This post is kind of kicked off by a post from Radger in the best american thread. I am currently repairing some model 1883 walthams, I thought some might be interested in a little comparison between the grades.
There were a lot of different named and unnamed grades in the 1883 lineup - at various prices. In general, the higher the price the better the specification, although the unnamed grades were typically more watch for the money - you paid a premium for the named grades.
From the 1887 SF Meyers Catalog - movement price only.
Grade Material Price RR Grade Sterling 7J - Gilded 11.00 No Wm. Ellery 11J - Gilded 13.50 No R.E. Robbins 13J - Gilded 17.00 No P.S. Bartlett 15J - Gilded 19.00 No (Adj Temp) Grade 25 15J - Nickel 24.00 No (Adj Temp + 3 pos) Waltham Watch Co. 15J - Gilded 25.30 No (Adj Temp) Waltham Watch Co. 15J - Nickel 30.00 No (Adj Temp) Appleton Tracy 15J - Gilded 30.00 Yes (Adj Temp + 3 (or 5) pos) Grade 35 15J - Nickel 36.00 Yes (Adj Temp + 6 pos) Appleton Tracy 15J - Nickel 48.00 Yes (Adj Temp + 3 (or 5) pos) Crescent St. 15J - Nickel 70.00 Yes (Adj Temp + 6 pos)
You can see solid nickel plates add considerably to the cost.
People have said the grade 35 is equivalent to the Crescent St. without the name. But it turns out this isn't quite true. I'll focus on some minor little items to make my point:
Here is a minute wheel from a Sterling grade:
Actually it is the same minute wheel for the P.S. Bartlett, AT&Co and Grade 35. In my 1911 catalog this would cost you $1.50
Here is the minute wheel from a Crescent ST grade:
This solid Nickel minute wheel (also for the later Vanguard) would have set you back $3.00
Similar deal for the hour wheel:
Prices were again $1.50 for the gilt and $3.00 for the nickel respectively.
Actually here are all 3 from the Crescent St. even the cannon pinion is a huge step up from the next model down - although I can't find the photo I took of the ordinary one, might edit this later.
So, a grade 35 is not equivalent to a Crescent St. in finish - although it was in adjustments. That was what was under the dial, what about the visible side of things?
Grade 35 Regulator:
Crescent St. regulator:
As you can see, the shaft is rounded, highly polished, and the adjuster is scalloped. Missing from both the other (RR grade) grades as shown.
Following are some assorted photos of the level of finishing on the 1883 Crescent St. model, its all in the detail, and just taken that little (or a lot) more.
Underneath of top plate (almost as good):
Mirror finished, literally - that is the reflection of the tree outside my door
Anyway, thats it for now - Crescent St. is waiting on a new lower pivot jewel to arrive.