Waltham's Riverside grade -- the 12-size variants

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by Jerry Treiman, Mar 6, 2012.

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  1. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    Many of you know already that I am high on Waltham's “Riverside” grade. The Riverside was offered by Waltham as their most popular movement. Over the course of 60 years Waltham offered this grade in at least 22 models and at least a dozen sizes, with many variations.

    I wanted to take a look here at just the 12-size 1894 model Riverside and the few derivatives that use almost all of the same parts. All have a double-roller escapement, micrometer regulator and at least 17 jewels. Let's start with the standard 12-size movement, which was first produced in 1896. The 12-size Riverside was advertised as the best choice for a gentleman's watch, as seen in this ad from 1898.

    1898ad.jpg

    The first-run examples have a 3/4-plate movement, 17 jewels and a script signature. The next few runs had the same damascening pattern but a new signature style and a gold center wheel, both of which came to be standard for this model. A cupped and polished dome around the upper balance jewel was introduced during this period. Waltham also produced a numbered grade movement (grade no.250) that was equivalent to the Riverside in quality and finish, yet they asked (and got) a $2.50 premium for the Riverside name. The grade 250 was not offered for very long.

    7074576.jpg 07364308.jpg 07389050.jpg

    By around 1900 Waltham had added conical pivots and cap jewels to the escape wheel and, with this addition, the Riverside became a 19-jewel watch. The "19 Jewels" notation appeared in two different locations on the barrel bridge. The damascene pattern is also a little simpler than the first production, lacking the arcaded swirls around the outside of the earlier examples. (If this were an Illinois Bunn Special these changes would be a big deal). We also see cupped winding wheels at this point.

    10514647.jpg 10556604m.jpg

    Around 1902 Waltham changed the plate pattern for their better grade 12-size movements, using what I call a semi-bridge layout. For the Riverside, they switched to a jeweled mainwheel rather than the capped escape wheel to make 19 jewels. Other than these changes, this movement is mechanically identical to the earlier style and is still considered an 1894 model. This model and grade was used for a few private-label movements as well.

    19059759m.jpg 20309403.jpg 18028079m.jpg 22082055m.jpg

    A rather scarce variant on the Riverside was produced around 1904-1906. This model was originally made to be a contract movement for Keystone-Howard and displays the unique plate variant and regulator index designed for the Howard contract. [This plate pattern was used several years later for Waltham’s Equity model and for some export movements]. A whiplash regulator was used here, instead of Waltham’s patented star wheel regulator; the whiplash regulator was not otherwise used until much later, except for some contract watches such as this one was intended to be. Hunting-case movements have the early damascene pattern and the open-face movements have the later damascene pattern.

    12635226m3.jpg

    By the mid-twenties Waltham saw fit to up-jewel the grade again, re-introducing the capped escape wheel to make a 21 jewel movement. Most of these are the Riverside-equivalent grade 250 (resurrected from a 25 year hiatus) but some are also marked Riverside. By now Waltham is regularly using a whiplash regulator on some of their best movements.

    25594190.jpg

    The preceding examples account for most of the standard 12-size Riverside movements. Up until the twenties they were made in both open-face and hunting-case configurations.
     
  2. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    #2 Jerry Treiman, Mar 6, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
    Size variants

    Waltham also made a few size variants on the 12-size Riverside. First was the 14-size 1897 model movement. Aside from adding 2/30 of an inch to the top and bottom plate diameter, and a longer winding pinion, these are mechanically the same as the 1894 model 12-size movement. The movement marking is a little different, including the "U.S.A." notation (since these were produced for export).

    13023481m.jpg

    Around 1907 Waltham introduced their Colonial Series movement which had a 14-size bottom plate but the standard 12-size top plates/bridges and parts. Open-face versions used the semi-bridge bridge pattern but the hunters used the 3/4-plate pattern. These are difficult to distinguish from the standard 12-size when they are cased. Note the earlier damascene pattern, as well, on the hunter.

    14121845m.jpg ColSerRiverside.jpg

    Another odd-size movement was modified to fit a Marsh Patent case. These were usually thin gold cases with a special reinforcing shield installed around the movement. The pillar plate is cut down to 10 size to fit the movement protector. Rather than installing from the front and using case screws, these movements, with protective shield, were placed in the case from the back and locked in place with sliding lugs from the movement.

    19079621m.jpg

    Riverside Maximus

    Although some may not think of it this way, I consider the Riverside Maximus to be basically a Riverside movement with extra finishing (a Riverside movement finished to the max!). This 1897 Waltham ad from The Century supports this concept. If you consider these as part of your 12-size Riverside collection that adds several more variants along the lines of those listed above (21 or 23 jewels, 3/4-plate or semi-bridge, Colonial Series, private labels, damascening).

    Max-m.jpg 1897 Century.jpg
     
  3. Mike Miller

    Mike Miller Registered User

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    Jerry,

    Thanks for the post. The Riverside grade is one of my favorite ones too. I have one that is a HC 19 jewel model that falls between your first two run examples. It has the damascening pattern, and flat winding wheels of the first model, but 19 jewels of second model (it has a capped escape wheel). It is SN 7,311,490 which is listed in the gray book as part of a 17J run of riverside 1894s. Perhaps Waltham upjeweled leftover movements as the new model was being produced? This one came to me in an open-faced case that doesn't have any other screw marks, so it could be an original pairing.

    Here's a picture:
    wal12srsh_movement.JPG
     
  4. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    Nice example, Mike. It helps demonstrates the evolution in the finish characteristics of this grade in the first few years of production. When you look at the ledger entries you see that many of these early runs were finished over a several year period (1898-1902 for yours), so it is no surprise to even see variation within a single run. I also have a 19 jewel movement in the 7-millions, but with the later damascene pattern.

    Which dial does yours have? Most of the early ones have upright arabic numerals and a double-lined minute track, like this example from the first series.
    7074576obl1.jpg

    The first ones have a pressed center section to the dial (not actually double sunk) but later dials are single sunk. I have also seen several with Riverside Maximus dials. Roman numeral dials show up, but are not too common.
    niello_a.jpg
     
  5. Mike Miller

    Mike Miller Registered User

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    It is a single sunk (no pressed center section) with double-lined minute track. Lots of variety in these Riverside grade to choose from. I don't have a copy of the hand-written ledgers, but in the gray book, there is noted a run of Riverside grade Model 94s noted as being a mixed run of 17-19 jewel finishes starting at SN 7,312,001 through 7,314,000. This is exactly after the "17 J run" entry that mine was in. So these couple of runs must have merged somewhere in the finishing department and trickled out over the next few years as demand called for them?

    wal94_riverside_dial.JPG
     
  6. Tom McIntyre

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    Jerry, you mentioned that some of these were made for E.Howard Watch Co. This example is not the one normally seen since it is 17 jewels rather than 19 jewels. I don't think any of the 12 size Waltham/Howards are common, but this is the only 17J I have had.
     

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  7. artbissell

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    #7 artbissell, Mar 7, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
    documents 122a.jpg Very interesting and authoritative work about these interesting to me Walthams. I have a few only because of being gold case cheapies in the past. Now much better appreciated.((((Tom's suggestion to use Firefox browser with my old and overloaded laptop makes image loading a lot easier))))))
     
  8. John Cote

    John Cote Registered User
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    Thanks for starting this Jerry and thanks for doing all of this work!
     
  9. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    #9 Jerry Treiman, Mar 8, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2012
    Tom - Waltham actually had several production runs of 12-size movements for Howard. These included 21-jewel bridge models and 17 and 19-jewel 3/4-plate movements. Your 17-jewel movement was delivered to Keystone in 1904 - these have an 866xxx Howard serial number or may have an H prefix. I am not sure if it is a Riverside grade movement - the damascening is correct for a Riverside but most Riversides had 19-jewels and a steel escape wheel by this point. A later order was to include 12-size 19-jewel movements but I believe that most of these were never delivered and were finished at Waltham as Riverside movements, like the one I show above. Here is a side-by-side comparison of the two.

    rivcomphtg.jpg

    Art - The watch you show is not a standard 12-size movement and has no parts interchangeability with any of the preceding movements we have shown. Yours is a 14-size Colonial-A model and it shares parts and construction details with the later 10-size Colonial-A (on the left). [see how much closer the winding wheels are to the edge of the movement on the 10-size model]

    ColonialA.jpg

    Another one that some people confuse with the 12-size series of movements is the 1924 Colonial (also known as Colonial-B). There was a Riverside grade in this model too, but it is different from either the original 12-size or the Colonial-A series and parts are not interchangeable with these other movements. You can tell the Colonial-B by the narrower crown wheel with a larger hub.

    ColBRiverside.jpg
     
  10. artbissell

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    IMG_8857.jpg Oops, do not know sizes very well apparently. I have a big jewelers wholesale catalog that shows many 10-12-14 size Walthams without accurate descriptions. Prices were 1/2 the Premier Maximus in same 1930 book for a couple of the Colonials. Will photo entire pages.
     
  11. artbissell

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    #11 artbissell, Mar 8, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2012
    1931 catalog pages of Waltham small p.w. IMG_9693a.jpg IMG_9689a.jpg IMG_9688a.jpg 3rd click to read. No movements shown in this catalog.
     
  12. artbissell

    artbissell Registered User
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    #12 artbissell, Mar 9, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2012
    1916 Waltham catalog pages for the 12 size Colonials. IMG_9728a.jpg IMG_9727a.jpg IMG_9726a.jpg No 10s and 14s then? Only these cataloged? $9. to $123. amazing spread. 3 clicks to read.
     
  13. hawk61

    hawk61 New Member

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    this is my new addition [​IMG]colonial riverside
     

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  14. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    These are 14-size Colonial-A movements are high-quality movements, and quite thin by American standards. Many have diamond endstones. Unfortunately, they take a special case. I believe there may have been some after-market gold-filled cases made at one time that will fit these, but any case that fits is now hard to find.
     
  15. topspin

    topspin Registered User

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    If all else fails - try sticking it in a case taken from a non-running model 1897 (e.g. grade "Bond St" or similar.) Cheap & plentiful here in the UK. You may need some M2-size washers to help the movement stay in place (see photo for what that looks like) - but it's very satisfying if you can get it to work.

    [​IMG]
     

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  16. Kevin Moodie

    Kevin Moodie Registered User

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    I was wondering about the Wadsworth Waltham cases marked "Riverside Waltham Watch Co" on the cuvee. Mine is a 19j semi-bridge #19059770. Were these movements usually factory cased?
     
  17. AllanB

    AllanB Registered User

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    Hi,
    I have just acquired #7076059 which I believe to be from the third run of this 17j Riverside model. It is in need of some TLC but from the photos I've seen it has the pressed dial, roman numerals but no gold centre wheel. I will post photos later next week once it has arrived here in UK.
    Allan
     
  18. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    If you are referring to hawk61’s Riverside-A, I am afraid this will fail too. The Colonial-A is a much thinner movement and the stem will not line up well, front to back, in a case for a standard thickness movement like the 1897 model.

    I usually see this type of case marking on their Colonial Series movements, but yours would appear to be standard 12-size (based on the serial number records). This would not be as common. In the ‘teens (and even a little earlier) Waltham started doing more factory casing of their movements. These were usually custom sizes, but they also evidently cased some standard size movements. Movements were still available as well for casing by the jeweler.

    Allan - I look forward to seeing pictures of your movement.
     
  19. Kevin Moodie

    Kevin Moodie Registered User

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    Jerry,

    thanks for the information.

    Kevin
     
  20. AllanB

    AllanB Registered User

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    Jerry and All,
    As promised, here are photos of the 12s Riverside which arrived today. From a superficial examanation it has a broken staff and the crown wont lift to allow setting of the hands. The case is a 20yr GF with the bow missing. Otherwise I'm pleased to have it for my collection and it will have to await its turn for service/repair as I've been a bit overactive in the acquisition department this year!!
    Allan
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     

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  21. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    Very nice and early. That should clean up beautifully. I always like the gold jewel settings on these. You will note the following features of the earlier movements: pressed center dial on the earliest ones; brass center wheel (gold center wheel did not appear until maybe 7.3 million), riveted balance staff (friction staff appears in the 10-millions) and also (probably) an earlier mainspring type (hook end rather than hole end).
     
  22. AllanB

    AllanB Registered User

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    Hi All,

    I have become "hooked" on Riversides since acquiring the one above. Recently I have been fortunate enough to pick up another one off that well known auction site. As it was here in the Uk it meant no additional 20% import tax or handling charge which made for a very economical purchase for me -- less than £60.00.
    I attach photographs of this watch which is in very good condition, appears to be original and has a presentation inscription on the inner back cover of the Denison Silver case. It is for a Mr Barrett for his work done for the Royal Liver (Liverpool I believe) Friendly Society in 1907. It is a 14s, 1897 model, 19j Riverside serial No #12,585,585. It has a broken staff.
    In so far as I have been able to find out less than 3,000 of these were made but I have yet to ascertain how many of these (if any) were Htg configuration.
    One issue I could do with some help with is how the front bezel opens. The back has hinges and flips open using the small lip. However there is no hinge or lip on the front bezel and no signs of it ever having been touched with a blade to pop it off. Which makes me believe it is a screw fit. Gentle effort to unscrew has not so far worked.
    Grateful for any advice please?
    Allan
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  23. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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    Nice!

    I love the 12 size, and the raised gold jeweled settings.


    Rob
     
  24. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    Allan - that is a great watch! As you and others on your side of the pond know, the vast majority of the 1897 model movements were lower-grade gilt movements. The Riverside was the best they made in this model. That is a great, classic case and dial, too.
     
  25. AllanB

    AllanB Registered User

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    Jerry,

    Thank you. I was fortunate and am very pleased with this watch. As I said before it needs a staff and I have also now noticed that the adjustment arm is broken at the star.

    The description of the watch on the auction site did not mention anything other than "Riverside" and did not give the serial number, nor was it visible from the photograph. From having read your informative words above I had a hunch it was an 1897 model and this proved to be correct when I received the watch.

    Am I correct in my belief that this movement would have been cased in UK? The PWdata base says nearly 3,000 made, the NAWCC nearly 1,000 less.( This might be the difference between OF and HTg versions--I have yet to check) I also note that production date is circa 1903 whilst the inscription date on the watch is 1907, probably within tolerance.

    My only remaining puzzle is how to open the front bezel. I think it is a screw thread but I am reluctant to put too much pressure on it until I am certain. I am hoping there is another enthusiast in our community that has a similar case and can advise me before I try further.

    Once again thank you for informing us about these movements as without that knowledge I would have just taken this as another 12s Riverside and missed an excellent addition to my collection.

    Allan
     
  26. topspin

    topspin Registered User

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    #26 topspin, Jun 17, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
    Ah yes I think I saw that one... like you say, it was a reasonable bet that it was an 1897 but not certain, so I only put in a fairly modest bid. After all it would only be adding a duplicate to my collection.

    I have one here which is identical to yours (apart from the lettering on the dial) and the bezel pops off... put the watch knife in in the obvious place to start, and then slide it round to lengthen the opening until it comes apart. Be prepared for a bit of a fight to get the bezel back on, though.
    If well serviced you will be amazed how long this model can run for on a single wind. The one that's in the same case as yours goes for nearly 59 hours.

    Edit: The lookup ( http://nawccinfo.nawcc.org/LookupSN.php ) gives the 19J production figures as 450 HC and 750 OF ; with a further 500+50 recorded as grade "Export" likely to also be Riversides.
    In 17J it says there are also an additional 450+250 Riversides, with other grades 420 428 Peer and Royal also chipping in small totals.
     
  27. AllanB

    AllanB Registered User

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    Topspin,

    Thank you. The reason I was uncertain was that there are no marks (at all) on the front bezel to show that it has been popped off hence I wondered whether it was a screw fit. But there again it may never have been off -- unlikely though. I did not want to proceed until I was more certain.

    Again thank you for the production figures they are lower than I expected -circa 800 OF. I must work out how to interogate the nawcc data base!!!

    ALLAN
     
  28. topspin

    topspin Registered User

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    The 19J Riversides do come around every so often, and the sellers are rarely aware of what an interesting piece it is they're selling, so they can be had quite cheaply.
    For me it was a "horological bucket list" item ticked off to get both a HC and an OF. If you want to copy me then do be prepared to buy up a lower-grade broken one as well, to give you a case, some hands, and a not-completely-trashed dial.
     
  29. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    I have just one 19j Model 1894 Riverside, a semi-bridge model, #22,099,214, in a lovely 19 1/2k white gold and enamel W.W.C. Mfg. Co. case.

    [​IMG] [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  30. AllanB

    AllanB Registered User

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    Ethan,

    Thank you for showing your watch. I do like the 12s Riverside movements and your white gold case and the dial realy are the icing on the cake.

    Allan
     
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