A new lease on life

I really love the old American pocket watch movements.  Hamiltons are my favorite, but Waltham and Elgin movements are beautiful too.  I’ve been looking for a size 6 Waltham movement for a while now, but until a few weeks ago I didn’t see one in the condition I wanted.  Patience is the name of this game, so I waited and found a size 6 Waltham in great condition and at a fair price.  The serial number dates this movement to 1901 – that’s right – this movement is 115 years old.

Dave serviced this movement for me, and he found a cracked jewel, which he replaced.  The mainspring had been replaced at some point in the past, so it was fine.  After cleaning and adjusting, it is in the condition you see in the photo.  Many thanks to Dave for your careful work and attention to detail.

Movements from pocket watches made in the late 18th and early 19th century are negative set movements, meaning that the stem is retained in the case, not in the movement.  So the normal type of case will not work to convert this to a wristwatch – you’ll need some way to retain the stem or it will simply fall out.  There are two options.  Drill and tap the case to hold the stem, or use a case that has a crown guard that will retain the stem.  The latter is the way I’m going with this movement.

I don’t yet have a case, but I’m going to use the original dial and hands on this build.  They’re elegant and look exactly like they should for a watch more than a century old.

How many things we make will be working a century later?

The craftsmanship and the decoration are stunning.  Some of the decoration can only be seen when the movement is disassembled, which means it’s likely that only another watchmaker will ever see it.  It’s called pride of craftsmanship and sadly it’s all too rare these days.

Stay tuned for more photos as this project progresses.  It will definitely be worth the wait.

Leave a Reply