The 2006 Ward Francillon Time Symposium - American Watch Making II

American Waltham Watch Co.

Presented by NAWCC Chapters 174 Pocket Horology, 185 Internet Horology and 28 Lake Erie
Home ] Next ]

 

Waltham was the first American Watch Co. and pioneered almost all of the early developments in watches and watch making in the United States. Elgin was an early spin off from Waltham and eventually overtook Waltham in total production. For essentially all the period of 19th Century American Watchmaking, Waltham and Elgin had cooperative agreements intended to prevent other companies from competing with them. The first of these covered the patent center pinion. Later cooperative arrangements included stem winding and pendant setting arrangements.

ECFitchPortrait.jpg (152919 bytes)

Ezra C. Fitch

Because this seminar begins with the 1880 period, much of Waltham's early work predates the period. In particular the models 1857, 1860, 1862, 1868, 1870 and 1872 were all very important in the development of the industry but were already covered in the previous seminar "Boston, the Cradle of American Watchmaking."

In the early 1880's R. E. Robbins recognized that Waltham had grown beyond the technical development stage and required a stronger focus on products for the market. To serve this end, he brought Ezra Fitch and Duane Church in to run the operations. (Fitch was initially appointed General Manager and soon was promoted to President, an office he held for 37 years.) This resulted in the departure of Charles Vander Woerd who had been the genius behind much of the early work. The first product of the new team was Waltham's most successful watch in terms of longevity and range, the 1883 model.

The 1883 model full plate watch was followed by Waltham's 1892 model, which was the last of the Waltham 18 size designs. Although a larger watch, it incorporated many of the design elements of the earlier 16 size watches. Waltham also continued to develop the successful 16 size lines with the innovative 1888 model and their very successful 1899/1908 model.

There are examples of these watches shown in the thumbnails below. You can click on any of the pictures to find out more about the particular watch.

 

83FrostHCmvt.jpg (230847 bytes) 83FrostOFmvt.jpg (222080 bytes) 83ATCoMvt.jpg (87758 bytes) 83EmpMvt.jpg (272768 bytes)
1883 Model Grade 35 Hunting Case 1883 Model Grade 35 Open Face 1883 Model Appleton Tracy 1883 Model Employee Special
92Van17Mvt.jpg (94186 bytes) 92WId.jpg (65154 bytes) 92WImvt.jpg (97574 bytes) 88AWCo17JMvt.jpg (538547 bytes)
1892 Model 17J Vanguard 1892 Model 21J Vanguard WI Dial 1892 Model 21J Vanguard WI 1888 Model American Grade 17J
88AWCo19JMvt.jpg (137790 bytes) 88AWCo21JHCMvnt.jpg (140901 bytes) 88AWCo21JOFMvt.jpg (391655 bytes) 88RivMaxMvt.jpg (131565 bytes)
1888 Model American Grade 19J 1888 Model American Grade 21J Hunting Case 1888 Model American Grade 21J Open Face 1888 Model Riverside Maximus 21J Hunting Case
CronVicBack.jpg (137600 bytes) CronVicCover.jpg (202360 bytes) CronVicFace.jpg (107697 bytes) CronVicMvt.jpg (131697 bytes)
1888 Model Cronometro Victoria 1888 Model Cronometro Victoria 1888 Model Cronometro Victoria 1888 Model Cronometro Victoria
OMMvt.jpg (127718 bytes) OMDial.jpg (79600 bytes) OMBack.jpg (94298 bytes) OMFront.jpg (83195 bytes)
OM Model (00 Size) American Grade OM Model (00 Size) American Grade OM Model (00 Size) American Grade OM Model (00 Size) American Grade
BrgProtoMvt.jpg (413295 bytes) 12SBrgMvt.jpg (386582 bytes) Brg21Mvt.jpg (148893 bytes) Brg23MvtMvt.jpg (426652 bytes)
1888 Ebauche Bridge Model Prototype 1894 Model American Grade 21J 1899 Model American Grade 21J 1899 Model American Grade 23J
99RivMaxHtgMvt.jpg (103062 bytes) 99RivMaxHtgdial.jpg (63223 bytes) 99RivMaxNonMagMvt.jpg (93708 bytes) 99RivMaxNonMagdial.jpg (174898 bytes)
1899 Model Riverside Maximus Hunting Case 1899 Model Riverside Maximus Hunting Case Dial 1899 Model Riverside Maximus Non-Magnetic 1899 Model Riverside Maximus Non-Magnetic Dial
PMaxdial.jpg (155369 bytes) PMaxCuvette.jpg (99137 bytes) PMaxMovement.jpg (123639 bytes) PMaxFront.jpg (102917 bytes)
1908 Model Premier Maximus 1908 Model Premier Maximus 1908 Model Premier Maximus 1908 Model Premier Maximus
99GNengmvt.jpg (183094 bytes) 99GNengdial.jpg (126681 bytes) 99GNpsbmvt.jpg (192302 bytes) 99GNpsbdial.jpg (113905 bytes)
1899 Model Gilt & Nickel 15J English Export 1899 Model Gilt & Nickel 15J English Export 1899 Model Gilt & Nickel
P. S. Bartlett
1899 Model Gilt & Nickel
P. S. Bartlett