Again following on from here
NAWCC 2014, The New Task Ahead
Object type: wristwatch
Museum accession number: 2013.1.2
Location: Permanent wristwatch display.
Brief description: Nickel case, cushion-shaped, manual winding detached lever wristwatch.
Round black metal Arabic dial with luminous numerals and replacement hands reilluminated in nonradioactive white Luminova, flat subseconds at 6 o’clock, marked “WALTHAM USA”; the chapter ring has 48 stars for 48 states (no Hawaii or Alaska as states yet).
Case is three-piece with snap on bezel and back cover with spring bar lugs.
Producer name: American Waltham Watch Company
Production date: 1929 (note this “style” of watch was introduced in 1917)
Made in: Waltham, Massachusetts, USA
Dimensions: 32 millimeters (case)
Dial: WALTHAM, USA
Movement: WALTHAM USA, 15 JEWELS, 26,987,685
Case (inside): ILLINOIS Watch Case Company, Nickel, 699516, 3/0"
Normally manufactured by ELGIN (USA), this very rare WALTHAM version is probably a prototype of a “Black Pershing Star Dial” wristwatch. Waltham and Elgin were in competition for mass production of units; we can presume Elgin won the contract, because many Elgin “Pershing Star Dials” can be found today, but only one other Waltham version has appeared, that is cased in a silver Depollier case, with same style dial.
These “Pershing Dial” watches were named after the great US General “Blackjack” Pershing, one of the most decorated US generals of World War I. The dial’s chapter ring is marked with 48 stars—one for each of the 48 states at that time (no Hawaii or Alaska at that time)
There are differences between these (possible) Waltham “prototypes” and the Elgin mass-produced version. The Waltham dial is made of metal, whereas Elgin had both metal (white) and later enamel dials in both white and black.
The first Elgin “star” dial, a white metal dial, appeared circa 1917; this was followed in 1918 by a black enamel dial with a small font. The US Army did not like these smaller numerals, Elgin manufactured one with larger font and “boxed” numerals in 1918—the “large font black star dial.” The WALTHAM dial in this watch is like option #2 above, except it is made of metal not enamel.
The movement is Waltham, Model 1907, grade 365, 15 jewels, size 3/0, running at 18,000 beats per hour. The serial number 26,987,685 dates it to 1929, but these styles of watches were introduced first in 1917.
Adam R. Harris
Guest Wristwatch Curator 2014
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Stan Czubernat – star dials