Watch's origin: American
Number of jewels: 15
Case: J. Depollier & Son
Type of Watch: Wrist
Lug Width: 14mm
As hard as it is to believe, there was no men's wristwatch market prior to WWI. Wristwatches, or "wristlets" were primarily ladies novelties — small altered pocket watches worn on ribbon straps around the wrist or hooked to bracelet chains. While men's wristwatches were produced in very limited numbers for certain military applications as early as the turn of the century, men of the day considered these pieces to be effeminate and undesirable. World War I changed these views, as intensified warfare made fishing around in one's pocket for a watch a bit too time-consuming. Rumor has it that a German infantry officer took out his pocket watch, tied it to his wrist with a handkerchief, and thus the men's wristlet was born — not of fashion but of sheer necessity. While America was the leader in the world's watch production until WWII, some American companies, such as Hamilton and South Bend, didn't see the wisdom in chasing such a foolhardy fad. Waltham, however, did participate in the war effort of WWI, thereby producing what have come to be known as some of the first men's wristwatches to be put into production.
Considered by many to be superior to the majority of Swiss movements of the day, Waltham's 15 jewel workhorse even has clear advantages over other period high-grade Swiss movements: It's beefier and more resilient and has an overcoil hairspring: Other well-known Swiss watches of the day, with their fragile flat hairsprings "lost the edge." With the Waltham's overcoil hairspring, force differential of the mainspring is maintained when fully wound and partially wound. With inferior designs, such equilibrium is not maintained and watches run faster when fully wound and slower as the mainspring winds down. This is called Isocronism.
This watch was quite the impressive timepiece for its day – very forward thinking and of the finest engineering.
We’ve taken the liberty of cleaning, oiling and calibrating the watch so that it keeps time as intended. We’ve done slight, historically-correct restoration to dial and hands and have left its original canvas strap and sterling buckle as-is. We’re pleased to offer the watch in a period English wristlet case.
To the one who becomes the next curator of this work of horological art, we commend you and your exquisite sense of style and taste.