|Waltham 1899-Riverside, 17J, 1900|
Check out the Renaissance Watch Repair's web site for a brief history of Waltham which also has approximate manufacturing dates. If you are trying to identify a Waltham movement then put the serial number into the NAWCC database , remembering in both cases to use the serial number from the movement NOT the case. Note that specifications did change over time, the descriptions below being typical, also that many of the movements do not have the grade engraved on the movement, just a name, to get the grade of some you have to go to the production records or go from memory.
I had planned to copy posts onto this page but it quickly became apparent that the editor could not cope so apart from the original content I have constructed an index of the main posts with links to the individual posts regarding each grade. To see these and other posts about S16 Walthams in the reverse order they were posted then click on S16 Walthams under "labels" on the right side bar.
Waltham were not consistent in their grade naming, particularly in the long term, and it is further complicated by Export and special order models and with some grades coming with a different number of jewels and specifications which also varied with time. For the bulk of watches that have a numbered grade there are two main naming conventions:
In the first the first digit is "6" being the last digit of the movements size and the next two digits being a grade number in ascending order of quality so that a 610 is a low grade and 645 very high. This convention was followed across the size ranges so an 845 is a very high grade size 18 movement.
The second convention came in much later and had 2 digits for the size and 2 digits for the number of jewels.
Beyond that names were generally used with the following being them main high quality grades in order of increasing quality: P.S. Bartlett (PSB), Royal, Riverside, Crescent St, Vanguard, Riverside Maximus.
How Much did they cost?The following is taken from a 1913 trade advert (Thanks JS!) and shows the original cost of the movement without case adjusted for US inflation since then and the main features of the movement:
610: $187 7 Jewels
620: $297 15 Jewels
625: $376 17 Jewels
630: $416 17 Jewels adjusted for temperature
635: $440 17 Jewels adjusted for temperature, steel escape wheel, sapphire pallets
PSB: $495 17 Jewels adjusted for temperature, steel escape wheel, sapphire pallets
Royal: $574 17 Jewels adjusted for temperature and 3 positions
Riverside: $946 17 Jewels adjusted for temperature, Isochronism & 5 positions, double roller, Steel Escape, ruby & sapphire jewels
Also each had it’s own decorative style, engraving and in some cases plate design.
The watches:Listed in approximate order of desirability / value:
- 1899 & 1908 Traveler & 1908-610
- Waltham Equity
- A rare 1899 Traveler with 11 jewels
- 1908-1609 (military example)
- 1899-620/625 & 1908-620/625
- 1899 & 1908 PSB, 630 & 635 (to come)
- 1899 & 1908 Royal
- 1908 Royal Lever Set variant (rare).
- 1908-641 private label
- 1899 & 1908 Riverside
- 1908-645 (to come)
- 1899 & 1908 Crescent St (to come)
- 1888 Amn Watch Co, (to come, not to be confused with higher grade 1888-American Watch Co.)
- Anatomy of a S16 Vanguard Part I and Part 2 Later 1908 Vanguards
- Spot the difference, 1899 vs 1908 Vanguard Movements
- 1888 Riverside Maximus (to come)
- 1899 & 1908 Riverside Maximus - my 1899 with internal pictures
- 1899 Riverside Maximus Hunter
- 1899 American Watch Co., Bridge Model.
- 1888-American Watch Co.
- 1908 Premier Maximus (to come)