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Classic watches, watchmaking, antique tools, history, vintage ephemera and more!

Learn about mechanical timepieces and how they work, the history of the American watch industry and especially all about the Elgin National Watch Company! Check back for new content daily.

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American Waltham


This is an 18 size, 11 jewel, American Waltham pocketwatch, made about 1879.  

It is a lever-set Wm. Ellery model.
Like other American makers they marked major parts with the serial numbers of the movements, or at least the last few digits of the numbers.



This is the lever mechanism, assembled. But there was a problem.

An intermediary winding wheel on this Waltham pocketwatch had two broken teeth. I searched high and low and amazingly found another of the exact part! Unfortunately the one I found also had a couple broken teeth (not a good sign, maybe it's prone to that). Searching deeper in the older boxes, I found another remarkable gear that is as close to exactly the same as I could hope for, except, strangely, the diameter of the hole in the middle was too small.
It's an odd coincidence, it seems the same part otherwise. Watch parts do not mix and match. They have to be exactly right. The one I found must be a later Waltham part.

It didn't take long to change the hole in the lathe.
I avoid watch case repair, but I'm making an exception in this, uh, case...  Too bad the photo is blurry, for some reason.  I would have taken another one but I had already put the watch back together.

The stem had pushed though the thing it is supposed to push on to move the latch spring.  The latch had to come out to get at that small brass part, which also holds the stem in from the bottom, as it turned out, in addition to the screw in the neck. It's an old style case.
Earlier Walthams are marked "A. W. Co." on the dial. I am sometimes asked what maker this is.
Here's a detail of the lever, which pulls out to engage setting mode.






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