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Hello friends, first thank you for the good reception that the presentation I made a few days ago abouth Illinois Bunn Special

While in the aforementioned thread, I tried to expose in a very vague way what was a railway watch and his context, now I will try to talk about the new way of production of watches that was developed in an innovative way in the United States. The second of my list of selected, is treated as the title of the thread of a Waltham Vanguard 18s, model 1892.



Undoubtedly "The American Waltham Watch Factory" was one of the great promoters of the nascent watch industry in his country. Located in Waltham, Massachusetts and created in 1854, it was the first factory that brought together all the production of all the elements necessary to build a watch. In 1890 he already had a staff of about 3000 people working producing more than 2000 calibers a day. This production system was basically based on two pillars: that of creating movements whose parts were interchangeable with each other (what made production costs cheaper) and the great innovation of the moment, namely; the automation of the production itself. The engineers of the Waltham, created specific machines to automate and thus accelerate the process of construction of the parts of the watches. Who wants to expand this topic can consult this book that I found in the "Open library" published in 1896 The evolution of automatic machinery as applied to the manufacture of watches at Waltham, Mass. to_the_manufacture_of_watches_at_Waltham_Mass.

Here an image of one of the production rooms of the Waltham


And if you want to know the history of the factory, here is very good information about it.

American Waltham Watch Factory Photos: Introduction

American Waltham Watch Company: History, Serial Numbers, Production Dates

We must not forget in any case that this need to automate the production to increase the number of watches, always was given by the exponential increase of the railway, as already noted in the first presentation American Watch Manufactures

It is also important to emphasize that the increase in the production of watches did not diminish its constructive quality, nor the beauty of the calibers (consequence of the strong standards required by the railway corporation to be approved for their use) and that we saw earlier Approved Railroad Watches

This achievement by Waltham, is one of the great milestones of watchmaking

Made this small introduction, necessary in my opinion, let's see the watch.


We can see its double-sunk porcelain dial, with Arabic numerals (embossed) with enamel paint. This is quite well preserved (except for having some hairs marked)


Incredibly beautiful, both for the materials chosen for its manufacture and for its delicate decoration, this model represents one of the "high grades" in the world of railway watches. I can not stop admiring his golden chatons, with his hardware also made in gold. The regulator and steering wheel assembly is simply (for me) amazing.

20190614_140359 1.jpg

My camera has no macro, but we can appreciate the exquisite detail of the diamond end stone carved on the steering wheel shaft (if it was not carved, it would be a sapphire) The regulator made of gold, is owned by an engineer of the Waltham where he adopts his name (Type Church) if you have seen the link of the book on automation, you will see that DH Church promoted the same, developing production machinery.


In a catalog image of the time, we can appreciate better his characteristics:


The caliber is in very good aesthetic and functional state (beats at 18,000 laps and has 42h of power reserve) and in 24h has only won 6s, incredible as it seems for a clock that is 116 years old. In the database, introducing its serial number, we see that this unit was manufactured Circa 1903, which is the 1982 model and corresponds to the "degree" vanguard. Waltham is also credited with "naming" the calibers so that his potential customers would recognize the product. This caliber was in production between the years 1893 and 1915 and a total of 102,444 units were created in 191 runs. In this particular case and always according to the database, it seems that there is an error in the run or production run in the files of the waltham itself since they call it "hunting" and yet its configuration is "open face". , this factor, made me doubt about his purchase, but I saw that there are many cases similar to mine.

The "Vanguard" was one of the star products of the Waltham and in general of the North American watchmaking of the time and they did not lack reason seeing their characteristics. Look at this other advertising example from 1910.


But whoever wants to know in depth the 1892 model that does not stop visiting the blog of Mr. Jim Schneider who has done a great job, collecting all the variations that the model suffered in its years of existence. (there is a classification, even, made based on the position and orientation of the screws of the plate)

Waltham Watch Company's Model 1892

I want to stress this thread that the quality of the watches did not suffer any loss, in favor of its production in series (partially automated) and to illustrate a little more extra from the book "The Perfected American Watch" published in 1900 this interesting page that collects the words of M. Favre Perret of the high commissioner of the Swiss industry


Waltham lovers will love this book

And while this watch is a good representative in my opinion of the "haute horlogerie" for all its intrinsic characteristics, I do not want to end the presentation without emphasizing the purpose for which it was built: to be a tool for railroad workers. On this I already spoke more extensively in my first post, and I just wanted to point out that this model was approved since its appearance in 1893 by different railway corporations and by Webb C. Ball in its famous list of 1906 Approved Railroad Watches

the full text of the list here

To finish a didactic video about the Waltham factory

Thank you very much as always for your attention.

PS I know in advance that many of you already know the topics discussed, so, I pray that if you find any error you let me know. Apart from learning and enjoying our passion, my goal with these presentations, is to serve as a guide or first reference for novices like me, that we enter the fantastic world of American railway watches.

Hope you like

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A very quick comment today: as I recall, these Model 1892's were known to be unusually challenging during disassembly...specifically, as relates to the pallet fork pivots i.e., it's easy to break one!

I'm pretty sure that Waltham wanted these 92's to be assembled on the top plate: the train is put in place , then the pillar plate's lowered onto it. I have read many Posts on this procedure, and quite a few folks have devised ways to assemble these watches on the pillar, then lower the top plate.

To each, their own...but, try the top plate method: I have--on several 1892's--and it works just fine!

A very nice Grade of watch. Waltham's last 18s, and a fine way to wrap-up many years of development. Michael.
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