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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I inhereted several antique pocket watches, oddly enough, they all keep perfect time.

I attempted to research my favorite watch, however, glasses and a magnifying glass did not help me determine the date made, nor did it solve the mystery of jewels, size, etc.

I think it is either an Elgin, 1874 or a Waltham 1864? I don't think the case is the original, as the date's don't match.

I have attached several pic's that have the pertinent info overlayed in large type in the event that anyone more knowlegable than me regarding pocket watches (on a scale of 1-10, I'm a -1) might be kind enough to point me in the right direction.

This watch is large and astoundingly heavy. Whoever carried it in thier pocket must have used industrial grade suspenders to keep their britches up. The watch winds with a key and the time is set with the same key via a post in the center of the watch face. The case is battered and tarnished, but the timepiece itself is in very good condition. It keeps perfect time as long as I remember to wind it.

If anyone has the time or inclination, I would appreciate any help offerred.

Thanks,

Julie
 

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Julie, you appear to have a Waltham Appleton Tracy 1857 model, produced between start September and end November 1866. It is a 15 jewel watch with expansion balance, adjusted to positions. It is considered a high grade Waltham for that period.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you very much.

The watch company timeline was confusing since it seemed to be the same individuals operating under multiple enterprises.

One question? The 15 jewel determination, is that based on your familiarity of this type of timepiece or were you able to count them on the picture? I didn't see 15 of anything that looked similar.

One more question? Is it common for a pocket watch of this age to work so well without maintenance? I doubt the watch had been wound up for many, many years before I received it.

Yet more questions, so sorry... Do you have a link available where I might view the same or similar watch as it might have appeared in original case? Am I correct in my assumption that it was remounted at some point due to the conflicting dates of watch and case?

Were all pocket watches of this time period this large and heavy? All the others I have are smaller and much lighter.

Again, thank you for your time and sharing your knowledge, it might have taken me weeks to get only a bad guess of the watch's details.
 

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"Waltham" is the name given to the company based on its location in Waltham Mass, but the company itself went through numerous name changes/mergers/etc during its lifetime as the American pocket watch industry exploded around the turn of the century.

You can "see" the jewels as small circles of pink or reddish glass around (or over) the pivots of the main gears (a pivot is the stick through the middle of the gear). In 1866, 15 jewels was considered "Fully Jeweled", in large part because watchmakers used REAL rubies and sapphires, and it wasn't worth the cost of putting jewels anywhere else. You can only see 4 (or five) of the jewels in the picture; there's one on the ends of three of the gears, and two on the end of the balance wheel pivot (one on top of the other). That's duplicated on the other side of the watch. You also can't see another set of two jewels around the escape lever, two pallet jewels on the end of lever, and a jeweled "pin" on the bottom of the escape wheel.

It wouldn't surprise me if the case was original; the "fob" might have been added to the case later. The weight is largly due to the case. 18size was pretty standard (and was the requirement for most railroad work). Gentlemen would usually wear their watches in their vests, not their pants.
 

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For the technical data you can look it up yourself here, just fill in the movement serial number:
http://www.nawcc-info.org/WalthamDB/LookupSN.asp

It may work perfectly fine now when you try it, that means it was in good condition when it was taken out of service. But listen carefully; by now all the old oils will have dried out and if you run it you will wear it out in no time, generating permanent damage to all areas that should have been lubricated. Then it will be an expensive affair to bring it back to the good condition it may be in now. If you intend to run it, send it to a good watchmaker (not a jeweller) and have it cleaned, serviced and oiled. This is something you can't do on your own.

For the case, your silver coin case is perfectly appropriate for the watch. It may or may not be the original one, but it is period correct. The dated fob has not been with the watch from new, obviously. At the time this watch was new it could have been sold without a case from Waltham, and the first owner selected the case he liked from the retailer he bought it from. That was the norm.

All pocketwatches were not this large. This is a big 18 size mens watch, and with a really substantial case to make it even bulkier. Ladies watches of the same period were much smaller.
 

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On an historical note, your "confusion" over the identiy of the watch as either Elgin or Waltham is somewhat appropriate...Elgin started in 1864, and in 1865 they "poached" seven key employees from Waltham. As a result, their watches were very similar in design and appearance.
 

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One more note, your silver case has beautiful patina. Think twice before you start to polish it. If you do it would probably look very shiny. But bear in mind that most collectors appreciate good patination and would rather have a watch like this than one that has been recently polished. Remember, it can take a century to build up patina like this, but only a few minutes to remove it. Most importantly, when patina is removed, it can not be put back. I know people will have different opinions about this, but please think twice.
 

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Thank you very much.

The watch company timeline was confusing since it seemed to be the same individuals operating under multiple enterprises.

One question? The 15 jewel determination, is that based on your familiarity of this type of timepiece or were you able to count them on the picture? I didn't see 15 of anything that looked similar.

One more question? Is it common for a pocket watch of this age to work so well without maintenance? I doubt the watch had been wound up for many, many years before I received it.
It's not unusual for a watch of that age to run. If it is going to be run much at all I too would suggest that it be given a cleaning and reoiling by a good watch repair shop.

Were all pocket watches of this time period this large and heavy? All the others I have are smaller and much lighter.
Yes, many of the older pocketwatches were large and heavy. Indeed the fat round watches were sometimes called turnips.

I believe you said it was an inheritance. Since this watch represents a part of your family history you might want to pull together all the information you can get from other family members and keep it with the watch. :)
 

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very nice peice, the only problem i can see is that the hour hand seems not to be in keeping with the others and was probably attached later after the original broke. Im sure it will be easy to find a replacement in the same style as the minute hand though

Thanks

Hazchrono
 
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