Waltham pocket watch

May 25, 2020. 23:31 UTC
Waltham Pocket Watch
United States of America

Pocket watch

Acquired from

For sale

This was my Grandfather’s pocket watch. It has a gold or brass case (not sure), 3 inches high, 2 inches wide. The actual watch part is 2”x2”.


My Grandfather and then my Dad

Answered within about 1 hour
May 26, 00:52 UTC
By David

Fair Market Value

$60 - $80 USD

Insurance Value

$140 USD
What does this mean?

Hi Maureen,
Thanks for sending in your grandfather's pocket watch to mearto.com for an appraisal. I know I had asked for a photos of the movement but I am now convinced it would not affect the ultimate price as you will see in my appraisal. I will try to help you with this today.
Gent's gold filled, keyless pendant wound and pendant set, open face pocket watch, made by the Waltham Watch Company, Waltham, Ma. USA circa 1910-1915.
CASE: 50 mm diameter, three leaf, gold filled, open face pocket watch with a fluted gilt ball pendant and horseshoe shaped bow placed at the twelve position relative to the dial. The back cover is engine turned and has a central shield shaped cameo for the owner's initials (left blank). The polished gilt bezel around the dial can be unscrewed by hand revealing the dial itself. The interior of the back cover reveals that the maker of this case was the Wadsworth Watch Case Company (see history) of Newport Kentucky, case number 2240261, the Referee model which is gold-filled with a gilt finish guaranteed to last at least 20 years. The Referee model trademark was filed by Wordsworth with the Federal government on May 14, 1914 and may have been in use for a few years prior to the filing of the trademark. . .
DIAL: White round enameled dial with upright Arabic hours, open bar minutes with red Arabic markers placed every five minutes along the edge of the dial, sunken subsidiary seconds @6, steel spade hands and the upper dial marked for Waltham. . .
MOVEMENT: Not shown but most likely this is a split three quarter plate movement with 7-15 jewels, damascened nickel plates and exposed ratchet and crown wheels. The movement would either be marked W.W.Co (Waltham Watch Company) or A.W.W.Co. (American Waltham Watch Company) if they used some of the older movement they had around the factory from earlier years. The other possibility is that Waltham did import Swiss made movement that would fit into their American made cases. They were so very busy that the Swiss watchmakers filled their need for more movements. . .
Condition: Case - Very good condition with some scratches on the inside of the back cover. Dial - Very good to excellent. Movement- Not seen but assume original, genuine and functional at least with a cleaning.
Waltham Watch Company::::: This American Company was the first to produce watches by the machined use of interchangeable parts. This was the vision of the founders of the company; Aaron Dennison, David Davis and Edward Howard. The initial company was located at Roxbury, Mass. in 1851, and was called the Warren Manufacturing Company. The business moved to Waltham, Ma in 1854 and the name had just been changed to the Boston Watch Company. That business failed in 1857 and was sold at a sheriff's sale, reorganized and called Appleton, Tracy and Company. In 1859 the Waltham Improvement Company merged with Appleton, Tracy to form the American Watch Company. Between 1859 and 1885 the firm operated under that corporate name. These early watches were key wound. Stem winding was introduced in 1870. The last key wound watches were produced in 1919. In 1885 the name was changed to the American Waltham Watch Company. In 1906 it became the Waltham Watch Company and in 1923 the Waltham Watch and Clock Company. Production ceased in 1950. . . . . . . . . .
WADSWORTH WATCH CASE COMPANY::::Born in Birmingham, England in 1845 and immigrating to America in 1857, Henry Wadsworth founded this company in 1889. H.A. Wadsworth & Co was located in Newport, Kentucky from 1889-1892 and then as the Wadsworth Watch case company of Newport, Kentucky until 1900 when they moved to Dayton, Kentucky until 1953. They earned a high reputation in the trade with their solid gold and gold filled cases. They sold cases to the Hamilton, Elgin and Waltham watch manufacturers. In 1953 they became a division of the Elgin National Watch Company of Illinois. . .
(SOLD FOR $90)
(SOLD FOR $35)
https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/47747675_gold-filled-pocket-watch (SOLD FOR $35 IN A REFEREE MODEL CASE)
https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/66584121_waltham-20-year-gold-filled-pocket-watch-18s (SOLD FOR $150 IN 2018)
https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/78490137_waltham-model-890-grade-seaside-pocket-watch (SOLD FOR $75 IN 2019)
As you can see a gold filled watch from the first quarter of the 20th century just does not bring significant money. In the very nice condition this watch is in I think the fair market value would be in the range of $60-$80. It might be worth keeping it in the family at that price. I wish you could have the the jackpot, but not many do in the antique watch field today. If you wish to send me a photos of the movement, I can make the appraisal more complete and slightly more accurate in terms of date of manufacture. The number we really needed was on the movement itself. I hope this helps you to further understand your grandfather’s pocket watch.
Stay well and stay safe.
My best,

Dear Maureen,
Thank you for contacting Mearto with your appraisal inquiry. So that I may best assist you and provide an accurate appraisal I will need to see the following photos.
1) - I need to see the inside of the cover or covers in order to find out whether the watch is gold or gold filled or gold plated etc.
2) - I also need to see the movement clearly since Waltham made many different movements, some more valuable than others and I need the serial number which is on the movement to do a proper appraisal.
If you do not know how to open the leaves or covers of the watch any jeweler will open it for you and you can take proper photographs of both the insides of the covers and the movement.
To attempt an appraisal without viewing more of the watch is not going to provide you with an accurate answer.
Please let me know you received this message and how you plan to proceed.
Many Thanks,

Maureen baird May 26, 11:53 UTC

Thank you so much David for getting back to me so quickly. I am uncertain of how to open the back of the watch. I realized after I sent the photos that I would need to do this. I’m not certain with the pandemic going on, when I’ll be able to get in to see a jeweler. Once I do, should I just provide the additional photos and send you a message? Thanks again for the prompt response. Have a wonderful day!

David May 26, 12:44 UTC

Good morning Maureen,
OK, I understand perfectly. Why don't we give it a try ourselves. I am going to write out instructions to you very carefully and precisely and we will see if you can accomplish this yourself. The first and easiest thing to do is to press the push button at the top of the crown since that often automatically opens the back cover. That would be an easy solution, so if that does not work continue with what I write below.
My main concern is that you do not injure yourself. I am not worried about the watch because it was made to be opened so that repairs could be done.
(1) - To protect your hands you need to wear gloves, not Covid-19 type gloves, but mittens or gloves with some thickness so that you do not get cut on the hand.
(2) - You will not break the watch by doing any of this UNLESS you drop it.
(3) - Do NOT try to open the cover with your nails because you will break a nail.
(4) - You need a sharp smooth blade, perhaps a large penknife or a small steak knife that is not serrated.
(5) - The procedure is very much like shucking oysters or clams, a pressing of the blade while slightly rotating the blade to pop open a cover.
(6) - So, start by looking around the edge of the back cover to find an area that might have some scratches along the edge of the lid caused by previous attempts to open the cover. If you find the spot, and some watches have a spot that is marked in some way where you insert the flat edge of the blade while holding the case in a gloved hand. Carefully press the knife blade into the opening between the case and the lid, press down firmly (that alone may cause the lid to pop open) and turn the blade slightly and the lid should pop open. It is best to do this while your other hand firmly holds the case. This is when the knife could slip and the blade touch the other hand, so make sure the glove is thick enough so that it does not penetrate the material and reach your skin.
(7) - There will be markings on the inside of that cover and there MAY BE a second cover over the movement which is handled in precisely the same manner. That would then expose the movement.
If you cannot do this or are too frightened by it, we can wait and I will put aside the watch as "more information needed" to be addressed whenever you are able to get out of the house. Hopefully, I will still be around and healthy when that happens.
Either way it is fine, but if you can do this yourself you will feel like you really did accomplish something nice, and we can move ahead.
Let me know how you will proceed.
My best,

Maureen baird May 26, 14:03 UTC

Thank you for being such a kind person and providing me with all this detailed information. I will attempt to open the watch, the problem is, I don't see a back cover, only what looks like an opening around the circumference of the watch (it looks like the only way to get into it). Honestly, I am very thankful to have someone like you, friendly, kind and patient to assist me. I was so surprised that this 100+ year old watch is actually still ticking. I'll keep you posted David.

Maureen baird May 26, 14:08 UTC

I'm really having a difficult time opening it myself. I'm not even certain the area I'm looking at is the place where the watch opens. Unfortunately, I think I will need to take it to a jeweler, unless you have any other suggestions.

David May 26, 17:57 UTC

Hi Maureen,
Thank you for you more than kind words.
You sent me two photos of the back cover which is gold colored and has a central cameo for the owner's initials, but on this watch it was left blank.The opening to the cover goes around the entire circumference of the case. From what I can see looking at the dial the place to open that back cover is most likely around the one o'clock region. IMPORTANT:There is also the front cover around the dial which has the clear glass in it - that is also a cover and can be removed but I do not want you to do that. I am interested in the back cover and if you are going to try once more do it in the region of hours 1 and 11, both near the stem of the watch. Before you do that I will tell you that some covers screw onto the watch case. So, before trying again to reopen it, let's try to unscrew the gold back cover. So, if you are right handed, place the watch dial down in your left palm. Place your right palm firmly against the back gold cover and forcefully while pressing down try to see if it turns to the left or counter-clockwise. If that doesn't do it, try once more with a knife blade in both the one and eleven hour region to pop it open as before. If that does not work let me know and we will put the watch aside until you feel safe venturing outside.
All best,

Maureen baird May 26, 21:37 UTC

You are one terrific human being! Okay, so I did as you suggested and tried the unscrewing idea. It worked but only for the glass cover, exposing the actual clock part. I am afraid I could mess it up if I try to get under the clock part. What do you think?

Maureen baird May 26, 21:40 UTC

Actually David, that is the only opening, so now I'm really confused.

Maureen baird May 26, 21:42 UTC

The letter and numbers are A0621 if that means anything.

David May 26, 23:16 UTC

It is time to put the pocket watch aside and wait until you are able to visit a jeweler who can expose the movement inside the case. There has got to be another way to get the back cover off and it is probably on so tightly that you cannot even see a separation of the back cover from the rest of the case. Trying anything else poses a threat of damage to the watch. . . .
Let's wait until you are comfortable leaving the house and let someone who repairs watches on a regular basis help you to open up this case.
I can do the appraisal at any time going forward.
I hope that is OK with you.

Maureen baird May 26, 23:30 UTC

It is absolutely okay with me! David, thank you so much for taking the time out to assist me today. It is a true pleasure when you have an opportunity to deal with someone as professional and kind as you are. Having worked in the federal prison system for 30 years and retiring as warden a couple years ago, you come across some interesting and also some amazing people! I have never done this appraisal stuff online before so I’m not sure how I managed to get so lucky with a person of your caliber! If the jewelers are back to business this week, I will attempt to venture out Thursday or Friday. In the meantime, enjoy your week, stay safe and healthy!
Kindest Regards,

Maureen baird May 26, 23:31 UTC

P.S. if this turns out to be one of those rare expensive Waltham watches, I’ll need your address so I can send you and your family to dinner if restaurants ever open again! 😊

David May 27, 14:23 UTC

A prison Warden with a heart of gold.
I look forward to further photos and info whenever they arrive.
Take your time and stay safe!

Maureen baird May 27, 14:37 UTC

Good Morning David, I’m actually heading over to Jewelry Designs in Danbury this afternoon. Spoke with them this morning and they didn’t think there’d be a problem, told me to bring it in. Hope to have more pics and information to you by today or tomorrow. Just curious if you know whether there is a demand for these watches? I know some can be very valuable. Hopefully I have one of the good ones! Talk to you soon and thank you again for all of your help!

David May 27, 14:38 UTC

That's sound great.

Maureen baird Jun 05, 17:16 UTC

Hello David, I hope you are doing well. I was able to get the watch open at the jewelry store to obtain the serial number. I have attached two photos of the number. Unfortunately, the gentleman at the store suspected the watch was not worth very much. I’ll trust in whatever you determine an approximate value is. I may spend the money to restore the watch and give it to my nephew. I’ll see what you think first. Sorry it took so long to get back to you.

David Jun 05, 17:58 UTC

Hi Maureen,
I was wondering what happened to you. Good to hear back from you.
At any rate you have sent me the inside of the cover with the case number and that also shows the watch is gold plated. But I needed to see the movement and movement number.
If you refer back to my original message you will find, "So that I may best assist you and provide an accurate appraisal I will need to see the following photos:
1) - I need to see the inside of the cover or covers in order to find out whether the watch is gold or gold filled or gold plated etc.
2) - I also need to see the movement clearly since Waltham made many different movements, some more valuable than others and I need the serial number which is on the movement to do a proper appraisal.
Are you able to properly open the watch now to photograph the movement or should I do the appraisal without seeing the movement?
I await you answer,

David Jun 05, 19:10 UTC

i did this appraisal from the information and photos supplied. It is going to be pretty close from a value point of view whether I see the movement or not. I'm sorry it was not worth more than these prices but I am only a messenger of the truth and not a provider of fake news.
My best to you,

Maureen baird Jun 05, 19:31 UTC

It’s perfectly fine, I needed to check, just in case it was a rare one! You have been absolutely wonderful! Thank you for your dedication and honesty! Stay well David! Warmest Regards, Maureen

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