Waltham PW Newbie Questions

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by oyster, Apr 5, 2019.

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  1. oyster

    oyster Registered User

    Feb 15, 2017
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    Hey guys, I came across a potential buy and I have a few questions as I don't have much experience with PWs or Waltham for that matter.

    This watch is non-running and I think that I can get it for an OK price but I need some info on this model.

    Is it correct to say that this is a Waltham caliber 1883 ? Is this a good movement ? I've seen others made out of a different metal and those seemed nicer.

    Do the central hands seem original to you ?

    If some part might be damaged would it be easy to source one and can anyone tell me the full name of this type of watch/model ? I kept reading something about "hunter" "double" but I don't know what that means...

    Judging by the s/n it seems to be from 1903. The back is a bit worn out and the dial seems to have a chip but I guess I could live with it.

    Anything else I should know about this ?



  2. Steven Thornberry

    Steven Thornberry User Administrator
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 15, 2004
    Ne’er do well
    Here and there
    Country Flag:
    I would say that the minute might be original (not sure), but the hour is a replacement. They are, in any event, mismatched.
    oyster likes this.
  3. John Pavlik

    John Pavlik Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 30, 2001
    Green Bay, Wi
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    Hi Oyster, Welcome to the NAWCC message board..

    A few points...Appears you are new to pocket watches, the Mdl 83 is a very good Movement and parts are plentiful... This example has a few issues, neither hand is original to the watch ...On the Movement side, a few mis matched screws , which is generally not a good sign... The case shows other marks on the rim where mounting screws are, indicating a different movement was housed in the case at some point...Not sure what your ok price is, but I would Think about looking about looking elsewhere and buy something that is in running condition to start with ...
    oyster likes this.
  4. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
    NAWCC Member Sponsor

    Jan 12, 2017
    New York State
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    #4 musicguy, Apr 5, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2019
    Hi Oyster,

    It's great that you are interested in this watch(but maybe keep looking).

    As said above this watch is a hunting movement in an open face case.
    The circa 1903 Model 1883 grade 81 Waltham you are referencing is on the low
    range of quality of all 1883 Models.
    Just as an example there are the Appleton Tracy and the Crescent
    Street Grades of the Model 1883 that are above it.

    This watch is not adjusted. An Unadjusted movement is a movement where the daily error
    rate when the watch is in different orientations(positions) is not adjusted over positions.

    That said, if you love the watch and it's the right price buy it.

    Check this out
    Informational Pocket Watch Threads

    oyster likes this.
  5. Kent

    Kent Registered User
    Gibbs Literary Award NAWCC Fellow NAWCC Silver Member

    Aug 26, 2000
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    #5 Kent, Apr 5, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2019
    Hi Oyster:

    To add to the good information posted by the others and please excuse me if I repeat some of what they posted or 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 13,388,944 can be seen to be
    an 18-size,
    model (the American version of caliber) 1883,
    grade No. 81,
    (it should be) lever-set ,
    hunting movement (set up as a sidewinder),
    having 15 jewels,
    and a Plain Regulator.
    It was built in about 1904, give or take a year or so. This was a popular movement of which well over 370,000 of this variation were made.

    You can see a brief catalog description of the grade and where it fits in Waltham's line of model 1883 18-size movements, on page 8 (below) and 7 of the Goldsmiths Stock Company Price List For the Trade Only - 1906-7

    The Watch Case appears to be gold-filled and was made for Sear, Roebuck & Co., a large U.S.-based mail-order retailer.

    Broadly speaking, if one were to consider all jeweled watch movements as being separated into three grade groups; low; medium; and high; then this movement can be considered to be in the higher end of the low grade group. With it not running, you might be ahead of the game to look for a running version of either the same or a similar watch. This would probably cost less than the cost of this watch plus the cost of getting it repaired.

    Unfortunately, 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,

    musicguy and oyster like this.
  6. oyster

    oyster Registered User

    Feb 15, 2017
    Country Flag:
    Wow that is a LOT of information. Way more than I can process right now. :eek:

    Thank you all for the info. I guess I will pass this one for now. As far as repairs goes I can do it on my own as I've serviced a lot of wristwatches (and one PW) but it's not exactly what I'm after and I will need a bit more knowledge with american PWs, in particular.

    I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to watches. I don't mind patina and signs of wear but I prefer a watch to be 100% original.

    Hope I will be able to navigate the many links that you've offered me. Will definitely improve my knowledge and this is one of the main reasons why I got into this "hobby". To educate myself on a lot of technical and historical aspects of watches.

    I have to admit that I fell in love with american pocket watches and I hope to get one one day. I'm still stuck between choosing a favorite brand from the top 3-4 brands that made really great time pieces over a hundred years ago but for now I'm just browsing around and I guess the right one might come my way, one day.

    As a European, one thing that I admire about americans (especially the older generations) is the fact that in many industries they meticulously archived a lot of information and data that we can use today. One would expect the swiss, the germans, the british to have done the same but guess they were busy doing something else.

    Best regards from Romania! :)
  7. topspin

    topspin Registered User

    Dec 14, 2014
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    Just to add to what the others have posted,
    The watch has many minus points and just as many plus points. As to whether or not you should buy it (for its fair market value) therefore largely depends on what it is that you are looking for, or what direction you intend to take your collection in. We all collect different things, in different ways, for different reasons.
    If you do get one of these (model 1883) serviced & running properly, they make a lovely sound.
    musicguy likes this.

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