Men’s 1913 Waltham 23J Vanguard RR Pocket Watch

Men’s 1913 Waltham 23J Vanguard RR Pocket Watch

Item: W2469

Watch's origin: American

Number of jewels: 23

Case: Wadsworth

Manufacturer: Illinois

Type of Watch:  Pocket

Type: Open-Face

Size: 16s

Composition: Gold-Filled

Other Attributes:   Railroad
 With Box

Price: $1,495.00

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What started as the American Waltham Watch Company in Roxbury, Mass. in 1850, later moved to Waltham, Mass. and became known as simply "Waltham." During the 106-year run of the company, it oversaw the beginning of America's Industrial Revolution, made timepieces for the Civil War, and, during WWI, took a chance on a new-fangled idea, the "wristlet," – the modern wristwatch.

While Waltham's flair for engineering high-grade movements always seemed to be a bit ahead of the curve, they were not lacking in aesthetics. Waltham watches were not only mechanically artful, they were pleasant looking, even elegant. During the Art Deco movement, Waltham watches embraced all the ideals of Deco's European pageantry: sweeping lines, stark contrasts and heavily stylized numerals.

Waltham was also heavily relied-upon by faithful employees in the Railroad industry. During the latter 19th and early 20 centuries, America's railroad was the system of arteries that nourished a burgeoning nation. The excitement and romance of working on the railroad lured many men away from "the Farm" to ride the rails and see a young, vibrant country. Because thousands of trains used common tracks, accurate timekeeping was not only necessary to punctuality, it was essential in helping prevent rail disasters and collisions.

To be employed by the railroad, a man had to have a "railroad approved" pocket watch. Inspectors were hired with the sole task of examining watches to determine their quality and accuracy. Instructions were given that if an employee was found to have a sub-standard watch, he was to be summarily fired or, at the least, suspended until he produced a suitable timepiece.

These watches were "meal-tickets" and for many, far too expensive to purchase outright. If a man were lucky, he was allowed to purchase one of these expensive instruments on credit, making hefty payments each week until he could pay it off.

This 23 jewel Waltham "Vanguard” was one of the highest grade railroad pocket watches available. Cherished by conductors and inspectors alike for its resilience and accuracy, the Vanguard certainly lived up to its name. Twenty three separate jewels were installed throughout the watch to reduce friction and increase accuracy. A jeweler could regulate the movement by removing the back of the case and adjusting a tiny "whip" regulator on the balance. With its compensated balance, whip regulator, 23 jewels and double rollers, this watch would keep extraordinarily accurate time in all positions and extreme temperatures. There was no doubt about a railroader's most prized possession.

This example, with its perfect micro-graduated Montgomery dial and crisp, handsome railroad-approved case is in remarkably fine condition.

We have, of course, completely cleaned, oiled and calibrated this timepiece so that it keeps time as it was intended. Also we’re delighted to offer this watch in a period birds-eye maple presentation box.