When did Waltham stop putting serial numbers on movement components?

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by Mark UK, Apr 15, 2017.

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  1. Mark UK

    Mark UK Registered User

    Apr 13, 2015
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    I have a model 1908 23J Vanguard (1623) from circa 1936 and the only part to have a serial number is the barrel bridge. I have another 23J Vanguard from 1932 that has numbers on all plates including the escape lever bridge. Did Waltham cease the practice of putting numbers on plates around this time or is my 1936 example an oddity?
     
  2. topspin

    topspin Registered User

    Dec 14, 2014
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    Since I have never heard of this before, I'm inclined to suggest yours is an oddity - maybe one from a very small number of runs that were done like this, before things returned to normal.
    I guess the thing to do is to examine a few more late-model Walthams?
     
  3. Mark UK

    Mark UK Registered User

    Apr 13, 2015
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    I am seeing a few changes on this movement which look to be as a result of cost cutting. The obvious visual change is the crown wheel jewel is a friction fit on the main bridge instead of being held with screws; the tab washer that holds the escape wheel cap and holes in place under the main bridge was in a shaped recess in the bridge but the recess is now gone; the oddest change is the mainspring barrel arbor which had been a two part arbor on the jewelled barrel movements but on this movement it is a solid one-piece arbor. Did Waltham change this (having had two different two-part designs prior) or did a watchmaker craft this one-piece to replace a broken two-piece? I guess I won't know for sure unless there is a parts list out there for this period.
     
  4. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    Aug 25, 2000
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    This is a very interesting observation. Can you post some pictures of this?
    In Waltham's 1945 "Watchmakers' Handbook" they describe and illustrate a new jeweled running barrel (their Figure 30). I have never seen or heard of this actually being used in any of their watches. Does this look like what you have? It would appear to have exposed jewels at the barrel arbor.
    View attachment 340645
     
  5. Mark UK

    Mark UK Registered User

    Apr 13, 2015
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    Sorry Jerry, it's not like fig.30 so you will have to wait another day to see one :glasses:

    I have read and re-read 'page 27' several times and I THINK it now makes sense. I have just serviced a 21j 645 c1918 and it has barrel and main wheel as in fig.26 with two part arbor fig.25 (arbor is easily identifiable as the winding wheel screw is a larger diameter than non-jewelled barrels). I have also serviced a 23j Vanguard c1932 which I believe also had barrel/main wheel fig.26 (I should have paid more attention) but it definitely had the two part arbor as in fig.28 where the winding wheel screw has a smaller diameter. Both of these movements are covered by the text of the first two paragraphs of 'page 27'. The 23j Vanguard c1936 that I am currently working on has barrel/main wheel as in fig.27 (a single drilling through main wheel, not stepped as fig.26) and the arbor is a one-piece with the same profile as arbor in fig.27. I believe Waltham omitted a critical few words from the short third paragraph/page 27 which could easily have acknowledged this, instead of leaving me to believe that arbors for jewelled main wheels are all two-piece construction :)
     
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