WatchUSeek Watch Forums banner
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi--
I have some watches that were my grandfather's, and I'm especially interested in this 1906 (based on the serial #) Waltham in the gold-filled case. He worked for Chicago Surface Lines (A predecessor of CTA/Chicago Transit Authority) as a street car driver (motorman). It appears to be a size 9 if I measured correctly (edge to edge across the movement). I can't find the style name anywhere, however, or the number of jewels in the movement. The crystal is missing (my fault). I've seen this style of roman numerals associated with railroad watches, and since he worked for CSL, I wonder if perhaps he got it through work. I have two others from him (shown at the bottom of the page): Another, larger Waltham in a silver case, and an Elgin that also looks to be around a size 9, in a silver case. I think this Waltham has by far the nicest looking face of the three, however (yes, that is a series of hairline cracks you see in the whte enamel). Don't know anything about the other two watches, they seem to have twist-off backs, but I can't get them to budge. None of the three are operational.

I'd like to know the model, if anyone can help.

DSC-crop_2283.jpg

cropTight_2279.jpg

This is the inside back cover. I've copied the smaller engraved markings seen here on the inside of the back, and flipped them right-side-up for ease in reading, and added what I'm pretty sure are the correct notations next to them. Other photos of the few case backs I've seen don't usually have all this information, and I have no idea what it all means, unless they might be records of different parts used in the movement?

I did find out courtesy of Google, that SWC is the case maker Star Watch Case Co. As you can see, the case serial number is 1641902.

movement_2282.jpg

The serial number on the movement is just above the superimposed serial number.

The other two watches (no crystal on the American):
other_2295.jpg

Is it possible to obtain an original crystal for the 1906 Waltham? It was quite thin, and I'd guess that any new replacement wouldn't be quite as nice.

Thanks for any help you can provide!

Ron


 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,383 Posts
Very nice to have these watches passed down from your Grandfather.

There are experts in American pocketwatches read this forum and I've no doubt you will
be given be plenty of information on your watches.
In the meantime I can tell you that the tiny inscribed markings you describe, are watchmakers codes.

Whenever the watch was serviced, the watchmaker would mark the watch with his code, this would
serve as his reference.
These letters and numbers would only mean something to the watchmaker who inscribed them as each
watchmaker had his own system and the codes matched an entry in his service records. With these service records
he would track the service and repair history of the watch.

In the case of your watch, they tell us that the watch was regularly serviced whilst in use and it was serviced at
least four times by the same watchmaker.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks so much, radger! I'm a fairly intricate model maker at times, yet I was just amazed when I opened this watch and saw the detailed decoration on the components, and the etched/engraved markings in the back. Amazing to think such craftsmanship was common among folks who dealt with things like this.

Ron H
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,498 Posts
. . . . . . Amazing to think such craftsmanship was common among folks who dealt with things like this. Ron H
Just priceless! Particularly with no direction on how to take that statement. Prior to the rise of astrophysics, horology was the most sophisicated of sciences. p
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,315 Posts
Part of what makes it amusing is that this watch represents a fairly pedestrian example. It's a low-grade, mass-produced watch churned out in large numbers to appeal the sensibilities and pocketbooks of the fairly unsophisticated consumer. Which is not to dismiss it's value or the fact that it was a good watch that was clearly well cared for. And "cheap" is a relative term anyway; my 1906 Eatons catalog lists this type of watch (7j in a 21year gold filled case) for $10.90. At that time, the average annual income of (for example) an office worker was $846, and a "production" worker made $375. That means that even a budget version watch like this was worth a weeks wages for someone with a good job.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ron, thank you very much for this data! I went as far as I could with my limited knowledge about even where to look for more info on my own, so I very much appreciate the help.

Ron H
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top