Waltham 16 size p.w. Max and Van

Thread: Waltham 16 size p.w. Max and Van

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  1. #1
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    Waltham 16 size p.w. Max and Van

    The much more expensive Maximus model and the cheaper Vanguard had same accuracy. There were variations in finish, decoration and parts over 40 years such that the Vanguard movements looked superior to the Maximus at certain times. Showing here a 1908 Van, and 1900 Max. The Van has better jewel mounts, gold lettering, better regulator, same diamond caps. Would appreciate comments pro and con about my observations that the early Vanguards were not much inferior to the Max. Prompted to do this because of fresh record photos of Van in glass back case that looks better than the Max in my opinion.
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    Last edited by artb; April 25th, 2011 at 00:23.

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    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Waltham 16 size p.w. Max and Van

    From my perspective, the Vanguard was always Waltham's premier Railroad Standard watch, and thus I would always reflect the "best" they could offer from a technical perspective. But that said, I also suspect that few "true" railroaders cared to spend the money, and thus the Vanguards (especially the later models) were probably targeted more at the affluent posers who wanted Railroad Grade bragging rights.
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  3. #3
    Member radger's Avatar
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    Re: Waltham 16 size p.w. Max and Van

    I agree, in these pics the Vanguard does look better than the Max, it seems brighter and sparkly and accentuated
    with gold. It is definately pleasing to the eye from an aesthetic point of view and is obviously a good watch.
    It would be hard to make a quality judgement from these pics though but disregarding first impressions and looking
    deeper I can see that the Maximus has gold set capped endstones to the pallets and the train wheels look
    to be quality gold alloy as opposed to the Vanguards train wheels which look more 'coppery'.

    I know from experience that screwed in jewelling is executed to every level of quality as are jewels in burnished
    settings so couldn't make a quality judgement from the pics but both watches will be jewelled to a very high
    standard no doubt...the screwed in jewels do look better though but that is not a quality judgement.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Waltham 16 size p.w. Max and Van

    Radger: Amazed at your understanding of the important movement aspects apparently from observing these 2 poor photos. Nice to know the Maximus name is justified.

  6. #5
    Vintage & NAWCC Forum moderator Ben_hutcherson's Avatar
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    Re: Waltham 16 size p.w. Max and Van

    This is an ancient thread I realize, but I came across it in a search and felt compelled to comment on it.

    The 16 size Vanguard was intended as a good grade of railroad watch. In terms of finish, the early ones were roughly comparable in finish and in price to a Hamilton 990 or Illinois Bunn Special. As time went on, the general level of finish declined to more of the level of a Hamilton 992 or Illinois A. Lincoln.

    By contrast, the Riverside Maximus was never intended to be a railroad watch but was rather more of an entry level prestige watch, slotted below either the "American Watch Company" bridge model or the Premier Maximus depending on the exact time it was produced. As a testament to this, one will note that Riv Max watches are almost always pendant set.

    Please note on Art's example the overall finer finish of all the screw heads, the full gold train(as pointed out above), and the finely beveled points of the regulator star. Art's Maximus is actually a bit unusual in this sense, as the later ones typically were fitted with a Reed's patent whiplash regulator rather than the Church's Patent star. I've been told by someone whom I trust that the jewel settings without screws of the Riv Max were considered a more difficult execution than the typical screwed settings of the Vanguard at the time.

    With regard to the diamond endstones-I've always been told that Riverside Maximus watches were always fitted with four diamond endstones. Two of these are always the endstones on the balance wheel. The other two can be paired on the escape wheel, or can be the visible endstone on the escape wheel and on the fork. The only Riv Max I've owned had them paired on the EW. Since Art's appears to have a diamond cap on the fork, I would be suspicious that the one on the EW has been changed(it will interchange with the ruby cap on the Vanguard and Crescent St). The Vanguard typically only has one pair of diamond caps, in this case on the balance wheel.
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  7. #6
    Member radger's Avatar
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    Re: Waltham 16 size p.w. Max and Van

    Ben, your depth of knowledge of U.S watches is trully astounding.
    Very informative post.

  8. #7
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    Re: Waltham 16 size p.w. Max and Van

    Name:  wal bartax.jpg
Views: 183
Size:  212.1 KBTruly appreciate this review by a couple of my respected experts. A cheap Bartlett and a later Maximus as Ben describes:


    Name:  IMG_0028ax.jpg
Views: 201
Size:  93.0 KB
    Last edited by artb; September 8th, 2012 at 17:15.

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