Why is this not AWCo Grade (14 size 1884 Am'n Grade)

Tom McIntyre

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The Waltham 1884 model14 size has a solid gold wheel train with gold escape wheel, Breguet HS and Fogg's safety pinion. Its features match the 16 size AWCo grade almost exactly but with more subdued damaskeening.
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There is one run of the 4 1/2 pr examples that is marked Washington Hillside in the ledgers and Am grade but the rest are Am'n grade and some runs have complications as well.

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This scan from the ledgers is a little difficult to read, but the run in question is 3474001 to 3474100. It is the first run of these watches and I have not seen an example from the run. There were only 100 made and they were presumably sent to the UK. If any of our English members have an example, I would love to see a picture of it.

Among the complicated watches in this group, two were sold at Bonham's in 2014 with Meylan complications added in the Gold case Shop in New York City (probably by C.H. Meylan). Bonhams : Waltham. A rare 14K gold open face split second chronographAmerican Waltham Watch Co., No. 3793103 and Bonhams : Waltham. A rare 14K gold hunter cased split second chronographAmerican Waltham Watch Co., No. 3793228.
Here are some pictures of two examples.
The model was used as the basis for many very special watches but most of those are not finished like the movement in the plain silver case Am’n grade examples.
53E4343A-838A-40E7-AD0B-BFA8FD94491A.jpeg B08C1AEB-42E6-45A0-A99E-01BE83E9B365.jpeg 3D36240E-3394-490D-9E3B-E8AC29AC5357.jpeg A12B1AA3-E170-4193-97AF-7AFE4BD2542D.jpeg F1106BA6-D4D9-467D-A2DA-5C6D9EEEBD54.jpeg E8E26E14-353D-45ED-AEA1-95A95C434A9F.jpeg 36B973DB-5018-4DCD-8FAD-7CE332606F8D.jpeg
 

Jerry Treiman

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Tom - in answer to your title question, could it be that at this point in their production history, prior to the 1888 model, the "American Watch Co." grade was reserved for products of the Nashua department?

Here is another example from the same run as your last movement -
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Tom McIntyre

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I think the Nashua department disappeared with the arrival of Duane H. Church. The watch looks to me like something he might have done.

Of course, I do not really know. It is clear this movement was not designed for a high volume market and the production confirms that.

The fact that it was chosen as the base model for the complicated watch is also interesting. You occasionally see a full gold train in a chronograph, but it is not at all common there.

I have one that was Royal grade with brass wheels that was upgraded by someone to a much higher finish level. I have tried to find a Waltham local connection for the name on it without much success. Perhaps I should have been looking in New York.

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Ethan Lipsig

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Tom McIntyre

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The grades are not very meaningful on those watches since so much work was done after the ebauche went to New York. If it were Am'n grade it should have a full gold wheel train. The ledgers show it as 13J Riverside grade.

I do not think that C. H. Meylan had much assistance working on those watches, so all the added content was done by his own hands, in my opinion. Some (possibly all) of the material was most likely made by his people in Switzerland.

He is listed in the 1876 Centennial Exposition judges report as having his special complications added to more than one companies work and they do not list Waltham as one of those. I do not remember right now who was in charge of the Swiss operations while he was living in New York.

NOS Waltham 5 min Repeater - 3793851 is an Am'n grade. It's story is at the link. It was purchased by Rotherham's in the UK in the 1890's and was never sold. It was in stock with no case or dial when they went out of business. I sold it in October 2019 at Jones & Horan.

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