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Waltham's 1900-model 10-size watch

Jerry Treiman

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There was a question recently on another message board about Waltham's 1900-model 10-size watch and I thought I would share here the results of some of my research on this model. There was only one run listed of this model - a run of 4,000 movements from 10,173,501 to 10,177,500. They are listed as grade 1015. When you have an example in hand you can see that it has a 15-jewel 0-size movement fitted with a solid nickel spacer ring and placed in a special 10-size case. It is a nice movement, with a gold center wheel and raised gold jewel settings. What is particularly notable about the movement is that there is no other marking beyond the serial number. The company identification - A.W.W.Co. Waltham - is engraved on the accompanying spacer ring. These observations make it clear that, although built on the 1900 model 0-size movement, it is integrated with the spacer ring, and a nice 10-size dial, to make a unique 10-size movement - the 1900 model 10-size. (The 10-size dial is attached to the movement, so the dial feet are in a standard 0-size model configuration). Contrary to some speculation, I do not believe these were made to "dump" excess movements. Based on the serial numbers and the surviving records these were made around 1902 specifically for this model.


1900f.jpg 1900m.jpg 10s1900m1.jpg 10s1900m_ring.jpg 1900hinged.jpg


Now why was this watch made? Waltham's 12-size 1894-model had been on the market since 1896 and was apparently well-received, as were the 12-size watches offered by Elgin. Apparently, though, within a few years Waltham must have decided to offer an even smaller watch. Waltham correspondence with the Keystone Watch Case Co., from September through December 1902, discussed the casing of this new model. By using an 0-size movement the watch could be made a little bit thinner too. The dial and gold-filled case by the Crescent Watch Case Co. (a Keystone subsidiary) were typical but some were also cased in solid gold. The CWCCo case was typically a single-hinged case, with the movement sharing the case hinge. Evidently the market was not ready yet for a man's watch this small and by January 1904 Waltham was telling their sales agents (Robbins and Appleton) that they just wanted to be rid of the still-remaining 2000 movements.


Waltham tried a few more times to make a smaller watch based on the same construction. I have seen an example from around 1908, marked "Manhattan" on the spacer ring in a very nice Dubois gold case; the movement is an unmarked 16-jewel Lady Waltham grade. It has an enamel 10-size dial and perhaps a 12-size case that tapers to a thin edge beyond the movement. Again, around 1912, they cased an 0-size Riverside-grade movement in a thin gold 10-size case, with a nice sunk-seconds enamel dial (picture below). I don't believe that any of these were very popular as they did not seem to advertise them and they do not turn up very often. They finally got the formula right in 1913 with their popular Opera Watch. By using a 6/0 movement they could finally make a truly thin 10-size watch. [Their Colonial-A watch was even thinner, but used a higher-grade movement with a correspondingly higher price and was not offered in 10-size until around 1918].

10s1912d.jpg


It is somewhat puzzling why this somewhat clunkier watch (pictured below) appeared around 1917, using a 15-jewel 3/0 movement. Waltham already had their Colonial-A, and for a lesser price the Opera Watch. This watch is about the same size as the Opera Watch, but is thicker and decidedly less elegant. This may have been a second-party attempt to offer a competing watch made from uncased movements obtained separately. The unmarked spacer ring and the gilt metal dial with painted numbers support this thought. (My example is in a 14K Elgin Giant Watch Case, also a case not used by Waltham for factory casing.)

1917.jpg
 
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4thdimension

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I've got one of the A.W.W. marked spacer rings kicking around somewhere and assumed it was part of a 0-12s conversion but not uncommon. Were these marked rings specific to the 4000 10s 1900-models? -Cort
 

Jerry Treiman

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If the ring looks like mine I believe they were specific to this 10-size model. Is the diameter or yours 10-size or 12-size?
By the way, the grade number "1015" is another clue that these were made as a 10-size movement grade -- "10.." indicates the size and "..15" indicates the jeweling.
 

artbissell

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Another odd Waltham Opera sort of gold case style using 1900 15j w.w. movement 3/0 sizeshown with 0 size w.w. Quite a variety from Waltham of little movements in p.w.cases produces some rarities. Maybe not Waltham rarity, but jeweler? Surplus of unsold little movements 1900+? FINE DESCRIPTION BY JERRY OF THESE ODD ONES.

P1000740acopy2.jpg P1000787a.jpg P1000789acopy.jpg
 
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