 27, 2016
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    Hi Kent!
    Thanks for your kind answer.
    Then it is clear that "gilt finish" has nothing to do with jewel count.
    And also that barley grade and grade 15 is the same thing
    Thanks a lot!
     
  4. Kent

    Kent Registered User
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    #4 Kent, Mar 29, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2019
    I'm not as familiar with the P.S. Bartlett and No.15 grades as I am with the railroad grade watches. It may be that earlier, lower jeweled versions only came in a gilt finish while later higher jeweled versions were only made with nickel plates.

    The 1887 catalog sheet below shows both the P.S. Bartlett and No.15 grades as being gilt, fifteen jewel, unadjusted watches, which your watch appears to be (its not marked "Adjusted" which it would be if it were indeed adjusted). Both descriptions, while not identical in wording, are identical in content. The only real difference is that people had to pay $2.00 more to have the P.S. Bartlett name on the movement. This is even more clearly stated in the 1889 catalog sheet (below) "No. 15, Nameless (same as Bartlett) ... $17.00" (the P.S. Bartlett is again $2.00 more at $19.00).

    As to why the NAWCC Waltham Serial Number Data Base shows the watch as being adjusted, here's one possible answer:
    Notice that production of the run 5409001-5410000 was spread out over 2-1/2 years, ending in January, 1895. By May, 1895, the model 1883 P.S. Bartlett was upgraded to a 17-jewel, adjusted movement (see May 8, 1895 ad, below). In fact, it now became available as a nickel movement as well as gilt. Its possible that the last of the 15-jewel movements from the run 5409001-5410000 were finished as adjusted movements and maybe upjeweled to 17 jewels as well (Waltham's records don't necessarily distinguish which movements in inventory were upjeweled - the 1894 ad below doesn't mention the P.S. Bartlett grade, but if Waltham was stuck with the movements, they may have upjeweled and adjusted them to be able to sell them).

    Please feel free to ask about anything that isn't clear to you, although somebody who is actually familiar with the P.S. Bartlett and No.15 grades may have to answer.

    Good luck,

    1887_S_F_Meyers_18s.jpg 1889_Model_1883.jpg 1895_May_Model_83.jpg 1894_Oct_Mod_83_Upjewel.jpg
     
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  5. topspin

    topspin Registered User

    Dec 14, 2014
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    Just to add to the excellent information provided above -

    I have sometimes heard of grades such as 15 or 25 being referred to as an "unmarked P.S. Bartlett". I now take the view that there is no such thing - if the watch doesn't say P.S. Bartlett, then it isn't.
    The finish (nickel=the nice shiny silvery colour, gilt=the brown pretend-gold colour) is not directly linked to grade or jewel count. Although there seems to be a strong correlation between gilt finish (in any Waltham model) and common low grades & low jewel counts, by itself that doesn't stop them from being interesting enough to be worth collecting and preserving.
     
  6. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    Apr 11, 2002
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    Interesting read, i have a Waltham 18 sz, when i ran the serial number it said grade 15, it says on movement 17 jewels adjusted.
     
  7. Kent

    Kent Registered User
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    Yep! The No.15 may be the same watch as the P.S. Bartlett, but if a watch isn't marked "P.S. Bartlett" then it isn't a P.S. Bartlett.
     
  8. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    Thanks Kent, here is a picture of my movement.

    55505675_10156195268367913_9144184590947057664_n.jpg
     
  9. Tentate

    Tentate Registered User

    Apr 27, 2016
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    Hi Kent, thank you very much for your answer!
    Then the only possibility to exactly know if it is 15j or 17j should be to disassemble the watch and check it out.
    Thank you again for your time

    Kind regards
     
  10. Kent

    Kent Registered User
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    Nah! Just kinda peek under the raised portion of the balance cock and see if there's an upper center jewel. It's not as easy as on full-plate Hampden watches (see below), but I think it can be seen without removing the balance cock.

    Besides, if it has 17 jewels, it would be so marked.

    Comparison_15J_vs_17J_LR.jpg
     
  11. Tentate

    Tentate Registered User

    Apr 27, 2016
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    Hi Kent, thank you a lot!
    Mustery solved, there is no jewel under the balance cock, then I have a 15j
    Thanks again!
     
  12. wicozani

    wicozani Registered User
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    Apr 15, 2016
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    For comparison's sake, my earlier P.S. Bartlett (#5098634) has nickel plates, is 15j, and is marked as "ADJUSTED".

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