Waltham early 1899 bridge model

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by Karlosk4, Oct 18, 2019.

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  1. Karlosk4

    Karlosk4 New Member

    Feb 14, 2016
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    Hi, I recently acquired an American Watch Co. bridge model and considered whether the dial is original.
    Through exhaustive research, the suggestions lay with the Hull dial being correct but I have my doubts.
    The only match that I can find is of a 1901 Riverside. Double sunk with bold logo and inverted seconds in the sub dial. I have checked the serial numbers of these watches and listed in the 1954 Gray book of serial numbers noticed that Riversides and Vanguards are listed either side of the bridge models. Did some of these dials end up on the bridge models?
    I have been collecting fine American watches for some years now and my gut feeling is that this watch is all original.
    The pics. are of the watch as I've received it, not yet cleaned, polished or serviced.
    The lack of wear suggests that this was not an every day use watch. Test results show +- 5secs. in 24 hours, 270 to 300 amplitude and 0.2 to 0.4 m/s beat error. It runs for 46 hours!
    From the serial numbers, am I right in saying that this watch is the 36th Waltham bridge version made, considering that the previous 40 were for Howard watches?
    I would appreciate some opinions on this subject and thought that posting this information may help fill in some of the gaps concerning these superb bridge models.
    Thanks
    Karl

    IMG_8624.JPG IMG_8622.JPG IMG_8615.JPG IMG_8619.JPG IMG_8624.JPG IMG_8624.JPG IMG_8623.JPG
     
  2. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    Jan 8, 2006
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    Nice watch, but I am skeptical that the dial is original. I always have been told that all 1899 Bridge models marketed in the U.S. originally came with Hull dials, as did 1894 Bridge models marketed in the U.S. A significant number of these models were exported for sale in the U.K. These watches apparently came with UK-style dials. I have two examples of these U.K. versions in my collection.

    FYI, my 1899 Bridge model #9,503,666, less than 100 numbers higher than yours, has a Hull dial. (It differs from your watch in being one of about six known examples with fish scale damascening; about 20 of these were made, in the 9,503, 660-690 range.
     
  3. Karlosk4

    Karlosk4 New Member

    Feb 14, 2016
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    Thanks for the info.
    That's very few of the fish scale damascening!
    I live and acquired this watch in the UK, so it may be that U.K suppliers also imported U.S cases and dials. The case is why I suspected that it was all U.S origin.
    It would be interesting to see other examples from the ....551 and up range. What dials have your U.K versions got? What are the serial numbers?
     
  4. Gregory

    Gregory Registered User

    Dec 29, 2012
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    Regardless if it's original or not it's still a very nice looking watch.
     
  5. Karlosk4

    Karlosk4 New Member

    Feb 14, 2016
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    Thanks, it's not often these lovely watches come around and I couldn't pass up the opportunity, even if the dial is incorrect.
    It's a shame I can't put a date on the C.W.C.Co. case, but the period logo was used around the early 1900's so someone has possibly re-cased it for the correct period or the U.K imported both dial and case at the same time as the movement.
    I guess these are some of the questions because so little information is available.
    Fascinating.
     
  6. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    Karlosk4, you asked "what dials have your U.K versions got? What are the serial numbers?"

    My 1899 Bridge model is #10,552,410. It is in an English 18k Dennison case with 1920-21 Birmingham hallmarks. The movement was made in 1902. I believe that the much later case is original to the watch, showing that these expensive watches sold very slowly.

    10,552,410.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg

    My 1894 Bridge model is #8,774,893. It is in an American 18k A.W.C.Co. case that isn't original to the watch, a recasing done by a prior owner.

    8,774,893.jpg 2A.jpg 3A.jpg
     
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  7. Karlosk4

    Karlosk4 New Member

    Feb 14, 2016
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    Thanks Ethan, beautiful watches and solid gold too.
    I see that the 1899 has the whip regulator. I think the U.S dials have more variety and better overall design and look than the U.K ones. I suppose I can say that having so many walthams with that exact design dial. I think we needed people like O Hara, Montgomery, Moorhouse and even the factory standard dial designers over here.
    Karl
     
  8. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    It is my opinion, too, that this dial is not correct. These should all have the Hull dial, either double-sunk or single-sunk (except for English export models, like Ethan’s).

    I also do not believe that Waltham finished these movements sequentially, so one cannot say, just on serial number order, that a particular movement was the nth one made. I believe that the bridge models were initially made with 21 jewels, lacking the jeweled main wheel (patented in 1901), and sometime during the finishing of movements from this serial number run they began using the jeweled main wheel.

    I personally prefer these first run movements because of the beautifully finished star-wheel regulator.
     
  9. Clint Geller

    Clint Geller Registered User
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    Jul 12, 2002
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    It's a nice watch, though, regardless of the dial originality.
     

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