Identify Heirloom Watch

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  1. #1
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    Identify Heirloom Watch

    This was my Grandfather's watch and I would love receiving any info on it. It is possibly from the 20's and I believe is gold-filled. It keeps great time and although has many scratches and a bent lug - still looks good.

    It has the serial # 20806862 on the movement.
    There is also the #65 on the back side of the bezel.
    It has the text
    A.W.W.CO
    Waltham. Mass

    on the movement as well.

    On the inside case back it has the text
    Moon
    This Case Guaranteed 20 Years
    R-6782
    Dennison
    Made In england
    269765
    38


    I also need a replacement strap (it has fixed lugs) and a new crystal. Any leads on where to get these items much appreciated along with any info on the watch.
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  2. #2
    Member Marrick's Avatar
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    Re: Identify Heirloom Watch

    I know nothing about American watches - others in here do - but this link will tell you about Dennison and the connection with Waltham:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Lufkin_Dennison

    Great watch!

  3. #3
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: Identify Heirloom Watch

    This looks like a Waltham pocket watch that was converted to a wristwatch. This appears to have been a common practice until the 1920s... Watches worn on the wrist became popular during WWI. These conversions are sometimes called 'trench watches', I believe.

    Indeed, even today you will see new 'vintage' wristwatches on eBay that are actually pocket watches 'converted' to wristwatches... they often come from the Ukraine. Old wristwatches are worth a lot more than old pocket watches. A number of nice Omega pocket watches have met their demise through such 'vintageization'...

    But I suspect this is not a recent conversion. It's probably one of the original conversions. Those who know more than I can correct me if I'm wrong.
    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

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  5. #4
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: Identify Heirloom Watch

    Hi -

    Well, I wouldn't call it a conversion: it belongs to the first generation of "real" wrist watches. This particular case type is a so-called cushion case (looks like a sofa cushion, hence the name). Trench watches and the conversions watches invariably had soldered-on lugs that were quite small and not nearly as integrated into the design as these are.

    The first generation of designed-to-be-worn-on-the-wrist watches came out directly after WW1, generally in 1919 and 1920, and were made fairly easy by using the smaller diameter movements from ladies' pocket watches, which the watchmakers had in inventory and were easily adopted for these kinds of cases. The first "real" wrist watch movements were just a year or so away, as the wearing of wristwatches became very widespread.

    JohnF
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  6. #5
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: Identify Heirloom Watch

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnF View Post
    Hi -

    Well, I wouldn't call it a conversion: it belongs to the first generation of "real" wrist watches. This particular case type is a so-called cushion case (looks like a sofa cushion, hence the name). Trench watches and the conversions watches invariably had soldered-on lugs that were quite small and not nearly as integrated into the design as these are.

    The first generation of designed-to-be-worn-on-the-wrist watches came out directly after WW1, generally in 1919 and 1920, and were made fairly easy by using the smaller diameter movements from ladies' pocket watches, which the watchmakers had in inventory and were easily adopted for these kinds of cases. The first "real" wrist watch movements were just a year or so away, as the wearing of wristwatches became very widespread.

    JohnF
    You may well be correct about it not being a pocket watch conversion. I have only seen a few I knew were conversions so don't have much experience with them. But I hope wristwatches came into being a little earlier than after WWI.

    I have this Waltham and it is dated to 1914... If that's right, it's my oldest wristwatch. (It runs fairly well ... about a minute a day off... decent enough to wear )

    Of course, this one might have been a pocket watch that was encased by a jeweler in the 20's... sometimes watches have strange histories! But if so, it was a darn small pocket watch... maybe a pendant watch? Or maybe really a wrist watch? (I should have asked about the size of the watch in the original posting... ok, I will... how big is it?)

    It appears to have almost the same movement as the above watch. But I can not see the serial number in the above pics so I can't date it.



    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

  7. #6
    Member Marrick's Avatar
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    Re: Identify Heirloom Watch

    Note that on Eeeb's watch the second register is at 9 O'clock. This would have been at 6 O'Clock had the movement been in a pocket watch case. Smartcar's watch has the second dial at 6 - so much less likely that the movement was a converted pocket watch. One interesting thing about Smartcar's watch is the red 12. This was, I have read, fairly rare on American pieces but very common on European watches.

  8. #7
    Member Marrick's Avatar
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    Re: Identify Heirloom Watch

    You need an 'open ended' strap. Easiest and cheapest is from ebay. Measure the straight(ish) part of the lugs - they're sized in millimetres. They often come with a brass staple that's fairly obvious to use and may have an adhesive that is activated with nail polish remover. Alternatively, a military style leather strap - where the inner strip of leather threads through - would look good.

    Unless you have a crystal lift tool you will probably need to ask a watchmaker to replace the crystal for you. Costs about £10 in the UK.

  9. #8
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: Identify Heirloom Watch

    Agree with JohnF here. The watch movement was made in 1915 and Dennison cases were used for Waltham watches sold in the UK at least.
    It's a hunter movement and that's what you would have wanted for a pocket watch (crown at 3 o'clock.)
    So I'd say it's an early Waltham wristwatch from the World War I era. Probably started its service life in the UK.

    There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson. ~ Victor Hugo

  10. #9
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    Re: Identify Heirloom Watch

    First of all, thanks to everyone who has replied to my post!

    On a Waltham website I found, the serial # indicates that it was made in 1916.

    It has a squarish aspect and is quite small small, about 1.25" by 1.25". Intuitively it feels like it was created as a watch and doesn't feel like a modified pocket watch.

    One thing I have noticed is that the winding stem sits out slightly from the case and there is a little "play" between the winding stem and the case. You can push the stem towards the case and it pops back.

    My watch is similar in some ways to another Waltham on the forum:

    https://forums.watchuseek.com/showthr...hlight=waltham

    Thanks again!

  11. #10
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: Identify Heirloom Watch

    Yes it is indeed 1916. I copied the number down incorrectly in my search. :oops:
    In those days everything was really designed to be a pocket or pendant watch, and wristwatches were just getting started.
    Some pocket watches started out in pocket watch cases and later were put in a wristwatch case. However I think yours was a wristwatch right from the start, not a conversion. The case and watch match up.

    There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson. ~ Victor Hugo

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