Monday, 7 January 2013

Waltham Pocket Watch Information


Waltham Pocket Watch General Information

Thanks for visiting this website which as about the Waltham Pocket Watch and these antique watches that we are interested in were made between 1851 and 1957. The history of railroad pocket watches is indeed a fascinating one and companies like Waltham, Elgin and Hamilton have all played a major role in developing and manufacturing precise and accurate time pieces.

On this website we shall explore in more detail the history of the Waltham Watch Company and how that links into the antique pocket watch market.

Waltham Pocket Watch Value

One of the many popular questions asked all over the Internet and especially on many watch forums is what value a particular Waltham watch might be. This is a very difficult thing to do with any great authority. However we will be able to provide you with some great information on how to go about evaluating your Waltham pocket watch and provide you with great ways of making a genuine appraisal of your watch. Here is an article about how to determine the value.

Waltham Pocket Watch Serial Numbers

If you collect any type of antique watch you will know just how very important the serial number is on a watch.  From this one number alone you can date the watch with a high degree of accuracy. There are tables that can be looked up and then a simple comparison gets you on the right track to be able to know which year your watch was actually made. This article will help you with the serial numbers and identifying your watch.

Waltham Pocket Watch Information

We shall also provide you with some very useful information on where to get repairs done, where the best places to get antique watch parts are, and there will be simple instructional videos from the basics of opening a Waltham watch, to cleaning and even dismantling one, should you feel brave enough to venture on such a task.

We will also look at the trading of these watches, including buying and selling and the best tips for getting the best deals on these old watches.

I do however believe that anyone who owns one or is contemplating buying or selling one will be much better informed if they know the background of the company and what types ot watches they made and when.  It is always said that a solid background knowledge really helps when it comes to caring, using and even trading in these wonderful time pieces.

History of the Waltham Pocket Watch

America truly became the home for the mass production of what are called lever watches. Until the mid-nineteenth Century almost all watches were hand made and mainly built in England, Europe and by the Swiss.

English companies include names like:

  • Litherland Davies & Co in Liverpool
  • James Moore French
  • Graham of London
  • Hatfield & Hall of Manchester
  • Lund Brothers
  • Bensons

There are many more great watch makers but simply too many to list.

The Swiss names include:

  • Weill & Cie
  • Nirvana Watch Co
  • Longines
  • Omega
  • Zenith Watch Company
Again there is a much longer list than this but some of the names are very familiar. In the main however only a few companies considered moving to factories and mass production.

Many experts put mass production down to one gentleman called Aaron L Dennison who made the Dennison standard gauge in 1840 and ten years later he founded a firm called Dennison, Howard & Davies which would go on to become the Waltham Watch Company of Massachusetts.

In the next 100 years this amazing company would produce almost 35 million watches. There is an assumption made by many, that once a product moves from being hand made to a production line, that somehow quality must inevitably suffer. This was certainly not the case with Waltham or any of the American mass watch producers.

The demands of the railroads ensured that watches were produced to a very high standard and they had to meet the following criteria:

  • Be of size 16 or 18
  • Have a minimum of 17 jewels
  • Be adjustable to 5 positions
  • Keep the time to plus or minus 30 seconds per week
  • Be adjusted to temperature 40 – 95 degrees F
  • Have a double roller
  • Be Lever set
  • Have a winding stem at 12 o'clock
  • Have a plain Arabic dial with heavy hands


It is worth pointing out at this stage that it was the intention of companies like Waltham was to bring the watch and make it affordable and available to every person. They did however achieve this by saving money on interchangeable parts and mass producing rather than compromising on quality.

Waltham Pocket Watch Cases

This is an area that causes confusion for many people so perhaps worth clearing up now. The big watch companies made movements but cases were often made by a common case making company.

Customers could also purchase a movement and have a case custom made by a jeweller and that happened a lot as it demonstrated a sign of wealth. Cases are also changed as they were handed down through the families.

It is often required to cross refer reference lists of serial numbers to compare dates of movements to cases and see if they are original.

Different materials were used to make cases including silver (sometimes referred to as coin). Other case makers used  nickel, copper and manganese and had names alluding to silver such as the Silverode and the Silverore.

Gold was seldom gold and more often it was rolled gold or filled gold with the main element being brass. There were however real gold cases made also and these ranged in value from 8-18ct gold.