Waltham was one of the most notable and productive watchmakers in the United States back in the good old days when the USA was a key player in the watch production industry.
Though they have been in operation for over 170 years, the brand is most likely to be associated with the company’s pocket watches, which frequently featured high-quality and exquisitely decorated mechanisms.
The business, on the other hand, developed a variety of sports and dress models over the years to keep up with the changing styles and demands of the modern man.
In 1957, Waltham relocated its watch manufacturing operations to Switzerland and the timepieces that you’ll discover below date from after the company’s transfer to its new home.
Before we take a look at the top 4 best vintage watches from Waltham, let’s take a quick look at the history of the brand.
History Of Waltham
Watchmakers are typically very old companies, and Waltham is no different.
The company was founded in 1849, with creators Edward Howard, Aaron Lufkin Dennison, and David Davis creating the company to develop machines that could mass produce watch parts with precision and make them interchangeable.
Before this, each and every watch that was manufactured in the United States was made by hand, which was a very time-consuming process and meant that watches were highly expensive items.
The Waltham factory was in operation from 1852 to 1957, during which time it produced nearly 40 million models of pocket watches, wristwatches, clocks, and other precision equipment.
It was one of the most successful watch firms in the United States, and by the early 1870s, Waltham timepieces were taking first place in competitions all over the world.
Waltham, along with many other watchmakers such as Elgin and Hamilton, began producing timepieces that adhered to a new set of criteria after the great train accident that happened in the United States in 1891.
The tragedy was caused by a faulty clock, as the train drivers’ watches both showed different times.
It is these pocket watches that are the most prized vintage items from the brand, although unfortunately, they are very hard to come by these days. That’s why most of the vintage watches from the brand tend to be from the 1950s onwards.
Top 4 Best Vintage Waltham Watches
The size of the watches, which tend to be on the smaller side in comparison to how modern people like their watches to look, is one reason why the watches below are more popular with people who favor smaller timepieces.
However, contemporary trends are moving away from the “huge watch” fad that was popular a few years ago.
The watches listed below might be on the smaller side in terms of their size, but they make up for it in terms of their elegance.
Even if the name of this American brand does not garner as much attention as the names of the top Swiss brands that everyone is familiar with, these Walthams are quite enticing.
Waltham is perhaps best known for its stylish pocket watches. The pocket watches have been in production since the early 1900s, and have maintained their popularity since then!
Made with high-quality materials, Waltham pocket watches are known for their durability and timeless design that makes them perfect for everyone to enjoy!
We have some of their most popular designs listed below for you to check out now!
1. Waltham Riverside
First, we have the Waltham Riverside, one of their classic pocket watches. The Riverside pocket watch was first released in 1909 and is made with high-grade 19 jewel movement, set in a pendant style.
The Riverside was considered to be a high-grade pocket watch when it was first released, enjoyed by the upper and middle glass.
The gold pocket watch features a sunk dial with five-minute markers in red and numbers around the outer circumference. The dial features multiple layers of baked silica on two metal plates, offering plenty of durability.
It also gives the dial depth and a rich appearance through the glass, adding to the elegance of the pocket watch!
The gold pocket watch oozes decadence too, thanks to its gold balance weights, gold center wheel, and train, raised gold jewel settings,m and the steel escapement around the pendant set and stem.
Compared to other Waltham pocket watches, the Riverside is easy to configure and set. It’s the perfect pocket watch for anyone new to pocket watches or is looking for an easy and accurate pocket watch to use.
2. Waltham Vanguard
Next, we have this stunning Waltham pocket watch! The Vanguard pocket watch is easy to spot thanks to its huge numbers on the watch face. You will never need to worry about struggling to read a watch face again with this pocket watch in your arsenal!
The 23-jewel pocket watch was first released in 1948 and features a large 12-number clock and a smaller watch face at the bottom that allows you to count the minutes.
It’s a great option for anyone that wants to use the smaller face as a timer, or simply to see the minutes passing in each hour.
The Vanguard is made with fine gold, offering a more delicate pocket watch. However, it still offers wonderful durability, so you don’t need to worry about it getting damaged! It has a diameter of just over 16 inches, the standard size for a pocket watch.
The black numbers and handles complement the gold detailing perfectly, making it a wonderful pocket watch. The watch can be adjusted with ease too, and the anti-friction movement ensures that you never lose time again!
3. Waltham Premier
If you want a gorgeous pocket watch, look no further than the Waltham Premier! The 21 jewel pocket watch is lever set and stem wound, with a face diameter of 16.2 inches.
This popular size allows you to read the watch face with ease, without having too large a pocket watch to carry around.
The Premier was first released in 1940 and features the hours in large gold numbers. You also have the second smaller watch face allowing you to see the minutes passing every hour.
This is a wonderful addition and allows the pocket watch to act as a timer when needed, or to watch the minutes pass as you see fit.
The watch face for the Premier comes in either black or white, allowing you to choose the color that best suits your needs. We do think the back looks super elegant, it would go with any outfit!
Waltham didn’t just make pocket watches, they also released some military watches! These watches were designed to offer precise time in an easy-to-read manner for military personnel.
After all, a pocket watch can be out of reach, it’s far easier to read the time quickly from your wrist. These military watches were designed to be practical, as well as durable, and stylish. Take a look at our favorites below!
4. Waltham Military Watch
Finally, we have the Waltham Military Watch, first released in the 1950s. During the Korean War, Waltham released wristwatches, along with their usual pocket watches. Their Military watches feature a chrome and steel case to provide enhanced durability.
The black face is paired with silver hands and easy-to-read numbers making this watch ideal for any wrist. You can check it quickly and enjoy accurate and easy-to-read time! The 16-jewel manual wind movement is easy to use and adjust when needed.
The soft material strap can easily be adjusted too, ensuring that the watch can fit any wrist! The strap is made from 16mm military nylon, offering plenty of durability without irritating your wrist.
Plus, you can change the strap if you wish too, for a color that best suits your style!
The watch face is larger than the pocket watches and boasts a 32m,m case size. It’s perfect to sit on any size wrist comfortably. If Waltham pocket watches aren’t your thing, you are sure to love their military watch!
Where To Buy Vintage Waltham Watches?
You may have noticed that there are no links for the above watches, and that’s because it can be pretty hard to guess when and where a vintage Waltham watch will come on sale.
Your best bet for finding a vintage watch from this brand is to check out re-selling sites such as Etsy and eBay.
It may also be lucky to find one in an antique store or charity store, but this is pretty rare as people know the value of these timepieces and would prefer to sell them.
Is My Vintage Waltham Watch Worth Anything?
If you’re lucky, you may have been given an old Waltham watch as a gift, or perhaps you were having a clearout and found an old model in your attic or basement.
These watches, especially pocket watches, fetch a high price on the resale market, so you could be in for a pretty big payday if you have a desired model.
Here are a few things you can do to try and work out both the model and the overall value of your Waltham watch.
The Serial Number
This will be the easiest way to determine both the model and the value of your Waltham watch. Due to the inclusion of serial numbers on each watch, Waltham watches are very collectible and are also among the most straightforward clocks to date.
Since 1852, every Waltham watch that has been produced has had a serial number engraved on it.
The Number Of Jewels In The Watch
The amount of jewels in a pocket watch is typically an excellent indicator of its overall quality, and as a general rule, the larger the number of jewels, the greater the watch’s monetary value.
The term “jewels” refers to the gemstones of industrial grade that are employed as bearings in the watch mechanism. These bearings avoid friction and wear on the watch mechanism. Jewels are also referred to as “gems.”
The greater the overall quality of the watch mechanism, the greater the number of gems it will include.
Some timepieces feature as many as 25 diamonds in their construction. A watch with fewer than 15 gems is regarded to be of a lower grade.
It’s important to note that the jewels themselves aren’t what makes a watch valuable; rather, it’s the improved functionality that comes from using a greater number of diamonds (or other precious stones).
Does The Watch Work? And Can It Keep Accurate Time?
While some people are happy with simply owning a piece of history, many buyers would prefer it if the watch worked, especially if they’re going to spend a lot of money on it.
A watch that is in good operating order will almost always fetch a higher price than one that needs repair, as repairing old watches can be very costly and take a long time.
What’s The Condition Like? Is It Damaged Or Scratched?
Your watch’s worth will be affected not just by its age but also by its condition. Your timepiece will lose value if it has any dents, scratches, or dials that are damaged. It may be worthwhile to invest in restoration work depending on the amount of damage.
As we said above, people much prefer to buy watches that work, and so if the damage is so great that it affects timekeeping, then you should invest in restoration before selling.
You can’t just go to any watchmaker to get this kind of timepiece restored though, as they may not have the skills needed to handle these antique timepieces with care.
You should always direct any repair or restoration work to a reputed Master Watchmaker who has expertise working on Waltham pocket watches.
The Quality Of The Workmanship
This one is a bit unfair because it’s a factor that you cannot control, but how well the watch was made in the first place is another factor that determines value. If there were imperfections from the start, then the overall value of the watch will be lower.
And there you have it, four of the best vintage Waltham watches you will love! No matter the style you are after, you are sure to find a sleek and elegant Waltham watch that will stand the test of time.
Their pocket watches are made to the highest standards and will complement any outfit, while their military watches will provide you with accurate timekeeping and comfort.
Why not try one out today?
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