If you like pocket watches, you probably already know that some of them could be good investments. The Waltham Watch Company’s precise engineering and fine craftsmanship made a big difference in the world of old pocket watches.
If you have a Waltham watch and it is in perfect condition, you might find that it is worth more than you thought. Waltham watches are very desirable to collect, and some of them are also good investments. Here are some tips from a Master Watchmaker on how to buy and sell watches.
In this article, I’ll tell you how to figure out how much your Waltham pocket watch is worth and give you some helpful links. Even if it’s just for scrap and parts, most Waltham pocket watches are worth something.
The only way to find out how much your Waltham watch is really worth is to take it to a professional watch valuer or a Waltham pocket watch expert.
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This company makes watches (Waltham)
In 1849, Aaron Lufkin Dennison, Edward Howard, and David Davis started a company with the goal of making precise machines that could make a lot of watch movement parts and make them all work with each other. Before this, all watches made in the United States were made by hand.
Between 1852 and 1957, when the Waltham factory was open, it made more than 40 million fine pocket watches, wrist watches, clocks, and other precision instruments. It was one of the most successful watch companies in the United States, and by the beginning of the 1870s, Waltham watches were winning prizes all over the world.
Watches for the railroad
After the great train disaster in America in 1891, which was caused by a broken watch, Waltham and other watch companies, like Elgin and Hamilton, made watches that met a new set of rules. For a watch to be a railroad standard, it had to meet the following requirements:
- 16S or 18S. (size)
- Have 17 or more jewels
- Be lever set
- Have a case with an open face and a stem at 12 o’clock
- be able to move to at least 5 different places
- Arabic numbers that are big and easy to read on the dial
- Change no more than 30 seconds per weekly check.
If you want to buy a railroad grade watch, you should know that some will be called railroad grade even though they aren’t. Find out more about how railroad watches came to be here.
Things to think about when putting a price on your Waltham pocket watch
- Be as diligent as you can in your learning. Before you can figure out how much a watch is worth, you need to know its model, grade, age, size, and quality.
- Most of the time, a pocket watch’s quality can be judged by how many jewels it has. As a general rule, the more jewels a watch has, the more valuable it is. The term “jewels” refers to the industrial-grade gemstones that are used as bearings in the watch mechanism. These gemstones keep the watch mechanism from rubbing against itself and wearing out. The more jewels a watch has, the better the quality of the watch mechanism. Some watches can have as many as 25 gems. A watch with less than 15 jewels is not as good. By the way, it’s not the jewels themselves that make a watch valuable; it’s how well it works when there are more jewels.
- Works the watch? Even though it may seem obvious, a watch that works is usually worth more than one that needs to be fixed.
- Your watch’s value will also depend on how well it works and how it looks. Your timepiece will lose value if it has dents, scratches, or a broken dial. Depending on how bad the damage is, it may be worth spending money on restoration. However, you should always take your Waltham pocket watch to a reputable Master Watchmaker who has worked on them before.
- The value will also depend on the materials that were used.
- The serial numbers on a Waltham watch. Waltham watches are very collectible, and because they have serial numbers, they may be one of the easiest to date. Since 1852, a serial number has been written on every Waltham watch.
To find out when your Waltham pocket watch was made, you have to open the back cover.
Find a great guide to the different Waltham watch models here, along with a table that shows when each Waltham watch was made based on its serial number. As a general rule, the older the watch, the more it’s worth. However, other things, like how well it’s kept, will also affect how much it’s worth.
- The packaging can also affect the value, but not as much. The value of a watch can go up if it comes in a nice box or has an interesting story behind it.