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Grab a Piece of American History With Waltham Wristwatches

The Waltham Watch Company, also known as the American Waltham Watch Co. and the American Watch Co., was founded in 1850 and went defunct in 1957. It produced approximately 40 million pocket watches, wristwatches, clocks, speedometers, compasses, time fuses, and other precision tools during its run in the U.S. It has since created a subsidiary in Switzerland for Swiss-made watches. Today, Waltham wristwatches are highly desirable collectibles, the legacy of a watchmaking pioneer in American history.

What are the features of these watches?

Because they are so precise, their movements are fully interchangeable with one another. Waltham watches are easy to identify, each having the serial number, name, and trademark on their movement. All Waltham watches had serial numbers engraved since 1852. Although they also have serial numbers on the case, collectors should instead use the listing on the movement. Waltham watches are also unique in their listing of the watch model on the movement.

How do the later versions of these watches compare to earlier ones?

Wristwatches were initially considered jewelry bracelets for women or timekeeping pieces for nurses. Waltham wristwatches for men were originally released as military watches around 1918, with the Waltham version of the A-11 released in the 1940s, during World War II.

The Swiss subsidiary, Waltham Watch Co. SA, released its first watch in 2014. All its watches feature an aviation theme and Swiss quartz (battery-operated) movement as opposed to mechanical (manual winding) movement or the 1960s self-winding (automatic) movement.

What are some rare, vintage, or special collectibles for Waltham wristwatches?

Extremely rare, very valuable Waltham watches date from 1852 when the company name was the American Horology Company. "The Warren Mfg Co" was the name marked on the first 17, "Warren Boston" for watches 18 through 100, and "Samuel Curtis" for the next 800.

Watch movements produced in the Waltham factory of Waltham, MA were marked with serial numbers 1001 to 5,000 and are marked with the names "Dennison, Howard & Davis," "C.T. Parker," and "P.S. Bartlett." When the Boston Watch Co. failed, it was sold to and became Appleton, Tracy & Co., producing serial numbers 5,001 to 14,000 in 1857.

An example of a vintage version is the 40s Waltham Tank wristwatch. Some valuable Swiss-made Waltham wristwatches are:

  • AeroNaval XA Pure
  • AeroNaval AN-01
  • AeroNaval CDI Black Matter
  • AeroNaval ETC Eclipse
Waltham A-11 Elgin A-11 Benrus
Case diameter 32 mm 30 mm 44 mm
Case material Chromium-plated brass and stainless steel Stainless steel Stainless steel
Water resistance N/A Some waterproof versions 100 m
Movement Mechanical Mechanical Quartz
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