Friday, 10 January 2014

Waltham Pocket Watch Identification

I have had a few requests from people wanting to know a few tips on how to properly identify a Waltham Pocket Watch. Hopefully this short guide will help you do just that very thing. They are now classed as a collector's item, more simply because of their age than anything else. They are also no longer produced and that means of course, that the ones that are in existence, become more treasured and that in turn increases value.

It is also worth pointing out that in times of recession the value of all antiques tends to fall. That is simply because disposable income is not so readily available for people to splash out on luxuries. In a strange way though that creates a good buying market, in terms of a longer term investment. It also has the reverse effect of making it a bad time to sell your Waltham watch. For now though you are probably more interested in being able to identify if you actually have a genuine one.

How To Identify A Genuine Waltham Pocket Watch

All these watches were made between the years of 1851 and 1957 when the Waltham factory closed. As a simple rule of thumb, the older the watch, then the more value it will tend to have. They made these watches in three basic types which are:

  • Hunter Case
  • Open Face
  • Sidewinder

The Hunter style case is also called a closed watch as a case will cover the face of the watch.
The open face as the name would suggest simply has an open face, and you will find the winder for the watch positioned at the 12 o'clock position.
The sidewinder is also an open face but the winder in this case is positioned at the 3 o'clock position.
The Waltham Sidewinder

Markings Found On A Waltham Watch

Usually there are markings on the face of the watch, but for now, let's have a look at the movement. You will need to open the back cover of your watch to do this. Normally this can be done using your finger nail. However if it is too tight, then use a stiff plastic lever to open it. It can also be done with a pen knife, but just be careful not to cause any damage. Here is a link to an article that tells you how to open a Waltham pocket watch. 

On the actual movement you should then see "A.W.W.Co" and "Waltham, Mass." That is the quickest way to find out what type of watch you have and if it is indeed a Waltham. There is usually the grade marking on there as well such as Riverside, though that may not always be there.
Waltham Markings

You should also find a serial number and when you have this, it can be plugged into a table to determine the year of manufacture.

The Cover of Your Waltham Watch

If your watch has a cover you should find "AWco" on the inside, if in fact the case was made by Waltham. Many movements were of course made by Waltham, however, they did not make all the cases. In the early days especially, customers bought the movement and then took it to a jeweller to have a case made for it. This was in fact a great way for them to display their wealth.

Here is a video on how to go about identifying pocket watches in general.