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  1. #1

    Default Waltham Pocket Watch Case Identification

    Hello - I'm new to NAWCC and this is my first post so please bear with me. Thanks!

    I've recently started collecting and repairing antique pocket watches and am having a difficult time identifying the pocket watch cases...maker, gold filled, solid gold, base metal..etc.

    Does anyone have suggestions as to how I may determine what I've got on each pocket watch case?

    For example, I've attached a photo of a hunters case that has an 1889 Waltham movement in it and is marked Waltham 151894 on the back lid and 151894 on the front lid. I think it might be solid gold but I don't know how to determine that.

    Please help educate me as to the tricks to the trade in identifying pocket watch cases

    Many thanks in advance!!! Dennis
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 1889case.jpg  

  2. #2

    Default Re: Waltham Pocket Watch Case Identification (RE: dglore)

    Welcome to the board, Dennis.

    The trademark in your photo is one of the correct marks for the Waltham Watch Case Co. If there is an accompanying mark (as shown on my first photo below) this would show that the case is 14K solid gold. My second photo shows the "Waltham" mark only, and I have been assured by knowledgeable people here that this is a 10K solid gold case. So presumably that applies to yours too

    American "hallmarks" are problematic because there was no legally enforced marking system. My practice has been to check specific marks here, and then slowly to learn which marks mean what!

    I have a book called "History of the American Watch Case" by Warren Niebling which contains some trademarks, but the book is far from a complete reference (it doesn't even mention Waltham Watch Case Co !!!) and it says nothing about karatage marks, and it's pretty difficult to use for reference. I wouldn't recommend it.

    There is another book referred to as "Ehrhardt's Trade Marks" which I believe is rather better, but I have been looking for a copy for two years without success. Both of these books are out of print.

    My own rule is this. If the case doesn't contain the words "Warranted US Assay 14K (or 18K)" I assume it's not gold until an expert tells me otherwise, or until I've had it tested.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 154 4 Peoria.jpg   203 4 Waltham.jpg  

  3. #3

    Smile Re: Waltham Pocket Watch Case Identification (RE: MartyR)

    Hi Dennis:

    Please add my welcome to Marty's.

    I can't help you with the specific case you've pictured, but in general, the linked-to list of Watch Case Makers may be helpful. In many of the articles it lists, the References section at the bottom has a link to a 1904 trade mark book.

    By the way, strictly speaking, the identifying stampings/engravings in American watch cases are trade marks, not hallmarks. There is a world of difference in their authority of statement of precious metal content (hallmarks are required by government authority generally in Europe - trade mark use is optional and means only what the manufacturer says it means).
    Kent
    That guy down in Georgia

  4. #4

    Default Re: Waltham Pocket Watch Case Identification (RE: Kent)

    Hi Kent and Marty - just wanted to give both of you a quick Thank You both for your insight!! I think I'm starting to figure these cases out now!

    Thanks again,
    Dennis

  5. #5
    Registered user. Candew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Waltham Pocket Watch Case Identification (RE: dglore)

    My very first post. I would not be here except for finding this site based on this thread. I have poked around the site and all I can say is wow, what a goldmine of information.

    OK a little background first. My Waltham 14K case with with a Waltham movement serial 4154394 belonged to my great grandmother. She raised my mother and one day a scrap gold dealer came to the door. He offered to buy the watch as it was not working. My mother asked her grandmother if she could have it because it was so pretty. She gave it to her. When I was 12 my mother passed the watch to me so I have had it for 50 years.

    Recently my wife's mom passed and we inherited the watches that she had. One of them is the one with just Waltham on the case with a serial and no other markings. It too has a Waltham movement, serial 3439715. Both movements are size 6.

    I have had two different jewlers look at the case and neither can determine exactly what it is made from without an acid test, which I will not let them do.

    I decided that since both are similar movements and the same size I would weigh them. I am not sure if that proves anything but the 14K cased watch weighs 57.8 grams and the other case 55.2 grams.

    Perhaps one of you experts can extrapolate that into something meaningful.

    I am attaching some pictures. If you need more info please ask.

    Thanks and keep up the great posts!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails waltham.jpg   waltham 14k.jpg   waltham 14k weight.jpg   waltham weight.jpg  

  6. #6
    Registered User richiec's Avatar
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    Default Re: Waltham Pocket Watch Case Identification (RE: Candew)

    My humble opinion is that both are 14K, the weight difference is that one is a hunter case and one is an open face case. They need to be weighed with all of the intangibles removed, no lift springs, movements, steel parts to really determine the amount of gold in the cases. Being heirlooms, I hope you don't sell them. The value is definitely in the cases, not the movements but if they were mine, they would never be sold. I recommend writing down as much history as you can on each watch and hand it down to the next generation and hope they appreciate it, defniitely no guarantee there.

  7. #7
    Registered user. Candew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Waltham Pocket Watch Case Identification (RE: dglore)

    Thanks for the reply. Actually I should have said both are hunter cases. You can sort of make that out in the pictures on the scale where I had the front and rear covers open

  8. #8
    Registered user. Candew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Waltham Pocket Watch Case Identification (RE: Candew)

    Just got a copy of Ehrhardt's Trade marks and it says for just the Waltham mark they are solid but are 14K outside and 8K inside using a Waltham patent.

    I take that to mean they are plate but use 8K for the inner plate and 14K outer plate.

  9. #9

    Smile Re: Waltham Pocket Watch Case Identification (RE: Candew)

    Quote Originally Posted by Candew View Post
    Just got a copy of Ehrhardt's Trade marks and it says for just the Waltham mark they are solid but are 14K outside and 8K inside using a Waltham patent.

    I take that to mean they are plate but use 8K for the inner plate and 14K outer plate.
    I don't know if that is accurate or not.

    However, that type of construction is more properly known as double stock.
    Kent
    That guy down in Georgia

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