Thursday, 18 September 2014

Waltham 1899 Riverside Maximus.

Here at last is a Riverside Maximus, in fact two of them! Except for a few specials and limited editions, the Premier Maximus (think £20k++ in a London store) and the rare American Watch Co Bridge model, this is the highest grade of watch made by Waltham.

Left: Waltham 1899 Riverside Maximus, 23J, 1901 and right 1902.
Click any image for a larger view.
The 1902 example opened up.
Waltham developed the 1899 Vanguard for railroad use, although many were  not used as such, the Riverside Maximus with essentially the same mechanicals was designed purely for the luxury goods market. Production was small with only 13,800 made (another source shows 14,600) of which 10,900 had 23 Jewels (rather than 21) and 7,050 were open faced with 23 jewels.

Production runs were small ranging from 100 to occasionally 500, the older of these two watches is from the third run of 23 jewelled open faced movements. The movement plates are damascened to the back whilst the face pate has a jewelled finish.

The  movement has a gold train, except for the escape wheel which is steel. Top plate jewels are set in raised gold mounts, the barrel is jewelled and there are four diamond cap jewels to the balance and escape with the rest being "fine ruby and sapphires".

Like the Vanguard it is adjusted to temperature, isochronism and five positions and it has micro adjustment to the Breguet sprung cut compensating balance with a double roller

The three piece dials have lettering in a font reserved for the Maximus, the Roman dial on the left is particularly rare with one selling recently for almost $300.

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