Need suggestions for my first vintage pocket watch

Thread: Need suggestions for my first vintage pocket watch

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  1. #1
    JWK is offline
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    central New York, USA

    Need suggestions for my first vintage pocket watch

    Hello All. I've been doing a lot of reading and I've decided to go on a search for an american "railroad type" pocket watch. I would like this to be a watch I will not be afraid of using and one that is a sort of "best value". I would like this to be a quality time piece that I can have serviced and give to my son in 20 years.

    Here is what I think I've learned so far:

    1. I would be looking for a model that had a high production run.
    2. 17 jewels. Are there any issues with a 15 jewel models?
    3. Waltham, Elgin, Hamilton.
    4. Two models that have stood out: Waltham 1883 and Hamilton 992. However, from when I looked into RR watches back in the mid '90s, I understood then that the 992 is a highly sought out model and the prices are up because of that. True?
    5. Plain, functional case.
    6. Manufactured between 1880 and 1920.

    So I am looking for suggestions for finding a plain-Jane model that was still a high quality movement back in the day and where I would look. Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
    Vintage & NAWCC Forum moderator Ben_hutcherson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Kentucky, USA

    Re: Need suggestions for my first vintage pocket watch

    In terms of jewel count-

    15 is fine and in fact was considered "fully jeweled" up to the 1890s. With that said, you won't find many railroad quality, fully adjusted 15 jewel watches made much after 1895 or so, and you won't find many railroad grade watches with 17 jewels made after 1915 or so.

    Hamilton 992s are great and prices are way down on them.

    1883 model Walthams were made in a wide variety of grades. Only the top three of these, the Crescent St, gr. 35, and Appleton, Tracy & Co are usually considered railroad grade. All railroad grade 1883 models Walthams have 15 or 17 jewels.

    In terms of Walthams, I rather like the 1892 models. The Vanguard, Crescent St. and 845 are usually considered to be the railroad grade watches in the model, although Appleton, Tracy & Co watches would have been approved on some railroads.
    Member National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors
    Member, NAWCC Chapter 149. Vice President and Secretary NAWCC Chapter 140. Member, NAWCC Convention Committee.
    Serious collector of American pocket watches-Waltham(and the predecessor companies) is my specialty.

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