Newly-Acquired Waltham Pocket Watch

Thread: Newly-Acquired Waltham Pocket Watch

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  1. #1
    Member Boge Quinn's Avatar
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    Newly-Acquired Waltham Pocket Watch

    I bought this watch at a gun show over the weekend. It is a Waltham. I don't know anything about it as I am a (perhaps overly-) enthusiastic fledgling wannabe-collector. The pictures don't do them justice, but I love the beautiful blue hands! What can you wiser ones tell me about this watch? I know we don't do valuations here, BUT...did I do OK at $150?

    Thanks,
    Boge Quinn




























  2. #2
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    Re: Newly-Acquired Waltham Pocket Watch

    I checked the NAWCC.org Waltham data page and your watch comes up as a 16 size, model 1899 grade 610 with 7 jewels made around 1904-05. Seven jewel movement were the basic, lowest quality jeweled movement and represent approximately 55-60% of all jeweled pocket watches made in the United States from 1850 til about 1930. Having seven jewels meant that wear on parts would occur sooner and accuracy would be harder to maintain over long periods of time compared to more heavily jeweled watches. Some model 1899s had as many as 23 jewels and were sold as Rail Road Standard watches. The average person of that era would most likely have a seven jewel Waltham or Elgin as even a seven jewel was not cheap,especially compared to a "dollar watch".

    A few comments on your watch: Overall condition is OK if not great. I see you have hairlines in your dial, very common with enamel dials. Most collectors try avoiding watches with them, but sometimes it can't be helped. It looks like your running your watch, not recommended for a watch that has not been serviced in a long time. Talking about valuations is a no-no, but I'll stick my neck out a bit and say that you paid too much. you didn't get hosed though. But if PWs are hard to come by in your area prices may be higher and if the watch makes you happy you should enjoy it. Watch collecting is a continuing learning experience, you should see some of the watches I've bought, especially when I was starting. Make a $30 investment and buy a copy of the "Complete Price Guide to Watches".

  3. #3
    Member Shangas's Avatar
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    Re: Newly-Acquired Waltham Pocket Watch

    A seven-jewel watch was generally considered the lowest watch of a decent quality that you could buy. Looking at its condition I would say you did alright in buying it at the price you mentioned ($150). Ron says that you should get it serviced before you use it with any regularity, and I agree. The case and dial look to be in fairly good condition. I wouldn't expect a watch over a hundred years old to be in mint condition if it was a regular-use watch in its day. My watch has a few dings around the edge of the case, but I'm not fussed.

    The dial would've put me off buying it, but if not for that, I think I would've gone for it as well.
    "Pipes are occasionally of extraordinary interest...nothing has more individuality save, perhaps, watches and bootlaces."

    - Sherlock Holmes.

    'The Yellow Face'.

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  5. #4
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: Newly-Acquired Waltham Pocket Watch

    Not much I can add here. Ron and Shangas have helped a lot. Sometimes the hairline cracks will "soak out" if the dial is cleaned as dirt gets in the cracks. However it'll be a long shot here. Ron's advice on getting a copy of Shgart is right on.

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

  6. #5
    Member Boge Quinn's Avatar
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    Re: Newly-Acquired Waltham Pocket Watch

    Thanks, guys. This place is the greatest!

    The guy from whom I bought the watch told me that it had been serviced, but then he also told me it was a Railroad watch and even I knew better than that (it's a stem set), so I know I'd better not take what he said to heart.

    How does one interpret case markings?

  7. #6
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: Newly-Acquired Waltham Pocket Watch

    if you mean the little scratched numbers sometimes you can interpret them, most of the time you can't. It depends on the watchmaker's system of codes.
    Case serial numbers are useless for any sort of ID. You can tell if a case is gold filled or solid gold, silver or not. English cases often have useful hallmarks for determining the age of the case at least.

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

  8. #7
    Member Boge Quinn's Avatar
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    Re: Newly-Acquired Waltham Pocket Watch

    I figure the little scratched numbers are pretty much impossible to decipher, but I was wanting to know where I could find out what the stamped markings mean.

  9. #8
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: Newly-Acquired Waltham Pocket Watch

    They mean it's a Keystone "J Boss" watch case, and it's gold filled - a pretty good gold filled case - 25 year wear guarantee before you see any brassing.

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

  10. #9
    Member Boge Quinn's Avatar
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    Re: Newly-Acquired Waltham Pocket Watch

    What does "J Boss" mean?

  11. #10
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: Newly-Acquired Waltham Pocket Watch

    Brand name of case I believe.

    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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