Oldest Verifiable Waltham Trench Watch Part II
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  1. #1
    Member minarima's Avatar
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    Oldest Verifiable Waltham Trench Watch Part II

    Hey folks,

    Since my last post a few months ago (https://forums.watchuseek.com/f11/old...h-1966370.html) I've been busy restoring my 1912 Waltham trench watch back to its former glory. First I gently cleaned the four piece sterling silver case, removing a fair bit of grime and tarnish that had accumulated over the years in the process. Next I sent the case off to the US to have a fresh new glass crystal installed as the one it had when I received it was made from plastic and had started to yellow at the edges. I then began to search fervently for the correct 0 size blue 'spade and whip' watch hands that we all decided it originally would have had (many thanks to Bobbee for sharing the original adverts to confirm this); these watch hands are rare and not easy to come by! While all this was going on I purchased a lovely two piece 'brandy' leather watch strap with a sterling silver buckle from the very talented David Boettcher.

    However, this is where things got a little interesting- while I was waiting for the case to return from the US I noticed a watch had been put up for sale that bore a striking resemblance to mine. On closer inspection I noticed that not only was it similar, it was exactly the same! It had the same Arabic style red 12 dial, the same ultra rare cursive 'U.S.A.' font under the Waltham dial label, and not only that it also had the same ultra rare four piece sterling silver Dennison wristwatch case, featuring the same 'n' hallmark stamp for 1912/13. To finish it all off it also held the same gold guilt 0 size 7 jewel movement dated to the same 1909/10 period!

    But it gets even better- when I compared the Dennison case serial numbers they were only 9 digits apart (!!!), being 139764 and 139773 respectively. What I find so remarkable about this is that these two watches were likely made on the very same day, and now over 100 years later they've been reunited again and sit side by side as they would have done originally back in 1912!

    After ordering a second two piece watch strap from David they now happily sit side by side in my collection.

    Enjoy!


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    Last edited by minarima; November 20th, 2015 at 22:03.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Oldest Verifiable Waltham Trench Watch Part II

    Amazing find!
    Not only do you have one of the rarest watches, you find it's twin! Great sympathetic restoration too.
    Great stuff.

    Cheers, Bob.
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  3. #3
    Member bsshog40's Avatar
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    Re: Oldest Verifiable Waltham Trench Watch Part II

    That is really cool to have a couple nice twins such as those!!!
    Bobby - My original music! Check me out! Thanks!
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...11CC8CC6093D80

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    Member Shangas's Avatar
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    Re: Oldest Verifiable Waltham Trench Watch Part II

    I'm not normally one for wristwatches, but boy, I'd love to have that on my wrist!!
    "Pipes are occasionally of extraordinary interest...nothing has more individuality save, perhaps, watches and bootlaces."

    - Sherlock Holmes.

    'The Yellow Face'.

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    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
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    Re: Oldest Verifiable Waltham Trench Watch Part II

    Hi
    Two nice pieces indeed
    I presume you are dating them to 1912 by the movement serial number?

    For certain the movements can be 1912, but as a cased wristwatch, I think 1915/16, as that ties up with both the hallmark (London U), and the fact we rarely see American mens wristwatches prior to that.
    In general we see 1917, but based on your silver cases we can presume 1915/1916

    Regards
    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT. FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL. THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.

    "Failure is not an option" - Gene Kranz
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  7. #6
    Member minarima's Avatar
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    Re: Oldest Verifiable Waltham Trench Watch Part II

    Quote Originally Posted by HOROLOGIST007 View Post
    Hi
    Two nice pieces indeed
    I presume you are dating them to 1912 by the movement serial number?
    Hi Adam,

    I too couldn't believe that a Dennison wristwatch case could date to 1912/13, which is why I consulted those in this forum who are more knowledgable than myself on the subject and started the following thread earlier in May:

    https://forums.watchuseek.com/f11/old...h-1966370.html

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    For the sake of clarity I've attached a closeup image of the inner case showing the markings and hallmarks that show that the watch was constructed by Dennison in Birmingham, England in the year 1912/13 (shown by the Birmingham anchor hallmark and date letter 'n'). The movements actually date earlier to 1909/10.

    I've yet to see an earlier Waltham trench style wristwatch, but I look forward to hearing about any!

    Cheers,

    M
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  8. #7
    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
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    Re: Oldest Verifiable Waltham Trench Watch Part II

    Yes, absolutely correct, its Birmingham, I didn't notice that, so 1912/13 is correct and early.
    Its not as "amazing" as its UK, where we see men's wristwatches as early as 1905 and 1906, and certainly from WWI time 1914/15.

    Not detracting from a fine watch, nicely restored.
    Not sure the earliest Waltham known, I do have an Elgin 1913 and inscribed 1915.
    I think my earliest Waltham is 1916 or 17
    Regards
    adam
    Last edited by HOROLOGIST007; November 22nd, 2015 at 01:46.
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    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT. FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL. THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.

    "Failure is not an option" - Gene Kranz
    "Owning a vintage watch is great, understanding where it sits in Horology is magnificent"
    and
    "By Teaching Others, We Teach Ourselves"
    Adam

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    Re: Oldest Verifiable Waltham Trench Watch Part II

    I certainly have not personally seen a genuine Waltham verified w/w this early, and to have two that are not only in cases only nine digits apart, but have movements bearing serial numbers only a couple of hundred digits apart is not only unusual it is extraordinary!

    Thanks for sharing them, we probably will not see their like again.

    Bob.
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  10. #9
    Vintage & NAWCC Forum moderator Ben_hutcherson's Avatar
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    Re: Oldest Verifiable Waltham Trench Watch Part II

    Just as a minor point, I feel compelled to point out that serial number dating is not "gospel", especially not for Walthams higher than 7.5 million or so for which the ledgers have been lost to history. Serial numbers were often blocked out years ahead of time and finished as demand compelled. As an extreme example of this, there are high grade 1872 model Walthams whose serial number dates them to the 1880s, were listed as unsold in 1900, and have documented provenance(along with movement features) indicating that they were finished and sold around 1908.

    With English cased watches, the case hallmarks are far more trustworthy than the movement serial number.

    BTW, the plum hands on your second example appear to be fully in-line with a factory plum finished hand and bear the distinct hallmarks of carrying their original finish(many refinished hands end up with rounded off edges as a necessary side-effect of the polishing process).
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    Member National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors
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    Serious collector of American pocket watches-Waltham(and the predecessor companies) is my specialty.

  11. #10
    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
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    Re: Oldest Verifiable Waltham Trench Watch Part II

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben_hutcherson View Post
    Just as a minor point, I feel compelled to point out that serial number dating is not "gospel", especially not for Walthams higher than 7.5 million or so for which the ledgers have been lost to history. Serial numbers were often blocked out years ahead of time and finished as demand compelled. As an extreme example of this, there are high grade 1872 model Walthams whose serial number dates them to the 1880s, were listed as unsold in 1900, and have documented provenance(along with movement features) indicating that they were finished and sold around 1908.

    With English cased watches, the case hallmarks are far more trustworthy than the movement serial number.

    BTW, the plum hands on your second example appear to be fully in-line with a factory plum finished hand and bear the distinct hallmarks of carrying their original finish(many refinished hands end up with rounded off edges as a necessary side-effect of the polishing process).
    Agreed on Waltham serial numbers, but we can get true date (cased and probably sold) by the assay mark.

    Its an early Waltham mans piece for sure based on that.

    Not sure if I saw an earlier cased (by assay mark) Waltham
    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT. FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL. THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.

    "Failure is not an option" - Gene Kranz
    "Owning a vintage watch is great, understanding where it sits in Horology is magnificent"
    and
    "By Teaching Others, We Teach Ourselves"
    Adam

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